Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Review

Directors: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn

Writers: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein, Erica Rivinoja

Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews

Synopsis: Flint Lockwood (Hader) successfully got everyone off Swallow Falls after the disaster in the previous film. Now a celebrity, he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves, including a job at the prestigious Live Corp Company. Live Corp’s clear-up of Swallow Falls goes awry, eventually forcing Flint and his friends and family to head to the island on their full of “foodimals”!

When Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs came out 4 years ago it was one of the most refreshingly original animations to arrive on our screens in years. The dialogue, the characters, and the overall aesthetic were so pleasingly different that it has become a beloved contemporary classic. It was therefore expected that a sequel was on its way. Complain to your heart’s content about the “sequelisation” of most films, but Cloudy seemed like the perfect film for that. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 does satisfy many of the fans’ needs, though nowhere near as picture perfect as the first.

As The Avengers will continue with Joss Whedon’s script and directorial efforts, the notion that if you’ve created something special it works well to carry on with it. Cloudy’s first film, written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, was a creation seamlessly envisioned. The sequel’s Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, following that act, have a lot on their plate (forgive the pun). They have expectations to meet and a style to stick by. In some regards they have been worthy successors to Lord and Miller, in keeping with the first two’s paradigms. Still, some of the dynamics have been pushed in the way of the “bigger, bolder, better” sequel scheme and often it feels too over the top. There’s more emphasis on the team – and unfortunately more from Andy Samberg’s annoying “Baby” Brent McHale – tiresome at points when you want to see more of the surrounding cast. There’s additionally a more formidable villain figure (Will Forte’s Chester V) who’s most interesting characteristic is the way he moves. They’ve tried to better the likes of Bruce Campbell’s Mayor Shelborne baddie, falling to the feet of Campbell’s scene-stealing abilities.

The most celebrated part of Cloudy 2 has been lauded over in every trailer and TV spot – the host of foodimals, all complete with glorious pun names. It might not be worth watching any promotional spots for film as too many jokes are lost the second time round after watching the trailer. Placing the majority of the laughs on these food-animal hybrids never seems to lose its zing, mind you. The quick-fire humour of the Cloudy series works well for the “oh look, it’s a [insert foodimal here]” barrage of skits. If the monkey Steve remains your favourite after the exploits of Berry – a giant strawberry – then the film really will be lost on you. Out of the many many new characters, Berry is deliciously delightful.

Slapstick aspects may not be something you can hold against Cloudy, but the sequel certainly feels more childish. Many of the jokes that could be enjoyed by older audiences in the first have been seemingly shelved in favour of action, colour and cuteness for number 2. Always able to crack a smile, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 won’t, however, have you in fits of laughter like the first; it has, sadly, started to cater (forgive another pun), only for the kids.


Also posted on LiveForFilms

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