CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is based on a popular childrens book by husband and wife writing/illustrating team Judi and Ron Barrett. The book was originally published in 1978 and has become a minor classic. The Barretts also produced a sequel Pickles to Pittsburgh (1997). The book is substantially different to the film, especially in that all of the central characters in the film do not exist. The book is largely a story being told by a grandfather to his two children about the town of Chewandswallow where it always rains food. The story is not much more than a description of the various food types that fall there. The film has extruded that back to tell an origin story of how such weather came about.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is the most fun one has had in a childrens animated film in some time. Even more so than the book, the film is a work of delirious absurdism that delights in the sheer nonsensical visions of food items falling from the sky denizens of the town have snowball fights and go skiing amid a town that has turned into a giant-sized valley of ice cream; Flint creates a palace of jelly for Sam where the two of them have delight bouncing off the walls, visiting wobbling recreations of famous works of art and diving into a pool to hang there suspended like flies in amber; the townspeople head out to sea aboard a flotilla of toasted sandwiches boats to escape the storm; the Eiffel Tower is impaled as a giant-sized BLT. The film becomes even more demented when Flint and co set out in his flying car to turn the machine off where they are waylaid by flying pieces of pizza in a dogfight; where a river of hot cooking oil becomes the equivalent of a river of lava in an adventure film; where they use marshmallows as torches to light their way; of ambulatory and dancing fried chickens; and a climactic attack by killer gummy bears (which the monkey disposes of by eating them because they are its favourites).
As with much animation being produced at the moment, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs premiered in the Real-D 3-D process. Visually, it has a giddy effervescence that suggests it is in 3-D even when the film is being watched flat. Even though Lord and Miller adopt a traditional squash and stretch stylism for their characters, a huge degree of detail has gone into the background. The film has an enormously endearing sense of humour most humour in animated/family films is so facile and cutsie or forcedly trying to be funny that I immediately switch off. Here through there are a considerable number of genuine laughs to be found be it Flint getting Sams foot in his eye as she sits on the edge of the pier, in watching Mr Lockwoods eyebrows or his attempts to use the computer. It is a film that works just as enjoyably for adults as it does the intended kid audience.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013) was a sequel.