Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was a surprise success – a movie that on paper sounded too bizarre to find a mass audience, but thanks to wit, immense inventiveness and a clever use of its premise grossed over $240 million around the world. The sequel isn’t quite as good as the first movie, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Following the events of the first film, the island that inventor Flint Lockwood lived on is now covered in the food that his fantastical machine managed to create. As a result Live Corp and its chief, Chester V (who’s Flint hero), agree to step in with promises to clean things up, while giving everyone a home on the mainland in the meantime. Flint is given a job at Live Corp, where he’s always wanted to work.
Back on the island there are problems – the machine that makes food from water is still operating and the living foodimals it creates seem to be evolving. They don’t take to kindly to Live Corp’s clean-up efforts, attacking the teams that are sent in. As a result Chester V decides the best thing to do is send Flint back, along with an electronic key that will shut the machine down.
While he’s meant to go alone, he ends up taking along many of the island residents we met in the first movie. They discover that the foodimals are indeed very aggressive, but the longer they spend on the island the more they realise what’s really going on, and that Chester V may not be the eccentric but nice man he appears to be.
There’s a lot of fun to be had with Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, thanks to a script that has some pretty funny jokes and which skips along with a smile on its face. For the first half it does feel like the whole thing is meandering a little, and it’s tough not to wonder whether the screenwriters were thinking more about what would look cool in 3D rather than how it would ensure the plot was tight.
It’s not as much of an issue as it has been with some other movies though, as even when it’s essentially faffing about it’s still fun to watch. At about the halfway point it kicks back into proper movie mode and finds a stronger narrative drive, which helps push things in a direction that’s entertaining, rather sweet and which by the end should ensure you’ll have a big smile on your face. It does lack the novelty and incredible sense of invention of the first film, but it’s got enough creativity of its own to ensure there’s still plenty of fun for all the family. That’s particularly true of some of the foodimals, some of which are just essentially pointless but amusing puns (such as the shrimpanzees), but many are witty and fully developed characters.
As you’d hope for a CGI movie on Blu-ray, it certainly looks good, with the pin-sharp picture showing off the extremely well thought out world. The audio is also very good, with a noticeably above-average surround mix putting you in the thick of the action.
It’s also great that unlike quite a few other recent family releases, there’s plenty of fun to be had on the special features front. The Blu-ray includes four mini-movies. These add up to 22-minutes of added fun from the Cloudy world, following the lives of various characters (it should be noted though that these cartoons are only partially CG, using normal animation for the most part) and providing a fair amount of fun. There’s also plenty of other bits and pieces, ranging from a filmmakers’ commentary to various interesting behind-the-scenes featurettes and a music video.
If you have a tablet, you can also download a ‘Foodimal Funimal’ App, which allows you to use this second screen to sync up with the movie to offer an extra dose of fun for youngsters.
Overall Verdict: Not quite up to the incredible inventiveness of the first film, but Cloudy 2 is still a funny and entertaining family film, which will make you smile as it meanders through the first half, before becoming a fast-paced and tight adventure in the second.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac