It's not up there with the Pixar classics, but the anarchic sense of humour of this computer-animated film from Sony Pictures puts it a cut above most
Computer animated films have tended, over the last decade, to fall into one of two groups: truly excellent works, usually produced by Pixar, and mediocre fare packed with notable actors providing voice work. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs doesn’t quite edge its way in alongside Toy Story, The Incredibles and Wall-E, but it’s far better than most star-studded nonsense.
The plot is fairly straightforward: a young man named Flint, faced with a life of boredom in the run-down town of Swallow Falls, invents a machine that makes it rain food, with unforeseen consequences. There’s also a romantic sub-plot concerning the arrival of a would-be weather reporter, Sam Sparks.
What lifts the film above mere multiplex-fodder, though, is not the quality of the animation or voice acting, although the former is superb and the latter fine with a notable turn from Bruce Campbell, but the sheer anarchic barrage of humour that surrounds the plot.
Like a good episode of the Simpsons, the story is assaulted with jokes from all sides, with one-liners and background sight gags everywhere. Even the most minor characters, such as the taciturn weather channel cameraman, get some good gags, and nothing is cast aside, as even incidental comments and objects from the first half of the film come back later to get laughs – witness, for example, the return of the television on legs during a looting scene.
Overall even this torrent of good-natured humour can’t quite lift Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs up to the standard of the very best animated films, but it is nonetheless a wonderfully creative film worth a watch.
This Blu-ray edition is notably good value. As well as several short documentaries, all presented in HD, there are animatics (rough, sketch-like animations used early in the animation process), extended scenes and interactive games – although those with PC-based Blu-ray players might find, like us, that these interactive sections do not work on their equipment. The Blu-ray disc is also sold with a DVD in the packet, allowing those with DVD players to “upgrade” to the high-definition version later.
Not a masterpiece of computer animation, but a well-made family comedy that's packed with wonderfully crazy humour throughout
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