"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" DVD, Blu-Ray Movie Review

1/03/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"

Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Written by Lord and Miller, 90 Minutes, rated PG.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Flint Lockwood has wanted to be an inventor since he was a child. For show and tell, he would bring in his wild inventions, most of which would backfire and result in humiliation. He perseveres, however, and the dream of being an inventor follows him into adulthood, only now his inventions wreak havoc on the city. His father just wants him to stop and help with the family's bait shop.

Flint finally makes his mark when one of his inventions, a machine designed to turn water into food, backfires and launches into the sky. Soon after, the clouds build up for rain--but instead of rain, food begins falling from the sky, and what begins as a blessing on the dying town soon turns into a disaster that only Flint can stop.

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," based partly on the children's book by Judi and Ron Barrett, is a pleasant surprise. It's hard to come by good animated films from any company other than Pixar these days, but "Clone High" creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller do very well with their first animated feature. Though the plot itself is the sort of silly high-concept shenanigans one might expect from a single episode of some cartoon show ("Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" comes to mind), the characters themselves make the material work much better than one would expect.

The real backbone of the film is the relationship between Flint and his father, voiced by Bill Hader and James Caan, respectively. The rough father-son thing is pretty heavy-handed and formulaic at first, but as the film unfolds, the dynamic becomes more real and poignant, especially thanks to the top-notch voice acting. Hader and Caan are great, and they're joined by Anna Faris, Bruce Campbell and in one of the more inspired roles, Mr. T as a police officer who acts as a sort of comedic parallel to Caan's father character.

The animation is spellbinding at times, especially during the food-rain scenes, and everything has a distinctively charming small-town style. The character design was very reminiscent of a more exaggerated Brad Bird archetype, which works very well here.

The humor also is surpisingly subtle and, on occasion, the film is downright hysterical.

The film really only falters due to its lack of narrative cohesion. It tries to cover so much thematic ground (with topics ranging from obesity, family and self-confidence) without much connection, and the plot pretty much just meanders around for the first hour until anything substantial gets going.

"Cloudy" might not stand up to the best of Pixar, or even some of the other great animated films this year ("Coraline," "Fantastic Mr. Fox"), but it certainly stands firmly above the general mainstream animated releases each year and I would like to see what Lord and Miller come up with next.

Grade: B

View the trailer for the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" below. What are you thoughts?

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  1. Douglas327 said...

    The trailer to this animated film made me laugh,especially at the end, so I would like to see it. And I know my girlfriend is going to want to see it too.