‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ rains down success

September 17th, 2009

We all remember the kids book “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” Its images of the giant Jello mold, the man holding an umbrella with his hand outstretched catching meatballs and the giant hamburgers falling from in the sky. 

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a book written by Judi Barrett, is a story every child grows up hearing, seeing and imagining. 

It allows imaginations to run wild with thoughts of food falling from the sky, giant mounds of candy, and ice cream snowball fights. 

Now, thanks to Sony Pictures, the book has come to the silver screen. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” tells the story of Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), an inventor with the dream of becoming famous, who makes a machine which transforms water into food.

As the story develops, we begin to see the dysfunctional and disconnected relationship between Flint and his technophobic dad, Tim (James Caan). His father, who struggles to express his feelings to Flint, works in his sardine shop and doesn’t understand why Flint won’t give up inventing. 

A major overarching theme is the father-son relationship, illustrating the importance of a strong bond between the two, but at times it is overkill. Town cop Earl Devereaux’s (Mr. T), relationship with his son Cal (Bobbie J. Thompson) depict the model father-son relationship. 

Yet, after the first couple of interactions between the two, the audience will understand the message directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are trying to convey. After awhile, the movie becomes repetitive in this aspect and grows weary on the audience. 

An enjoyable film for all ages, it incorporates humor for each age group, from the slapstick absurdity for the younger ones, to the deeper, more intellectual humor for older audiences. 

Flint’s character is developed pretty well throughout the film, and his anti-social skills are clearly seen as his best friend is a monkey named Steve (Neil Patrick Harris). But when he meets weather girl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), we truly begin to see his inability to interact with people. 

The movie could have done a little better showing us each character develop, and at times seemed to only tell us through dialogue. Its failure to do so may have lost the younger audience as there were long absences of action and too much talking. 

Though predicable, the relationship between Sam and Flint was hard to believe as they had very limited interaction up until the end. Understandably, this movie isn’t about their relationship, but the failure to get the audience to buy into their connection could prove costly. 

Through the animation and creativity, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” shows signs of genius. Sony Pictures Animation did a fabulous job creating enticing, detailed visuals of each food that fell from the sky. 

When things start to go wrong in the town, and the food begins to morph, the depictions of the enormous food will make audience members stunned and hungry. 

To enhance the movie even more, the film was screened in 3D. 

In one scene, a giant meatball began to roll towards the audience, and seemed to come right out of the screen.

Overall, this movie does a pretty good job developing the main theme of the book along with transforming it into a digitally remastered work of art.