Comments for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on DVD
The DVD of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was released last week and we've been renting it from Netflix. As I write this post I'm in the middle of my 12th time of watching it. It's not a film I would have chosen to see in the theater or even to rent but my son had read the book in school and wanted to see it. When it was out in the theaters I gave him the option to see it and he said he'd rather wait to see it on DVD. So that's what we've been doing for the last week.
When I first hit play I had even lower expectations for it than I did for Avatar (a film I ended up enjoying). Surprisingly I was drawn right in, even to the point of missing all the actors who were cast in it. Now after having seen it twelve times (no I'm not exaggerating!) I am still enjoying it even though I've gotten to the point of being able to sing along with it.
The animation style isn't anything special but it's stylistically consistent. The characters fit in their world and the special effects (the weather mostly) doesn't clash with the sets. At the same time, the sets and food gags are a nice homage to the book by Judi and Ron Barrett. Although the book is set in modern times, stylistically (and especially in the 2D animated closing credits) references the late 1970s. The book was originally published in 1978 so I'm guessing it's one more nod to the source material. After seeing the film a couple times I broke down and borrowed the book from the library (on my son's insistence). I plan on writing a full review of the book at a later date. He had been pointing out the pages from the book in the film and it has been fun to pause on these homage scenes and compare them to the book.
The biggest difference between the book and film is the framing story. For the book it's explicitly a tall tale inspired by a breakfast accident. Feature films though are all about "motivation" so a more robust explanation for the food weather was needed. Enter Flint Lockwood (whose name always makes me think of the main character from Singin' in the Rain) who wants to be an inventor but can't find his career path on Swallow Falls island, that is until he accidentally launches a food producing device into the stratosphere.
This being a romantic comedy, there's also a love interest in the form of Sam Sparks. It's refreshing to see a nerd fall in love with a nerd. By that I mean Flint is attracted to her brains more than anything else. I love that her glasses and her scrunchy are improvements.
In the book, Chew and Swallow (which the film town eventually changes its name to) exists across two seas, a desert and over some mountains. In the film, Swallow Falls is a small island tucked under the A of the Atlantic Ocean. It though might as well be Monterey if it had fallen off the California coast at the heyday of its life as a fish cannery. Where Cannery Row recovered from the closing of the canneries by rebranding itself as a tourist destination and by building a world class aquarium, Swallow Falls tries first with Sardineland and then as a tourist destination for to experience the food weather. As it's a science fiction disaster film parody neither plan goes well for Swallow Falls.
My final thoughts on the film adaptation of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is that I'll probably end up owning a copy of the DVD. It's funny enough to survive watching a dozen (or more times). Steve the Monkey is hilarious (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris). I like the father's goofy fishing metaphors and there's something perversely enjoyable about watching a clone Monterey city destroyed by falling food.
Comment #1: Tuesday, January, 12, 2010 at 08:54:06
Steve and the Gummi Bears definitely stole the show! I hope the 13th time is just as good. :)
Comment #2: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 10:55:05
I think the 13th time will be just as good. I'm sure I'll find out soon enough. This morning we were all talking like characters from the movie at breakfast.
Comment #3: Wednesday, January, 13, 2010 at 09:04:50
Melissa (My World)
Thanks for the review of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I have not really had any desire to see this movie and really didn't think it would be all that great. Now after reading your review I am willing to go rent the dvd for my son to see. Sounds like it may be a turn of thoughts for it.
Comment #4: Tuesday, January 13, 2010 at 15:37:09
I really wasn't expecting to like the film. It's a lot more entertaining than you'd believe from the ads.