“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is Witty & Charming Without Pixar

Genres: Kids/Family, Animation and Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hr. 21 min.
Release Date: September 18th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild language. Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by: Christopher Miller, Phil Lord

JJ Rating: A+

Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) is an inventor from childhood on up. He invented things and they worked, just not as he had planned. He wants to make his father Tim Lockwood (James Caan) proud but each invention seemed to only have his father shake his head in misunderstanding. The city becomes lost with the close of a massive business. That is until Flint created a machine that could transform water into food and save the dying city and actually give it life again. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Who didn’t like that book as a child? Reading that book was like reading a childhood fantasy that was either created for those that read it or seemed to come from those that had thought of it before that book ever existed. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs came from that classic book by the same title and it just vibrantly came to life on screen like a food dream.

The animation was partly to blame because of that. It was fantastic. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is, as someone stated in another review, one of the better animated films that did not come from Pixar. As you can see there is a tornado in one of the photos. That is a tornado of spaghetti. I know, how freakin’ cool. The shot is animation paradise. It’s rich in detail, love and fun. That is another thing this movie has in spades: Fun. It also has great slapstick humor and wit. It brings out the child in the viewer and if the viewer is a child they’ll just have fun without having to over think it. School has started again so there is no need to have a cartoon movie heavy in the thinking department. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has that cartoony charm that snags the eyes and keeps the attention. This’ll be one of those films that come out on DVD and people gobble it up and then when it’s shown one Saturday night on some channel a year later, people will watch it even though they have it. It’s that engrossing. Everyone involved from animator to script writer to director to voice actor just totally nailed it.

The voice work was fantastic. Bill Hader did a very good job keeping the right levity and the right excitement and energy. Anna Faris (Sam Sparks a new weather girl) was awesome. Her voice matched the facial expressions of the character so well I totally forgot it was her. Mr. T voiced a father in the film and he was great. His character totally stood out because of his hand gestures and the way he said things. Then there was Steve who was the monkey played by Neil Patrick Harris. He was funny and the monkey was one of the better characters. The entire cast was great. The voices just resonated FUN, FUN, FUN and that was perfect for a movie like this.

The one thing I think kids could get from seeing this film is to NEVER, EVER give up. People might turn their backs on you and people might mock you, but if you believe what you’re doing is right don’t allow others to destroy your dreams. It also shows that fathers tend not to have the same way of showing love like mothers, and as movies should do Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs offers a different perspective on loving a child and how one shows it.

I would like to thank everyone involved in this film’s making for allowing me to feel like a child again, for making me remember this book from so many moons ago and for doing what film is suppose to do: take us away on a trip that we won’t soon forget. I will see that book and I’ll think of the movie just like when I watched the movie I thought of the book. They complement one another and I think that I might be sentimental with this, but I know what fun feels like and for the duration of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs I was having fun and I actually enjoyed an animated feature that was witty and charming without Pixar’s name attached to it. I think that’s something to be thankful for.

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