Friday, September 27, 2013

Movie Review - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

I never saw the first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie and I never read the book. My kids enjoyed the first film and wanted to see the second so we gave it a try. The movie was made in 3D so I did have a little worry about potential "gimmicky" 3D presentation and while there were one or two moments that bordered gimmicky, the 3D was non-intrusive for the most part.

This sequel picks up (apparently) immediately after the end of the first movie. In the first movie, Flint Lockwood dreams of becoming a famous inventor and eventually succeeds by creating a machine that makes food (of any kind requested) from water. His machine helps local citizens and creates a booming tourist economy until it ends up launched into the air and eventually gets out of control sending too much food and even creating living food that attacks Flint and his friends as they try to stop the machine. At the end of the first movie they destroy the machine and things are hopefully in a "happily ever after" state (after some much needed clean up, of course).

The second film starts out by showing us that the machine is still working, barely. It's looking very broken but it's sitting in a pool of water and it starts slowly popping out some food again. At the same time, Flint and the town are standing in the town square and surprised by the arrival of famous inventor-scientist Chester V, head of Live Corp.

The Chester V character feels like an extreme caricature of Steve Jobs. He sort of flits around with a semi-yogi zen state of ideals and creativity coupled with intense drive and manipulation. Almost every time he had a key role on screen I was reminded of Steve Jobs's behavior in his various keynotes and Apple announcements.

Plot-wise, Chester has been Flint's idle since childhood and Flint stands dumbstruck in awe as Chester indicates that he and his team have been tasked with relocating the citizens and helping clean up the town. Chester also hires Flint to come work at his company. It is clear from the ominous framing and tone that there is some ulterior motive to Chester's actions but everybody is so excited at his celebrity status that nobody seems suspicious.

As the movie progresses we learn that Flint's machine has indeed regained its full capacity and is pumping out food like never before. Chester approaches Flint and lets him know that there are living food creatures ravaging his own home and they are apparently attacking Chester's clean up crew. Flint is tasked with returning home to Swallow Falls to once again find and stop his crazy food machine.

As the trailers show, things are even stranger than before. In the first movie the initial threat was the mere onslaught of a ton of food raining down from the sky. Towards the end is when the living food started defending the machine. As the gang arrives back on the island in this movie they find that all of the food is alive and has developed complete ecosystem of living food that is thriving in a sort of primitive jungle.

The movie had some fun jokes and plenty of puns and wordplay. There was a bit of physical humor and some cheesy wild and crazy adventures. Much of the humor got a little repetitive as time went on but was still generally funny. The characters were fun and lovable. Flint was annoyingly obtuse and couldn't see the obvious threats until it was too late. His friends were ranged from cute and endearing to cheesy and outrageous. The animation is fun and whimsical. The living food showcases some cool creativity and there is a lot of energy and color that make the movie quite vibrant. The adventure and the plot had some twists and turns in spite of some predictability.

In the end, the kids and I had fun watching the movie but for my own taste it wasn't particularly memorable. I came away with the "I had fun" vibe but didn't feel like it's a "must see" or a "must re-watch." I think the kids liked it a bit more than me but they weren't raving about it either.

2.5 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

Brian Miller said...

eh i think you got the best you could hope for in that one...we will wait for the dollar theatre on it for sure...the first one was fun though as well...