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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 18-05-2010

5

Amazon.com
Judi and Ron Barrett’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a much-loved, whimsical book about a tiny island where food falls from the sky like rain. The book serves as a jumping-off point for Sony’s animated, digital 3-D Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs which is not so much a retelling of the book as an exploration of what makes food rain from the sky on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Flint (Bill Hader), a clever young inventor with a reputation for c… More >>

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

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Comments (5)

First, I loved the movie. My complaint is not with the film but with the so called digital copy that is indicated as included on the cover. The “Digital Copy” included with this blu-ray can only be used on a Sony PSP when installed via a Sony PS3. I often preorder these family movies because I want to have the digital copy for my son to watch on my laptop or iPod. Had I known that this digital copy would not work like every other digital copy I’ve purchased; I would not have paid retail. I will certainly be thinking twice before purchasing another Sony blu-ray with a “Digital Copy.”

Rating: 3 / 5

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Phil Lord and Chris Miller, 2009)

There are some movies where you come out of the theater talking about the camerawork and the acting, discussing plot points, picking things apart, arguing whether it was really the seventy-eighth best movie you’ve ever seen. And there are some movies where you exit the theater and say “Dude. That was AWESOME.” Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is very much of the latter variety; no matter how silly and/or stupid the final half-hour may be (as the few critics who didn’t like it have pointed out), it’s still a blast.

Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader, recently of Tropic Thunder) is a bumbling inventor who comes up with things that are kind of useful (“The Hair-Unbalder!” is the movie’s first big laugh), but generally stupid. He lives on a small island just off the coast, the entire economy of which is derived from the sardine industry. It collapses, we learn, when the rest of the world realizes that sardines taste horrible. Inspired, Flint turns his attention to devising a machine that can turn water into food (in order to give the islanders some respite from eating three meals a day of sardines). Meanwhile, his father (voice of James Caan) wants him to go into the family business (bait and tackle, naturally), the local cop (voice of, yes, Mr. T) has an eye and a half on Flint thanks to previous experiments, and the Mayor (voice of Bruce Campbell) has staked the island’s meager savings on the construction of an amusement park, which he hopes will begin a tourism industry. A station from the mainland has sent an enthusiastic weather girl (voice of Anna Faris, recently of The House Bunny) to cover the story. Flint’s machine looks promising, but needs more power than he can get at home, so he decides to take it down to the power station on the day of the unveiling. Mishaps occur, the machine ends up shooting into the atmosphere, and just as inventor and weather girl meet, cheeseburgers begin raining from the sky. Oh, yes, there will be tourism.

My favorite thing about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is that the obvious social-consciousness implications (without which, of course, one cannot make a kids’ movie these days) aren’t shoved into your face (unlike such recent movies as Cars and Wall-E). Yes, they’re there, but they’re played with the same humor as everything else. More to the point, Lord and Miller, adapting Judi and Ron Barrett’s classic childrens’ book, trust their audience, young as it is. They figure the kiddies will pick up on the “overeating is bad, mmkay?” subtext, and just give it to us in sight gags (none of which feel mean-spirited). Even the “uncommunicative father” stereotype, which normally grates on me so hard, didn’t really bug me here, maybe because Flint’s father is usually seen and not heard; they take the stereotype and make him into an almost silent-film character for most of the film’s length, conveying emotion with facial expressions (which is pretty darned hard when… oh, you’ll see) and body language. They obviously put a lot of thought into this, and a lot of right thought at that. Add in the voice talent (which I’ve barely touched on; you can add Benjamin Bratt, Lauren Graham, Al Roker, Neil Patrick Harris, and a couple of others you’ll recognize in cameos) and some really appealing animation and you’ve got yourself a bang-up kids’ movie. I haven’t seen too many of this year’s offerings in that vein, so I don’t know how it stacks up against, well, Up, but I liked this one very, very much. ****

Rating: 4 / 5

Very good movie, liked it in the theater. I wanted to post this right away, though. Buyer Beware, digital copy works only on PS3 to download to PSP. I’m very disappointed. This is in fine print on the back of the case. Deceptive on Sony’s part. Really reduces value of Blu ray in my book.
Rating: 2 / 5

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is sunny with a clear opportunity for fun and entertainment. I saw it in 3D at an Imax theater, and the special effects were stunning in this animated film. A boy named Flint wants one thing out of life–it would be peaches and cream to be a famous scientist and inventor. When he’s given a lab coat, he really goes bananas and invents some weird things. Later, grown up, how he acquired such an expensive and elaborate lab in his backyard is never explained. His widowed father (voice of James Caan) couldn’t be nicer and more supportive. The dad’s eyebrows are so thick and bushy we seldom see his eyes.

They live on an island in the Atlantic (not far from the letter A in Atlantic on a map) where the chief occupation used to be catching and canning sardines. The sardines were canned under the “Baby Brent” brand, and Baby is now a big overgrown oaf who wears diapers for promos. When sardines go out of style, off the radar for people’s tastes, the gluttonous and avaricious mayor wants to make the island into a tourist attraction as Sardineland with Baby as part of the promo campaign.

Flint invents a machine that can seed the clouds and make all kinds of food rain down on the town. It starts with what looks like Big Macs. They are delicious and eagerly consumed by the residents, but they don’t always come down neatly and splatter around like garbage. The kind of food varies as all sorts of goodies including rich desserts flop down. The amount of food and the size of the food proliferate so that a giant food dump held back by a dam has to be built.

A TV weather girl, Sam Sparks, comes to the town to record the cascading food, and she and Flint fall for each other like two peas in a pod. The mayor, as he gets fatter, promotes the food drops as a tourist attraction, and cruise ships loaded with hungry sightseers crowd the island. Soon, though, the food flood becomes a problem. The town is in a stew when huge helpings of oversized spaghetti and meatballs descend from on high. Flint and Sam have to go up in the clouds to stop Flint’s machine from producing the food glut.

Indirectly the film could be an attack on overeating and bad eating habits. Also, it says, be careful what you wish for, because your wish may be granted. It’s a very funny, exciting movie. Be on the look-out for a sequel. All ages will enjoy the food mayhem and have a feast with this one.

Rating: 5 / 5

In 2009, the animated film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” was released in theaters. Adapted from the popular book from 1978 by Judi Barrett and illustrations by Ron Barrett, CWACoM took three years to develop and feature animation by Sony Pictures Animation.

The film adaptation and direction is by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (both are executive producers of the popular CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and also the MTV animated series “Clone High”). Music is by Mark Mothersbaugh (“Fanboys”, “Mama’s Boy”, “Lords of Dogtown”) and the film is produced by Pam Marsden (producer of “Dinosaur” and “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas”).

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” received positive reviews from critics and debuted at #1 in the box office, raking in $180+ million worldwide. Now the film gets its first Blu-ray release and includes the Blu-ray, the DVD and a digital copy (a code is provided to download a digital copy from the PlayStation Network) for those who own a Sony PSP or Playstation 3 System.

AUDIO & VIDEO:

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is featured in 1080p High Definition and I know that Pixar and DreamWorks animation gets a lot of attention for their animated work but Sony Pictures Animation has done a remarkable job with this film.

The picture quality on HD is absolutely vibrant and colorful. Water and liquid effects look absolutely terrific and realistic while the detail of the town Swallow Falls during its normal appearance of a seaside town to a town filled with food and sporting different scenery.

In fact, things look absolutely amazing during the second half as we see solid animation being utilized throughout the film. From the outdoor mayhem to the overall details of the various foods (especially when larger) causing destruction around the town area, it looks absolutely great. Awesome picture quality for this Blu-ray release.

As for the accompanying DVD, the DVD is featured in 16×9 Full Screen (1:78:1) and also anamorphic widescreen (2:35:1).

As for audio, the Blu-ray is featured in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Spanish 5.1. Dialogue is clear and understandable through the front and center channel, music definitely sets the mood as it plays from the front channels but good use of special effects such as the clouds rumbling, the sound of thunder, flying vehicles flying through the clouds through the surround channels. Good use of LFE for nice low rumbles coming from the subwoofer.

Fans of the film will enjoy the immersive soundtrack from this film as there is very good use of the various channels throughout the film, especially during the film’s latter half.

The accompanying DVD is presented in English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Subtitles are featured in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” features special features in High Definition and Standard Definition. Audio is in English stereo and subtitles are in Spanish:

# Directors’ Commentary with Bill Hader – In this audio commentary, you can listen to Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Bill Hader talking about the film. A fun commentary with humor and also good insight by the director’s about how their personal enjoyment of things in their childhood ended up in the film and more.

# Interactive “Splat” Button – While watching the film, you can throw food at the screen using Flint’s Food Throwing Machine.

# A Recipe for Success: The Making of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – (10:50) Interviews with the voice talent and crew about the film. Discussions about the original book, the music, visual effects and more.

# Key Ingredients: The Voices of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – (12:39) Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller talk about working with the talents and the talents talk about their experiences providing the voices for the characters. Interviews with Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Mr. T, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Al Roker and Bruce Campbell.

# Flint’s Food Fight Game – Enhanced for Blu-ray- In this game, you can use your remote to help Flint stop the food storm cooked up by the F.L.D.S.M.D.F.R.

# Extended Scenes – (2:36) Featuring “Elevator Joke” and “Twister-Early Cut with Awesome Food Fight” extended scenes.

# Early Development Scenes – (5:47) Featuring Flint’s Letter to Super Scientist Vance LeFleur and Early Storyboard Version of Twister. Featuring the voice acting but these scenes are in sketch format.

# Progression Reels with Introductions by Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Bredow – (8:09) Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Bredow showcases the color script and explains what the reference paintings are and how the color is compared and how the final cut matched the original production design. Also, discussion of a new software used for lighting and using global illumination.

# Interactive “Raining Sunshine” Sing-A-Long – (3:45) For those who want to sing along with Miranda Cosgrove, a sing-a-long karaoke track is included. Using your angle button, you can switch the icon from cheesburger, ice cream, a meatball and more.

# “Raining Sunshine” Music Video by iCarly’s Miranda Cosgrove – (3:45) The music video.

# Behind the Scenes of Miranda Cosgrove’s “Raining Sunshine” Music Video – (2:17) Interviews with Miranda Cosgrove in regards to the making of the music video.

# Make It Rain Food – (:32) A trailer for fighting hunger (using clips from the film).

# DVD-Rom Link To Exclusive Online Fun

JUDGMENT CALL:

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is an enjoyable family film. The children will love it and even the adults. The film is well-written and Sony Pictures Animation really went all out in making sure this film looks visually appealing. Artistically, the animation and artistic backgrounds are just spectacular.

As mentioned before, there is so much positive press for Pixar films and also DreamWorks animated films but Sony really pulled off an awesome 3D animated film with “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”. Definitely a unique presentation in terms of characters but it’s just the overall look of the film with its vibrant colors and look that gives a fresh feel for this film.

And on HD, the film looks and sounds incredible. There are a good number of interactive special features and with the Blu-ray coming with the DVD and a digital copy of the film, that’s another plus as well.

It’s important to note that “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is not just visual and audio eye candy, the film features a solid performance by the voice talent and most of all, a solid screenplay that remains faithful to the popular book. A lot of humor (safe for children) and for the most part, a fantastic family film that both children and adults will enjoy.

This is possibly the best animated film not made by Disney/Pixar and if anything, Sony Pictures Animation did a wonderful job and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what film they will be animating next because what they did for “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” looks magnificent.

Overall, this is a solid Blu-ray release that is just worth having in your collection and a release that is great for the entire family. Highly recommended!

NOTE: It was announced by Sony during CES that in conjunction with the release of their 3D hardware, they will be releasing “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” in 3D Blu-ray later in 2010.
Rating: 4 / 5

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