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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Computer CG > Food > Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009/Sony Blu-ray 3-D format)

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009/Sony Blu-ray 3-D format)


3-D Picture: B+ 2-D Picture: B Sound: B+ Extras: C+ Film: B-



A step up from the many decades of home 3-D involving those red/blue (or variations thereof) cardboard glasses, the new Blu-ray 3-D format is a giant step ahead and though it requires glasses (which are more efficient and do not cause anywhere near the headaches the old type do) especially made to go with the 3-D capable HDTVs and you also need a 3-D Blu-ray player, but all the machines play regular 2-D Blu-rays, all DVDs and CDs. As our inaugural Blu-ray 3-D title, we will look at Columbia Pictures computer animated feature Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs from 2009, which we already covered on standard Blu-ray. You can read more about that and the plot at this link:





I liked the animated feature and thought its very idea was charming, though also ironic considering the increase of childhood hunger and starvation worldwide, yet it thinks with childlike wonderment without being childish and formulaic to its advantage. Though the animation is obviously not at the level of PIXAR or DreamWorks, what is impressive is how the makers pushed what they had to the limit. The result is a work as charming as Chicken Little and an early minor fantasy classic in the CG animation world.


My one complaint it is an unusual one. The jokes and gags work well and are well written, but whoever matched the picture and sound hurt the final edit because the visual timing with the verbal jokes are always off by a few seconds and the animation technology cannot be blamed for it; it is a simple matter of mismatching the two. If I could re-sync this the way I wanted to (this would be a much funnier film), but enough on that. This is fun and the love of and celebration of food is a true riot.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D Full Resolution digital High Definition image has some limits on its richness (including color that is not as wide ranging as I would have liked), but has some great, fun 3-D effects that add to the unique world the animated images build and the attention to detail is very clever. Some effects are terrific and others (a pleasant surprise) offer very interesting uses that will allow this title to hold up for years to come, but it has some minor 3-D decoding errors and does not always have the depth of the best 3-D I have seen (going back to the earliest productions in 1952). With that said, when it works (which is more often than nor), it is a great, one-of-a-kind and perfect Blu-ray 3-D demo that will endure for years to come.


The 2-D version is the same as the previous Blu-ray, which is fine, but has some limits outside of its lack of 3-D fully shown in the older digital animation used and other animation limits inherent to the production, plus detail is not always great, though it is not always about detail and has its own style that does not always need it. Anybody note how the moving images sometimes seem like Play-Doh? Edible Play-Doh perhaps?


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix is also a winner, though not one of the best such mixes I have ever heard, it is sonically superior to many live action features I have seen of late and the mix has character, plus moves the narrative along, something most productions of any kind seem to forget these days. Except for my earlier complain, the quality of the recording is very impressive and soundfield decent throughout. The result is that the visual world is confirmed by the sound and that makes it all that much more palpable and fun.


To make room for the 3-D, some of the extras from the regular Blu-ray (interactive features and commentary, as well as Digital Copy for PC & PC portable devices and the DVD) are absent, but the rest of the features remain and you can read all about them in our previous Blu-ray review at the link above.


As for the Blu-ray 3-D format, I was not certain how it would play, but its superior accuracy versus older systems is a plus and though some 3-D HDTVs and their glasses are not as good as others, the format and hardware at its best is more than impressive enough to be a hit and we will cover more Blu-ray 3-D titles as they become available, so be on the lookout for more coverage.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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