It’s a shame that some still feel like animated films are primarily made for children. The advent of Pixar and films like Shrek and The Fantastic Mr. Fox have more than proved otherwise, and in 2009 directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller delivered a wonderfully goofy animated take on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs that appeals to adults and kids alike. That film reveled in its offbeat sense of humor, and while Lord and Miller stepped back into executive producer roles for the sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a worthy follow-up that delivers a hefty dose of adorable buoyed by colorfully inspired designs and a heartfelt theme of friendship. Read my review of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on Blu-ray after the jump.
Picking up immediately where the first film left off, directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn’s sequel finds a super-inventor named Chester V (voiced by Will Forte) using his organization Live Corp to help clean the island of Swallow Falls. During the cleanup, the inhabitants of the island—including Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), Tim Lockwood (James Caan), Brent (Andy Samberg), and Earl (Terry Crews)—are forced to relocate to San Franjose. Six months later, Flint is invited to work at Live Corp alongside his idol Chester V, who informs Flint that the FLDSMDFR survived the initial explosion and continues to wreak havoc on Swallow Falls. Flint is therefore tasked with venturing to Swallow Falls, finding the FLDSMDFR, and destroying it once and for all.
Flint recruits his friends and trusty monkey Steve to help him on his mission, and once they arrive at Swallow Falls they find that the island has been taken over by monstrous living food creatures dubbed “Foodimals.” As the story progresses, Flint finds there’s more to Chester V’s interest in the island beyond simple clean-up, and he must work with his friends to save the island and its new inhabitants.
Instead of simply rehashing jokes from the first film, Cameron and Pearn wisely create an almost entirely new world and bring a freshness to the follow-up. Fans of puns will find much humor in the sharp script by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, and the designs of the Foodmials are both adorable and delicious. Seriously, everything in this movie looks absolutely delectable, and the comedic hijinks involved with the various Foodimals, namely Barry the Strawberry and the Dill Pickles, are hilarious. Cameron and Pearn have culled together one gorgeous-looking film that’s also wickedly funny.
Though the story may not be as tight as the first film, there’s a solid message at heart about the importance of friendship and family in the face of ambition. It comes to a nice conclusion, and the only major issue with the pic is that it will leave you feeling mighty guilty about eating…well pretty much anything. Will Forte is a wonderful addition to the cast as he brings a nutty sensibility to Chester V, and Kristen Schaal is spot-on as a genius orangutan named Barb. The highlight, though, is Barry the Strawberry, voiced by Cameron himself.
There was some initial apprehension about the Cloudy sense of humor being lost when Lord and Miller didn’t return to direct, but Pearn and Cameron do a swell job of picking up the torch. Cloudy 2 happily embraces the goofy sensibility of the first film and perhaps even takes things further into left field.
The colorful animation pops in stunning detail on the Blu-ray in Sony’s 1080p transfer, and the sound is crystal clear in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.
The Blu-ray release is absolutely loaded with some very worthwhile special features ranging from behind-the-scenes featurettes to short films.
- Audio Commentary – Directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn offer a thoughtful and fascinating commentary track as they discusses the film’s use of 3D, the story structure, the changes in the project throughout production, and more. Definitely worth a listen.
- Mini-Movies – A collection of four 2D-animated short films are included on the disc, and all of them are rather entertaining. They feature the main cast members reprising their roles to tell four close-ended stories: Steve’s First Bath, Super Manny, Attack of the 50 Foot Gummi Bear, and Earl Scouts.
- Deleted Scenes – Seeing as how 3D animation is expensive, there wasn’t much finished footage left on the cutting room floor. That being said, four very short deleted scenes are included on the Blu-ray.
- Production Design: Back in the Kitchen – A nearly 7-minute featurette giving an overview of the film’s look as a whole. A highlight is seeing how the animators studied what it looks like to walk in syrup.
- Cloudy Café: Who’s on the Menu? – This featurette focuses on the film’s voice cast and characters, including Neil Patrick Harris ruminating on his many vocalizations for “Steve.”
- Anatomy of a Foodimal – The cast and crew discuss the adorably delicious “foodimals” from the movie.
- Awesome End Credits – A fascinating featurette that reveals how the mix of stop-motion, puppetry, and 2D-animation was used to create the film’s epilogue sequence.
- Building the Foodimals – Senior Animation Supervisor Peter Nash narrates this look at how the animators approached creating the foodimals, including their thought-process behind the characters’ movements and motivations.
- Delicious Production Design – A more detailed look at the production design of the film’s sets and locations.
- The Mysterious Sasquash – The background “easter egg” character is revealed, as VFX Supervisor Peter Travels points out the character’s appearances and discusses his backstory.
- Music Video – The music video for Cody Simpson’s “La Da Dee”
- Making of the “La Da Dee” Music Video – A very brief behind-the-scenes look at the making of the music video.
Though maybe not as gut-bustingly funny as the first film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 maintains the series’ signature sense of humor and adds an adorable palette of new characters and visuals to keep things fun and entertaining. Moreover, the Blu-ray disc is filled to the brim with worthwhile extras covering every angle of the movie’s production and adding even more Cloudy goodness by way of some delightful 2D-animated short films. If you enjoyed the first movie, you’ll more than likely find Cloudy 2 to be a delight.
Film Grade: B+
Blu-ray Grade: A