Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" Review

Look up in the sky! It's raining Spoilers! THIS IS A SPOILER WARNING!

Introduction: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is based off of the children's book of the same name that was written by Judi and Ron Barrett. Both the book and the film follows an inventor, Flint (Played by Bill Hader) after he invents a machine that turns water into food. After a mishap involving a power station, the machine is sent up to the sky, where it starts making it rain food. However, when the food starts to get bigger and bigger, it's up to Flint to save the town. The film also stars Anna Faris as a reporter (and Flint's love interest), Bruce Campbell as the Mayor, Mr. T as a police officer and Neil Patrick Harris as a talking monkey.

The Review: This film is very similar to The Polar Express in that it's based off of a short book, therefore making me wonder if it will be able to support a feature-length runtime. However while Express could, Cloudy couldn't. You see, Express increased it's runtime by building on to the original story by adding new, interesting characters and by going deeper into the train ride than the book did. Cloudy on the other hand, boosts it's runtime by dragging scenes on for too long.
    Take for example the end of the movie. Flint is about to destroy the machine by sending a kill code through the machine that tells the other machine what to do. (It makes more sense in the movie. Kind of.) However when the Mayor destroys the machine, Flint rebuilds his flying car to deliver the kill code manually. (Why he didn't just rebuilt the machine that could send the code is a mystery.) Then, while he's in the flying the car to the machine, he drops the kill code out of the window. So, then he gets his father to e-mail the kill code to his cell phone. But, the father doesn't know how to use e-mail. So, Flint walks his father through it, but then the computer gets destroyed. BUT THEN, his father some how sends the email even though the computer is destroyed. BUT THEN, it turns out his father e-mailed him the wrong thing. So, Flint ends up just cloging the machine to make it expolde, therefore making every scene with the kill code, entirely pointless.
    The film also increases it's runtime by have an over-abundence of jokes. While yes the movie is funny, I couldn't help but fell like I did while I was watching the Cars Toons. You know, I enjoyed the shorts, but the whole time I was painfully aware of the fact that these shorts were made just to make more toys. With Cloudy, I did enjoy the jokes, but the whole time I was painfully aware of the fact that they are making these jokes is just to make the movie longer. I mean the best way to put is is like this. Imagine I give you a piece of cake that tastes like cardboard, but I cover the cake in good-tasting frosting. Sure, the frosting's good but it doesn't make the cake not taste like cardboard. Now just replace the cake with a movie and the frosting with jokes and you get Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

The Verdict: Overall, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a funny film, but it's plot is paper-thin and it just goes on for too long. It's would have been better if it were an hour and 15 minute direct-to-DVD film. 3.5 out of 6.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I COMPLETELY disagree.

    Being an animation student who has now watched many feature-length animated films, 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' is one of the great non-Pixar films for kids. Not only was there highly relatable conflict between Flint and his Dad, a down-to-Earth love story and Flint's personal quest to prove himself, but underlying plot lines in the beginning (rat-birds, monkey thought translator, etc.) are weaved into the main storyline at the end to support the resolution of the story.

    The wicked off-beat sense of humour doesn't carry the movie and by no means lengthens the movie unnecessarily. If anything, it sweetens the deal because it's so unexpected. Older family members will appreciate this. Also, there's no singing in this movie, which supports the notion that animations can be successful without being a musical.
    Frankly, I'm surprised this movie was not nominated for the Academy Awards.

    Also please don't compare 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' with 'The Polar Express'. That movie took a wonderful book and made a creepy film out of it. While we appreciate the attempt, no actor should play five characters that are too obviously Tom Hanks and put creepy motion-capture on top with diluted expressions. Sucks the joy out of Christmas.