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Old 09-18-2009, 12:03 AM
Phil Lord's and Chris Miller's Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

I had the opportunity to view this film in IMAX/3-d, this being the first time I've ever experienced the 3-d side of film. It's fun at first, things flying right up to your face, objects bulging off of the screen as if you could reach out and touch them. After awhile though, the gimmick grows old, and honestly, I stopped noticing it about halfway through. However, the kids in the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy it, which I guess is all that really matters.

"Cloudy" tells the story of a young man, Flint Lockwood (voice of Bill Hader), who dreams of being a great inventor on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean. The town is famous for its sardines, that is, until everyone realizes that they are disgusting. His father, Tim (voice of James Caan), wants him to help him out as his tackle shop, but Flint wants to keep up his work on his inventions.

His most recent invention is a machine that changes water into food, but he needs enough power to make it work, so, while the town is distracted with the mayor's (voice of Bruce Campbell) unveiling of a sardine themed amusement park, he hooks up his invention to a generator. This gives it all the power it needs....and more. It takes so much power that it launches straight up into the sky where it goes to work turning the water in the clouds into food, which rains down on the town. Meanwhile, an intern from a news station, Sam Sparks (voice of Anna Faris), who had shown up to cover the mayor's unveiling, ends up getting a much bigger story.

This was another one of those animated movies where it was fun to guess who was doing whose voice. I went into the screening not knowing who any of the voices were and came out only having recognized one, the unmistakable voice of Mr. T. I was shocked to see that I hadn't recognized the voices of James Caan, Bruce Campbell, and Al Roker amongst others.

The voice acting and the animation were particularly good. Certain images from the film stick in my head like an entire room, and all the objects in it, made out of Jell-o, or a spaghetti tornado that touches down near the end of the film. I've mentioned it before, but it's worth mentioning again: animation just seems to keep getting better and better.

Something else that I particularly liked about this film was that it didn't try to have the split level of humor that some recent animated films have tried to have like "Monsters vs. Aliens" or the "Shrek" films. Not that those were bad films, I actually liked all of them, it was just refreshing to see a movie that was made entirely for kids.

Even though the humor seemed to be at the kid level, there are several amusing spots to it that had both kids and adults laughing; I even found myself chuckling a few times. It's amazing that, even though it didn't particularly try to have that split level of humor that it still managed to amuse both groups.

Throughout the film, I was reminded of another recent animated film, "The Tale of Depereaux," not because of their stories, but because their approach to storytelling was completely opposite. "Despereaux" tries to bite off more than it could chew and ended up being a bit of a mess, whereas "Cloudy" took a very short story and stretched it to as thin as it could possibly be.

This made it feel as though the film went on for much longer than its short 80 minute running time. It seemed to keep coming up with random events just so that the film could keep going. This is not surprising though since itís based on a short childrenís' book by Judi and Ron Barrett. Overall, this is what hindered the film from being fully recommendable.

But these are just the thoughts of an adult, and again, the kids seemed to have a good time. When the target demographic appears to be satisfied, the studio can probably expect another hit on their hands. However, as far as I'm concerned, the story needed more plot instead of random events. Perhaps the authors could have been called on to expand their original story, especially since there's not much of a story there in the first place. 2.5/4 stars.
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:49 PM
Asolutely disappointing. This could have been really fun, but the plot is barely nonexistant as the film races from action set-piece to action set-piece, and the love interest is one of the most irriating and annoying animated characters I have ever witnessed! he humor is decidely non-pop cultured which is nice, but the jokes are also really lame. But I did love the monkey! C-
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