Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Shit's about to get cloudy!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - 4 out of 5

I’m a huge fan of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I took my niece to the film and found a movie that was charming and almost endlessly amusing. I never stopped laughing throughout the film because it had layers upon layers of jokes and, when it seemed like there wasn’t enough of them, the film threw in a bunch of quick sight gags that, sometimes, I didn’t notice until one of my repeat viewings. The film was just one of those really fun movies that reminded me why it’s so much fun to go to the theaters (although my joy did incite the ire of a very grumpy old man in the theater who told me that the movie wasn’t funny and I shouldn’t be laughing at it…he actually told his grand kids he took to stop laughing as well. True story). Cloudy went on to be my favorite animated movie of all time and I’m prone to occasionally pulling out the DVD and watching it for the ump-teenth time (I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve watched it). I was such a fan of the film I actually took my nieces and nephew trick or treating as Flint Lockwood this last year and occasionally attend various comic conventions dressed as the character.

And yes, I had spray-on shoes.

So, needless to say, I was excited for the sequel.

                                             Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
They look optimistic for a group about to enter an island that
contains living food that has the potential to kill them.
Okay, in the first film, Flint Lockwood’s invention, the FLDSMDFR, that machine turned water into food and made the island of Swallow Falls a tourist destination because of raining food, went insane and nearly destroyed the town. However, Flint (Bill Hader) and his friends stopped the device. After the events of the first film, the town is visited by The Live Corporation, a world renowned company run by Flint’s boyhood hero Chester V (Will Forte). The company sends the entire town of Swallow Falls away while they do the clean up but something is wrong on the island and Chester sends Flint back in order to stop a resurrected FLDSMDFR. Flint teams up with his trusted monkey assistant; Steve (Neil Patrick Harris), his meteorologist girlfriend; Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), his fishing obsessed father; Tim Lockwood (James Caan), Flint’s former bully and now friend; Brent (Andy Samberg), the cameraman with a million talents; Manny (Benjamin Bratt) and the cop with the danger-sensing chest hairs; Earl Devereaux (Terry Crews—replacing Mr. T as the voice of the character), and, together, they journey to the decayed ruins of Swallow Falls only to discover that the island has been overrun by sentient food animals.

                                                                          Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
Sure the strawberry is cute but would you be thinking that if you realized it was
actually a dingleberry?

The reviews have been mixed on this one but I found I enjoyed this one almost to the extent that I enjoyed the first one. The story is fun, the voice acting (again) is just amazing and the humor is fantastic! Yes, a majority of the gags are food-based puns (like naming all the animals after what combination of food and animal they are) but these puns never became grating or annoying—which is strange for puns because usually puns can cause heart attacks and aneurysms in weaker members of the community…even stranger is the fact that some critics are complaining about the puns and most syndicated critics’ writing is based ENTIRELY on creating puns on film titles and stories.

                                                                 Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
Are food/animal combinations suppose to be so nightmare inducing?
Like the first film, Cloudy 2 has some stellar animation going into it. The foodimals look awesome in their design and move very fluidly but what impressed me the most was the backgrounds that were made for the film. The entire island has been taken over by food so the world has been converted into a buffet…only without the steam trays. Swamplands of syrup, coconut milk waterfalls and mountains made of rock candy all make up what used to be the sardine capital of the world and all the locations look amazing. They're colorful and the level of creativity that went into making the landscape into food stuffs is just awesome to take in.

                                                                          Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
What does a watermelon elephant graveyard look like?

Once again, there’s a great cast bringing life to the characters of Cloudy 2. Most of the main cast returns, the only exception being that Mr. T didn’t come back to play the cop in short shorts Earl Devereaux and the man who played, quite possibly, the coolest president ever committed to film came in and took it over. You wouldn’t realize it was Terry Crews as Earl and not Mr. T because he fills the void perfectly.

                                                                          Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
A single tear for the departure of Mr. T.

Bill Hader once again makes Flint Lockwood a touching, slightly na├»ve but brilliant and, most of all, hilarious character that shows further growth as a person as he gets manipulated by a devious individual in his midst and he must learn to show more trust in his friends surrounding him. Sure a part of that is perfectly executed thanks to a well written story that teaches the important of friendship but Hader’s performance only adds to Flint’s development.
                                                                          Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
How many bugs does Flint accidentally swallow on a daily basis?

New additions to the cast not only helped keep the story fresh with new faces but the production also made sure to fill them with talented people. The girl with the most adorable voice in existence comes in to give voice to another primate with a vocal style a little more eloquent than Steve. Kristen Schaal plays Barb, a genetically modified ape created by Live Corp. founder Chester V and, while the character doesn’t get many opportunities to add hilarity to the story, Schaal does a great job at making the character dynamic.

                                                                  Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
The shock is from one of the food animals exposing themselves to the group.
And speaking of Chester V, Will Forte (who provided a voice in the first film and that fact even ends up becoming a sight gag in this one as his previous character tries to force himself into a few scenes and steal the spotlight) brings the inventor to life and when Forte’s voice was combined with the fluid, dance-like movements that animates Chester, the character proves to be a near show-stealer.

                                                                          Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
Yeah, he's stoned on something.

While Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 isn’t as epically tremendous as the first film, I still really, really, really, really, really (one more), really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun in the theater watching it. I honestly could watch a third film based on this series and will definitely be watching this one many more times…most likely right after watching the first one.

                                                                           Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
I have no caption for this.  I just really like Sam's face in this.

In fact, I’m going to go watch the first one again...right now.

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