Monday, September 30, 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.



 What you couldn’t have gone with Cloudier with a chance of More Meatballs? Maybe just Meatballs 2? No, wait… that’s a whole different movie.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” is the follow up to Sony Animation’s surprise hit based on the children’s book “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”. The movie picks up right where the last one left off with our fearless residents of Swallow Falls ready to clean up the mess that happens when your food making invention becomes sentient and starts taking over the world. But something new is afoot once an eccentric inventor comes to town to take over. Now, I have to say, I loved the original cloudy with a chance of meatballs and I came into this one really looking forward to spending some more time in this universe. Unfortunately, I came out of it considerably disappointed with how much joy was lost between the two films, but more on that in a bit.
One thing that wasn’t lost from the first was the gorgeous animation. This world is one of the most colorful and beautiful things you will see on a big screen. I’d even call it the best thing about the movie. There were times, and much of this may have been due to the great 3D work as well, when I felt so enveloped by the world that I got lost in it a little bit. Imagining I too was traipsing about the jungle with food/animal hybrids whose names also happen to make great puns. I also loved the heartfelt message about why friend’s are more important than heroes and the danger of hero worship in general. Not to mention, the entire voice cast was on their game again this time, with special props to SNL vets Bill Hader and Will Forte who absolutely nailed their characters. But even with those things going for it I found myself kinda bored with this return trip to the land of giant anthropomorphized food.
The truth is I’m not totally sure why. It’s an ok movie, I think, maybe, sometimes its just hard to recapture the magic with a sequel, especially when so much of what made the first so special was how original it was. I mean the quick punch style of humor is still there but it feels more forced and certainly a bit more immature and cheap. And even though the movie is beautiful the animation style on these people feels much more jittery and spastic, almost as if it was done in stop motion. The movie also borrowed heavily from other animated films including a scene that was basically taken shot for shot from “How to Train Your Dragon” except with a cheeseburger Spider in the place of the dragon. But the worst thing about Cloudy 2 had to be the way it jumped around from idea to idea and story to story without much pause for connective tissue. It was as if the whole film had Attention Deficit Disorder and I found myself losing interesting during much of the proceedings.
In the end “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” is still pretty to look at and well voiced, but otherwise has lost too much of the magic that made the original so great. I’d still give it a B-.
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