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Living in the UK, I had never heard of the children's book Cloudy with
a Chance of Meatballs and to be honest, I thought it sounded a little
too peculiar and odd for my tastes going by the title and trailers.
However, being a big fan of animated movies, I decided to take the risk
and judge the movie for myself; and I'm so glad I did.
Not only does Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs have a quirky, thoughtful and imaginative storyline, it also exudes humour through its likable characters, discerning messages and vivid visual style. Telling the tale of a young man's quest to become an inventor, the film shies away from numerous Disney clichés creating a unique and original world full of colour and inspired characters. Unlike most Dreamworks animations, the characters are fully developed and rounded without the need for countless A-list celebrity voice-overs. The screenplay is similarly outstanding in terms of humour with countless laugh-out-loud moments that will appeal to both adults and children alike.
The animation and visual style of the film isn't up to the stunning beauty of the latest Pixar movies such as Ratatouille or WALL-E but it certainly exudes a similar level of ingeniousness, creativity and originality as seen in such movies. Albeit, amongst the wild plot and genuinely hilarious dialogue lies a subtle moral tale of parental recognition, portion sizes and personal confidence.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs took me by surprise, I went into the cinema expecting an average computer generated movie incomparable with today's best of the genre and came out astonished by the sheer creativity oozing from every aspect of the film.
Anyone involved with the elementary school world as at least heard of
the Barret classic "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs." As a teacher, I
was thrilled to learn it was to be made a movie. As usual, however,
that leads to the problem of whether it would stick too much to the
book to be entertaining for the screen or a Hollywood catastrophe that
steals only the title?
I know it's irritating to read from those book loyalists, but it's only a fair comparison. I felt this movie found a perfect balance of big-screen awesomeness and the charm of the book.
For book enthusiasts, they pretty much had everything right. This film does indeed follow the plot of the book. Entire illustrations are recreated for the movie with stunning nods to Ron Barret's artwork. Then again, one must keep in mind that the book was an extremely general plot. The movie goes into detail, very much into detail, of what was going on in the town.
We have the classic nerd, Flint Lockwood, a lovable and goofy character who embodies the wannabe coolness and social awkwardness and desperation of every social outcast. He's almost painful to watch, but I think it's what makes him so likable--you feel sorry for him. Anywho, in a desperate attempt to prove his worth to his father, he invents a machine that turns water into food. And hence the coming of the trademark weather of Swallow Falls (later renamed to Barrets' Chewandswallow).
Honestly, I was surprised at the plot they got going out of this--while still maintaining the basics of the book. It had an ADHD spirit with wonderfully over-the-top characters. This will probably annoy many a soul, but I thought it a winning combination for those who can put up with it all. Really, you need the heart and mind of a child for this, but if you can summon those up, you will be impressed.
I saw it in the normal format, but I'm sure it was an intense hoot in 3D. That might have been a bit much for me, but I'm sure the kids loved food flying at them. Regardless, the animation was stunning, combining a tribute to Ron Barret's amazing illustrations in background with pleasantly cartoony characters.
This was much better than expected. It was creative, extremely fun, and paid reference to everything from "Independence Day" to "The Twilight Zone". You may need the heart and mind of a child for this, but if you can summon those up, you will be impressed.
It may be because I had insanely high expectations for this movie, but
I thought it was GREAT. I admit, I had been excited for it since I saw
the first trailer a few months ago. I went and saw it the day it came
out in IMAX 3D, which was cooler in itself, with my sister. I'm fifteen
and she's twenty: we were both cracking up the whole time. There were
no 'filler' jokes, as many kid's films do today. No jokes with 'potty
humor'. All jokes were in good taste and all genuinely funny. The whole
script was insanely well written. Timing, pacing, everything was great.
The animation was fantastic and really fit the film. The character
designs were all original and cute. You could tell how much effort was
put into this movie. And the cast! I watched the (adorable!) credits
and was surprised! I'd thought I'd recognized that fool pitying
officer. (: The whole cast did a terrific job. No complaints there.
This is a fun, lighthearted film. I walked out of the theater feeling the best I'd felt in a long time. Great family film, great film to see with your friends, great film to see by yourself, great film all together. Highly recommended.
Just to set the record straight, I'm not a fan of most non-Disney
Animation, non-Pixar animated films being released these days, and even
my faith in the former was just recently renewed with last year's Bolt
(which has topped Pulp Fiction as my personal favorite movie of all
time). Sure, every once in a while, a brilliant piece such as Coraline
will come along, but honestly, I find that to be one of the relatively
few exceptions from this decade. So, with that said, I initially wasn't
looking forward to seeing Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. What
further detracted from my excitement were the trailers, which led me to
believe that the film was going to be strictly targeted towards
children. Having just seen the film, though, I am happy to say that all
of my fears were put to rest.
Visually, this is perhaps one of the most spectacular animated movies I've ever seen, with literally every frame being a feast for the eyes. There were moments, especially throughout the movie's undeniably thrilling climax, in which my jaw just dropped in amazement. Not to throw in so much hyperbole, but this truly is one of the best animated films in terms of pure eye candy. While there's so much else in this movie to enjoy, the visuals alone make it worth the price of admission.
The vocal performances in Cloudy are some of the most impressive ones I've heard in quite some time. Both Bill Hader and Anna Faris as Flint and Sam, respectively, capture the essence of these two socially-awkward, smarter-than-you-might-think type of characters perfectly. Overall, I felt these two characters had some real chemistry, and as a result, I thoroughly enjoyed watching their relationship evolve throughout the course of the film. Mr. T is also terrific as the city cop, Earl, delivering some of the most gut-bustingly hilarious lines in the entire film. With that said, this is quite possibly the funniest animated movie that I've ever seen. To put it simply, there were a couple of moments in which I literally thought that I was going to be ill.
I walked out of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs with very much the same feeling as I did with '08's aforementioned Bolt: astonished by how mediocre I initially expected the film to be, and how enjoyable it actually ended up being. The only thing keeping this film from getting a 10/10 in my book is even with the few scenes that managed to tug at my heartstrings - the lack of an emotional punch powerful enough to get me choked up. However, given the film's quirky nature, I view that as a mild complaint at best. Go see it, folks.
From the title through every character right to the end this film is a
roller-coaster ride of absolutely ridiculous fun that will have kids
and adults alike doubled over with laughter. I personally nearly choked
from laughing so hard at one particular point.
What makes this movie so great is the characters...you can't go wrong with Bill Hader ever and Anna Faris I wouldn't be a fan of at all but she is cast completely out of character here and you would never guess it is her. The real entertainment lies in the support cast though. James Caan is outstanding as the father and Mr. T as the loving father and over enthusiastic local cop will have you in tears. Benjamin Bratt and Neil Patrick Harris didn't have much work to do with their characters but even with so few lines they are stars, particularly Steve the 'talking' monkey. There was one bit character that I found highly entertaining who had the best line in the whole thing when referring to hamburgers as tasting "significantly better than sardines".
I would consider myself a bit of a movie buff and my leaning is very much toward the art-house. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I choose to take a risk and cross the sticky floor, trying to avoid stepping on one of the many screaming kids running around, my heart beating fast and hard with nervousness and anxiety that maybe this was a mistake. When the time came I casually donned my 3D glasses and 90minutes later with a pain in my side I wanted to go again... It's been an long time since that has happened!
I'm not a huge fan of animated features, or children's movies. My tastes usually gravitate towards (good) horror films, foreign films, and more artsy independent features. I saw Up, thought it was a really great animated feature, but would I see it again? Maybe if i was babysitting. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, however, blew me away! It had such vivid, sometimes surreal, almost PSYCHEDELIC qualities, that I found myself awestruck at what the creators of this film had come up with! There was so much color, and such an imaginative design quality to the film that I couldn't help being thrilled. I'd probably give this 8/10 for those qualities alone, but in my opinion, the best part of all were the characters! The comedy was seriously non-stop, and so over the top ridiculous at times I was completely laughing out loud. Mr. T as the security guard. Very entertaining and fun character. The talking monkey. The Guatemalan weather assistant/doctor/pilot/whatever else... HILARIOUS. baby brett? Oh man. The list goes on. I'm 28 years old, and while I often enjoy kind of sick, off the wall humor, I really found this to be a VERY funny movie. It's personally very refreshing to know that humor doesn't have to be R rated to be hilarious. It sounds ridiculous, but this is probably going up there on my favorite movies list, right next to the films of polanski, kubrick, argento, hennenlotter, and the coen brothers.
Inspired by Ron and Judi Barrett's beloved children's book of the same
name, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS follows inventor Flint Lockwood
and brainy weathergirl Sam Sparks as they attempt to discover why the
rain in their small town has stopped while food is falling in its
place. Meanwhile, lifelong bully Brent relishes in tormenting Flint
just as he did when they were kids, and Mayor Shelbourne schemes to use
Flint's latest invention--a device designed to improve everyone's
lives--for his own personal gain.
OK, I admit it. The trailer for this film looked average, compared to other animated flicks, especially the films from Pixar. I thought the film would be too kiddy for me and that the storyline was beyond lame. I mean, food falling from the sky doesn't draw people in, does it? Oh, how wrong I was. I think we just found the third contender for the best animated movie section in the Academy Awards, people! Not only is this much better than non-Pixar animated films that has been released in SOME time (I think the last was HAPPY FEET?), but it's also one of the most visceral, inventive, entertaining, ingenious, silly movies that I've seen this year! Oh, wait. This is the only one.
I felt like a kid again when I put my 3D glasses on. Things popped out in a flashy fashion and the movie told in a quick pace with zippy dialogue! I wanted to grab the delicious-looking foods on the screen, from hotdogs to ice cream! It's like being a kid in a candy store! There's so much craziness here that I can't even dare to describe! When was it the first time that you saw a talking monkey that ripped a heart out from a live gummy bear?! When was it the first time that you saw a live turkey eating a human being?! Everything in this film is so ridiculous and preposterous that you have no choice but to go along with the ride
This is also a very, very funny film with a laugh per minute with some really clever jokes scattered throughout the film. But don't worry. There's a story in here too. It's been quite a while since I've seen a good father-and-son film (the last was FINDING NEMO?), but this film succeeded in that department as well. The message is by no means blatant and preachy at all. The cast is also a splendid delight, Mr. T standing out as one of the top characters because you can never really escape his noticeable voice. Bill Hader and Anna Faris did a wonderful job in their roles as well.
Oh, and did I mention the film was a visual feast (no pun intended)? You will see things in here that you have NEVER seen and probably will never see again in any other film. This should automatically get you a ticket to the theaters because when are you ever going to see a talking monkey grabbing a heart out of a live gummy bear?! WHEN?! The 3D technology is near flawless. It's probably the best looking 3D I've ever seen, the image looking very sharp from background to foreground. I also found the score by Mark Mothersbaugh to be amazing and exceptionally memorable.
If there's one bad thing I have to say about the movie, it isn't as good as Pixar's storytelling. However, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS should be a movie you should watch in theaters because it's unlike any movie you have ever seen. There's a lot of ingenuity and inventiveness and cleverness that is warped around the movie. The film is entertaining for both the kids and the adults to enjoy, so there's no need to worry. But wow, was this film a spectacle. If you have the chance to see this in 3D, see it but I'm sure the 2D version works just as well. If you're iffy about the trailer, I guess that's a good thing because the movie surpasses the trailer by ten times. Prepare to get served...literally.
'Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs' may as well be called the funniest
animated film of the year, because I have never laughed as much as I
did at an animated movie.Parents, I guarantee you that if you go see
this movie with your kids, you will be in for one hilarious and
exciting ride that makes this film almost as good as 'Up'.
Flint Lockwood has been an inventor ever since he was a kid, but most of his inventions have been failures.He has made a walking television set, a lotion that can give you hair, and rat birds, which I claim to be rats and birds combined together.It then hits him.The whole town has been forced to eat nothing but sardines.Of course, nobody in the town of Swallow Falls enjoy sardines.There's also a heading in the newspaper that says sardines are gross.What if Flint can fix all of that? What if he can invent a machine that converts water into food? Well, he tries it and it actually works.Soon, everyone in Swallow Falls love Flint's invention.What's even better is that it will give you any food you want.Pizza, french fries, mashed potatoes, jello, ice cream, bacon, cheeseburgers, eggs, cheese, steak, olives, toast, donuts, and so on.Unfortantly for Swallow Falls, things get much worse.The food starts to get bigger and causes the town and everyone else in the world nothing but destruction and chaos.It's now up to Flint to save the day from what may be a food apocalypse.
Me and my friend sat in our seats, laughed endlessly, and couldn't wait until the DVD came out.When it does, I'll be sure to get it on the first day.If not the first day, I'll be sure to get it and watch it over and over again.
Although - as many people do - I generally prefer Pixar films to the
animated fare created by other companies, I can't deny that a film like
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is very hard not to love. Although it
isn't particularly complex, thought-provoking, beautiful or masterful,
it's a very entertaining, funny, cute-as-hell and effective animated
film. Children with definitely love it, and adults... well, that
actually depends on the adult in question. Although I certainly enjoy
all kinds of movies, there's always - for me - some satisfaction to be
had when watching something so obviously goofy and kiddy. Meatballs is
kiddy, and that's precisely what I loved about it. It may not be this
year's best animated movie - that honour goes to Pixar's Up - but it
certainly is better than the likes of Monsters vs. Aliens.
The film tells the story of Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader), a young inventor who dreams of, someday, creating something that will be loved by everyone and make him more popular and, most importantly, improve the lives of everyone in town. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to do so, and his technofobic father (voice of James Caan) doesn't really help at all. One day, though, he manages to invent something that will change the lives of everyone in town forever: a machine that makes food fall from the sky. Everybody seems to be happy with him now - including mayor Shelbourne (Bruce Campbell) and the by-the-book police offer, Earl (Mr. T) - but, predictably enough, something goes wrong: excess amounts of food start to overload the island where the town is located, and now Flint, along with TV reporter Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) has to try to solve their problem.
Yes, the plot is pretty predictable, and it certainly won't make anyone above the age of 5 be shocked with surprise or anything of the sort, but it certainly is very imaginative, and it should work in a very "oh, it's sort of nice" kind of way. I liked the way Flint was portrayed - Hader's wacky and not-so-recognizable voice is perfect for the character - and the fact that, although most characters are either archetypes or stereotypes - consider, for the example, Bruce Campbell's greedy and - eventually - obese mayor - they are all voice so professionally and characterized in such an naive and cute kind of way, that one just doesn't care. I rooted for Flint the whole way, and I actually thought that the romantic sub-plot between him and Sam was cute and funny.
Visually, I don't think the movie is on par to the likes of Wall-E or Up, but I think that comparing it to those productions would be a bit unfair. Wall-E had a sort-of realistic kind of look, and Up, while a little more cartoonish, had a very realistic flair to it. On the other hand, there's something very old-fashioned in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' look and the way it is animated. Characters behave and move the way old TV cartoons behaved forty or more years ago, and I like that. They jump a lot, are very "agile" and are just... cartoonish. Clearly, the animators didn't want the movie to give a palpable sense of realism; in a way, they were trying to craft an old-fashioned cartoon with the latest technological tools, and they have done it very successfully.
What else can I say about the movie? It certainly is very naive, and it doesn't explore any deep themes or moral problems, but that's just OK. While this year's mediocre Monsters vs. Aliens was terribly simplistic, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is just simple, and there's nothing wrong with that. Of course, there's nothing wrong with movies like Wall-E having very significant messages and complex love stories and such, but if a parent wants to go with their toddler to see a movie that isn't very complicated but that isn't stupid or boring either, then Meatballs is an excellent choice. After all, even if there isn't much beneath the surface, I can't imagine a single adult maintaining a straight face throughout the film's runningtime. The movie is hilarious, - just remember Flint's father's eyebrows! -, it's inventive, it's imaginative; it's also pretty gorgeous and it features some effective voice acting and interesting, wacky characters. It's not dumb and it doesn't pander to the least common denominator. Most interestingly, though, it made me hungry. That's not a quality many movies posses.
Sony Pictures Animation have had mixed success in comparison to the
more established studios like Pixar, Dreamworks and Blue Sky with their
films coming out at the wrong time with Open Season opening after the
glut of talking animal films and Surf's Up which opened after Happy
Feet but with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, SPA has finally found
a hit film, the animation is stunning especially the water and the food
weather and unlike say, Shrek the look is cartoony but works in its
favour, the voice actors are equally as good with Bill Hader as Flint,
Mr T as Earl and Anna Faris as Sam but it's Steve the Monkey who steals
the film. The story itself works very well expanding on the original
book and while the second half lags a bit, overall I left the cinema
both with a smile and hungry.
If The Smurfs and Hotel Transylvania are half as good as Cloudy then Sony Pictures Animation will continue to thrive.
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