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

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009/Sony Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: A-/B     Sound: A-/B     Extras: B-     Film: B



There is nothing cloudy about this film.  The skies opened up and delivered a stellar film that once again proves that animated features do not have to be for just kids or just adults.  Films of the past like Shrek and more recently Disney/Pixar’s UP have brilliantly managed to blend crisp, stylistic animation with solid writing.  In the past it was more black and white (with maybe the exception of Disney films) that animated features either appealed to children or adults; with storyline mostly being thrown out the window, as studios were more preoccupied with the marketing of lunchboxes and action figures.  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (though VERY loosely based on the original children’s book) creates brilliant animation, sets up a solid storyline, integrates lovable characters and puts in a heaping dose of radiant comedy.


The story revolves around Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), a young guy who has only wanted to be an inventor his entire life; the problem is that all his inventions seem to flop more than pop.  From permanent shoes too rat birds (yes, rat birds); Flint has never quite had a successful invention, but that is all about to change.  Though the small town of Swallow Falls has grown tired of messing things/blowing things up, he persists in his endeavor to make the “best invention ever.”  Flint has lost his mom and is left with his father, who does not understand his boy but strives to mildly support him anyhow.  Flint manages to create an invention that will rid the world of hunger as it can transform simple water molecules into any food that is programmed in.  While attempting to get the adequate amount of power to his device, however, he manages to lose it as it shoots into the atmosphere high above and concurrently destroys the town’s new Sardine Theme Park.  Needless the town is ready to get their torched and pitchforks; that is until hamburgers start raining from the sky.  Not before long that town is ecstatic with the prospect of having whatever food they want come from the sky; with that Flint gets to work and becomes an instant celebrity.  As with anything, what goes up in the sky must come down and there is trouble brewing in the clouds for Flint.  The once brilliant invention starts to oddly rain down larger and larger food; but against the advice of Flint the mayor dismisses the warnings and the (renamed) town of ChewandSwallow is about to get a serving size they can’t handle.


I was quite impressed and surprised by Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  I originally did not have high hopes for the seemingly childish venture, but as mentioned above the film did everything right and more.  The animation was stylistic and creative as it blended realistic features with classic, almost Looney Tune-like images.  The voice cast was brilliantly cast as Bill Hader, Ana Faris, Neil Patrick Harris, James Caan, Bruce Campbell, Andy Samberg, Al Roker and even Mr. T brought the feature to life.  The comedy of the film was not too adult or childish, but a perfect blend of both that had me laughing from beginning to end.  In fact friends, family and I are still quoting one liners from the film til today.  All in all I have to say this is a must see film that can be watched again and again.


The technical features of the Blu-ray are just as good as the film itself and the DVD is nice as well.  The Blu-ray is presented in a 1080p/AVC encoded transfer that is jaw dropping; as it should be.  One of the best quality images to see on Blu-ray has been new animated features (such as those by Pixar) and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs fully delivers as the image is insanely crisp with bright colors, solid contrast and detail that is purely stunning.  Every sesame seed can be seen as it falls from the sky and any Blu-ray aficionado would be happy to use this film as demo material.  The DVD is a definite step down as it does not display nearly as nicely, but in terms of other features released today it is nice and those still relying on DVD will be more than pleased with above adequate colors, crispness and detail.  The sound quality of the Blu-ray as it is presented in a DTS-Master Audio 5.1 track that is another shining feature of this release.  The directionality is amazing as every little ambient noise can be heard, as it almost seems like it is raining down on you.  The quality is pristine and clear throughout and delivers a soundtrack that is also all encompassing; truly a great job with picture and sound on the Blu-ray.  The DVDs sound is a tad lackluster after hearing the Blu-ray, but once again adequate as directionality is still utilized in the 5.1 track and crispness is merely a step down.


The extra features are not as engaging as I would have liked, but nice nevertheless.  Extras included on both DVD and Blu-ray are A Recipe for Success: The Making of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; Raining Sunshine Music Video by iCarly’s Miranda Cosgrove; Interactive “Raining Sunshine” Sing-A-Long; Behind the Scenes with Miranda Cosgrove’s “Raining Sunshine” Music Video; Key Ingredients: The Voices of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; Extended Scenes; Progression Reels with Introductions by Visual FX Supervisor Rob Bredow; Early Development Scenes; Director’s Commentary with Bill Hader. There are a few Blu-ray exclusives including Interactive Splat Button (throw food at the screen while you watch the movie); Flint’s Food Game (like Asteroids); a PSP digital copy of the film to transfer via your PS3 (annoying because it limits those who can use the Digital Copy).


I found the extras to be plentiful in quantity, but lacking in quality.  Many of the features initially center on a Miranda Cosgrove music video that is less than exciting; so I quickly dismissed those.  The extended scenes were take ‘em or leave ‘em as they added nothing to the already wonderful film.  The commentaries were lackluster and I did not care for.  The only shining feature was the Voices Of featurette that took you into the actor’s methods, which was nice to see.  The Blu-ray features are mostly a waste of space and I did not enjoy them in the slightest.


In the end, this is a great film with amazing Blu-ray quality.  A must see and a must own.





-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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