Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samburg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal.

Directors: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn

Synopsis: Scientist Flint Lockwood and his friends once again find their homeland in jeopardy.  The food has mutated into foodimals that look a lot like real animals and have feelings and emotions.  An evil company has taken control of the FLDSMDFR (Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator) and is threatening the lives of the foodimals.  Flint and the gang once again have to save the island’s inhabitants from certain destruction!

Reviewer’s Rating: 4/5 Reels


While Sony Pictures Animation is not known for its flawless animated films, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is excellent. After the success of the first film, Sony Pictures Animation got to work on the sequel.  The first film’s originality, goofiness and oddball cast made it easy for fans to want more.  

To write this review, I watched the film and then realized I needed to go further back and watch the first film since the sequel continues from the end of the first film. 

We are reacquainted with cast by getting a short summary of the first film’s storyline.  We rejoin Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) and his gang of unique friends exactly where we left them in Shallow Falls.  The massive food weather catastrophe has ended and the town is in celebration.  Flint’s childhood hero, Chester V. (voiced by Will Forte), arrives on the island to assist in the food cleanup at Shallow Falls.  We soon discover that Chester V. has alternate plans to help benefit his company, Live Corp, which primarily produces food bars.  Chester realizes the food that is produced by Flint’s FLDSMDFR is far more delicious and would be far more suitable if used in his food bar.  Will Forte’s voice adaptation of Chester V. is one of the most entertaining elements of the film.  His unique intonation fits perfectly with the animator’s visual characterization.  Will Forte actually voiced a character in the first film as well. However, it was only a few lines for the bearded town’s person named Joe Towne. 

Once the island’s population has been relocated for “clean up,” Chester’s handful of Thinkwanauts attempts to find the FLDSMDFR and discover the food has become animalistic in nature.  The foodimals become aggressive and wipe out Chester’s Thinkwanauts.  Then Chester sent Flint to the island to “stop” the FLDSMDFR.  After encountering many foodimals, Flint’s friends see them as creatures that need to be studied and observed.  But Chester persuades Flint to abandon his friends and “destroy” the FLDSMDFR to save the world from the monstrous food beasts.  Flint eventually comes to his senses but is betrayed by his hero.

The overall film is creative and visually stimulating. The portrayal of the different foods and combination of foods to create animals is well thought out and fun to see.  The plot and sequel is arguably unnecessary because the first film stands alone so well; but it gives us more insight into the world of food gone wild and gives us more killer puns. 

This movie is basically a large pun with a side of wit cream. If you aren’t a punny person, then you will find it extremely difficult to enjoy this movie.  Puns make up a majority of the dialogue. I find these puns to be tasteful and witty for the most part.  It really makes this movie more memorable and quotable.  

The most negative thing I can say about the movie concerns Barb the ape (voiced by Kristen Schaal).  I find her character a bit annoying, unnecessary and the most predictable in the plot.  I believe adding a second primate was a good idea, but this ape is too much for my taste.    

The relationship between Flint and his father is strengthened in this film. Flint’s father, Tim Lockwood (voiced by James Caan), has a role in helping Flint save the day by constructing a gigantic fishing pole to launch Flint into the Evil base.  Finally, at the end of the film, Flint allows his father to teach him how to fish, Tim’s passion.    

Each character adds something wonderful to the film.  Flint, of course, is striving to be a great scientist that can change the world. And once again is the hero of the film. Chester V. is Flint’s hero and yet his motives are for his own selfish gain. Barb is Chester V’s right hand assistant that is treated poorly and thus her loyalties change in the end. Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris) is Flint’s romantic interest and is striving to be a weather girl. Tim Lockwood is Flint’s father who just wants to be on his homeland, work at his bait shop and go fishing. Brent McHale aka Baby Brent (voiced by Andy Samberg) is trying to redefine who he is now that his childhood identity is no longer admired. Manny, the man who is and does everything (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), is there to help in anyway he can. His expressionless characteristic adds a lot of comic relief.  Earl the Policeman (voiced by Terry Crews in the second film) really pulls the group together as a team leader and protector. And finally, Steve the monkey (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), adds the last touch of humor with his ironic translated thoughts as Flint’s number one companion.     

In conclusion, the film is creative and refreshing with its combination of characters and villains.  The puns keep you on your toes and the plot will keep you guessing.

By: Joshua Fulford

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