Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Review: Feast For The Eyes
Did you ever, when you were wee and bored of scoffing fish fingers, dream of a machine that would make whatever meal you wanted whenever, (you know, like the one in Red Dwarf)?
It’s an idea that’s captured the public imagination as a generation is weaned on a diet of turkey twizzlers.
Thankfully that dream is (sort of) realised in Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s animated family flick Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.
Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) is a brilliant, though socially inept loner and inventor of fantastic things (with more than a whiff of Zach Braff about him). He’s so tired of being served up boring sardines for breakfast, lunch and dinner that he creates a machine that can turn water into food, any food you like, to free the residents of home island Swallow Falls from their gastronomic rut.
However things go awry in the unveiling of his machine, and in a bizarre turn of events his contraption is shot into the sky.
Flint is already welcoming the end of his inventing career when to the astonishment and delight of the villagers it starts raining cheeseburgers. Flint finally gets the recognition he deserves as a great inventor, and excitable news station intern Sam Sparks (Ann Faris) gets her story.
The portly Mayor Shelbourne (Bruce Campbell) is thrilled with Flint’s mastery of meat-eorology, and the island becomes Chewandswallow.
Though as more and more food requests are made the machine takes the strain, and the needle on Flint’s snappily-named “Dangeometer” gauge begins to sway perilously close to the red area. It’s up to him to save the island from being destroyed by bus-sized watermelons and spaghetti tornadoes.
The 3D platform really comes into its own in a film like Meatballs. An adaptation of a children’s book of the same name from 1978, only the third dimension could do the story cinematic justice, with some luminously spectacular scenes.
The kids will love the fantastical element of the movie, as well as the vibrant characters of Swallow Falls. There’s the overprotective town cop, voiced by none other than Mr. T, Flint’s mono-browed philosophiser dad Tim (James Caan), and Steve the Monkey (Neil Patrick Harris), Flint’s best friend and colleague, and wearer of a monkey thought translator.
There’s plenty in store for the adults, too. Meatballs charmingly employs a cheeky brand of self-knowing humour, inspiring laughs from the beginning and right the way through to the credits.
All in all, it’s really good fun and while the story does slightly lose its momentum some way in, it deserves a place in the animated movie hall of fame alongside Toy Story and Finding Nemo.