Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG)
Directed by: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris & Will Forte
Running time: 95 mins
Flint Lockwood now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V. But he’s forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids.
The first Cloudy movie was something of a dark horse. Based on the 1978 book written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett, it came out of nowhere and was a big success. And deservedly so, it was a fun – but completely ludicrous – concept executed with just the right amount of crazy.
The characters were just zany enough with a wash of realism and romance that they worked. The kids loved it and the adults did too. Not an easy thing to pull off. But does the sequel manage to do the same?
Well yes and no. First the positive. The animation is glorious, by the time the real plot – Flint has to return to his home town which is now basically a jungle where giant living food roams wild (no, really) and try to stop it before it can spread to the rest of the world – the animators are having a ball. The environments are gloriously realised and the creatures range from cute to terrifying with great ease. Indeed, this is basically Jurassic Park: The Lost World only with food. And it works in this respect.
The movie’s pace is great, again, once the real plot kicks in it rarely pauses for breath and Cameron and Penn’s direction is solid, ramping up the tension – well as much as they can in a movie aimed at kids – and delivering enough laughs, and mild scares to keep everyone interested.
But sadly ‘interested’ is as good as it gets. The fact that the sequel is clearly based on, well nothing, and is a concept dreamed up in a movie studio shines through at almost every beat.
These were characters and events we were invested in first time out and the events, while totally insane, were also something we were along with, this time however, much like the Jurassic Park sequel I mentioned earlier, while it’s a fun ride for the most part, it feels empty and ultimately like an exercise in making money.
Based on reactions and early numbers a further sequel may well be likely, but I honestly hope that, while this is fun and passes the brief running time in decent form, the next movie (if it happens) finds the heart and soul again and realises that just because the target audience has a low age, they don’t need t be treated like they have a low IQ too.
Fun, but hollow, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 delivers in spectacle but not soul and while it’s entertaining it’s not something that, like the first movie, will stay with you after you leave the cinema.