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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs(2009)
A scientist tries to solve world hunger only to see things go awry as food falls from the sky in abundance.
For more about Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray release, see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 24, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Andy Samberg
» See full cast & crew
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray Review
'Meatballs' is a gourmet feast for the senses.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 24, 2009
The world needs your originality.
While many live-action films seem a dime a dozen and repetitive to the point of being completely superfluous, there's no shortage of originality in the land of computer animated cinematic marvels. Though Pixar deservedly earns the most respect among those outfits that produce films for this newfound cinematic cash cow, several other studios have ventured forth with their own pictures and franchises to cash in on the digital craze, but not (yet) to the detriment of the genre. Sony's latest foray into the family-friendly but kid-oriented marketplace is the mouth-watering Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, a film loosely based on a book of the same name but with its own identity and centered about but the shell of the original story. This zany but predictable picture is a laugh generator with plenty of heart and spirit; though children will love the jokes and scrumptious visuals, film connoisseurs will appreciate the movie's surprisingly deep characters, nuanced humor, and meaningful plot.
Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) is an inventor of oddball and impractical gadgets, including spray-on shoes that never come off meant to solve the "untied laces" epidemic. His mother encourages his dreams, and years later, Flint is on the verge of a breakthrough: a device that will turn water into any type of food imaginable, a desperately-needed gadget on the small island of Swallow Falls, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (underneath the "A" in "Atlantic," in fact) and where sardines are the only thing available to eat. When it turns out that Flint's device is in need of more power to work, his father Tim (James Caan) instructs his son to give up on his dreams and come to work at his fish store. Undeterred, Flint finds the necessary power but inadvertently launches the food-making device into Earth's atmosphere during the town mayor's (Bruce Campbell) grand unveiling of a new scheme to attract tourists to the dull island. Soon thereafter, a pickle falls from the sky, and then a piece of cheese. No sooner can anyone say "meat patty" do thousands of scrumptious cheeseburgers begin falling from the sky. A weather network intern sent to cover the town's festivities, Sam (Anna Faris), finds herself broadcasting the biggest meteorological story of her life while at the same time falling for fellow "nerd" Flint. It doesn't take long for the mayor to use the falling food to his advantage (and to the detriment of his waistline) in promoting the town as the world's hottest tourist attraction. However, things turn messy, and not from the gallons of hot fudge pouring from the sky; Flint's invention is producing ever-larger food, and as the town quickly comes to realize that too much of any good thing has a net negative impact, it's up to Flint, Sam, and friends to stop the food before it devours the entire planet.
A film made by "a lot of people," Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is as scrumptious as a five-course meal; it's hip and happening with plenty of action and genuine laugh-out-loud humor, all surrounded by a heart that puts plenty of other and more ambitious pictures to shame. Indeed, it's Meatballs' effortless approach that makes it such a winner. Not a picture with lofty goals, the film nevertheless works far better than many others of its kind thanks to a wholly genuine and wholesome approach to its material. It's never pretentious, forced, or preachy. The simple life lessons that revolve around overindulgence and the negative side effects incurred when there's too much of a good thing are well-shrouded underneath layers of fun and originality, gadgets and gizmos, a light romance, well-developed primary characters, plenty of food, and heartfelt drama that's perfectly entwined into the story's humor and larger-than-life visuals. Whether physical comedy and accentuated visual gags or more subtle humor that older audiences may very well find just as appealing as the more obvious fun, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs takes full advantage of its setting, characters, and story, the result a film with nary a dull second intermixed with purposeful drama and sincere father-son moments that just might bring a tear to the eye, and not simply from a stray house-sized onion, either.
From a technical perspective, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is just as impressive as its fun and honest story. The film's animation is top-notch, with characters, locations, and, of course, the food all wonderfully realized and exceptionally detailed. Swallow Falls never once feels artificial but instead organic and real, whether during the early "calm before the storm" moments or in the midst of falling steak, cake, or clam bake. Additionally, each character is wonderfully designed; no two people look alike, and each is given a physical appearance that compliments their personality nicely. Some are tall and lanky, others short and rotund; some have squared and large noses, others but a hint of a sniffer. The digital artists have taken care to design each character with love and attention to detail, each complimented by seamless voice acting that never screams out "actor" but rather meshes from the first syllable to the last with the voice cast's respective characters. Such names and recognizable voices as those belonging to James Caan, Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T are never once easily identifiable in the midst of the movie; that's a compliment to the talent of the actors, the strength of the script, and Meatballs' perfectly-balanced approach that never accentuates anything but the food and smartly places story, purposeful dialogue, heartfelt drama, and plenty of laughs ahead of haphazardly forcing name voices into the movie.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray, Video Quality
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs caters for viewers a satisfying 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer. As expected of a digitally-rendered animation Blu-ray, Meatballs' visuals are nearly perfect, the Blu-ray presentation clean, smooth, colorful, and wonderfully detailed. Though no 3-D option is available for this release, the transfer nevertheless enjoys a strong sense of depth; characters and locations -- from Times Square to overhead shots of Swallow Falls -- are all exceptionally rendered, and most every inch of the transfer feels spacious and deep, with crisp details extending to the edges of the screen. Though not quite as painstakingly detailed as something like Wall●E, the environments seen throughout Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs are nicely realized in every frame. From worn wooden planks to rusty industrial buildings, the film's digital artists have created a handsome environment in which to populate it with plenty of appetizing foods. Indeed, whether the textured outer layers of an ice cream sandwich or seeds on a hamburger bun, this Blu-ray transfer reveals every meticulous detail to perfection. Color reproduction, too, is startling; while not every frame of the film is bright and glossy (some shots can appear downright dark), colors on a sweeping scale are consistently brilliant. The only negative is a hint of banding in a few scenes, but it's hardly a cause for alarm in the midst of everything else that makes Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs a pleasure to behold, particularly on this Blu-ray release.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs cooks up a wonderfully zesty DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This track is finely balanced, and every sound -- from nuanced background ambience to full-fledged and speaker-busting sound effects -- is cleanly and precisely delivered all around the soundstage. Meatballs' soundtrack enjoys a consistent back channel presence; sound effects and music blend seamlessly into the surround speakers to create a satisfying 360-degree sound field that's the perfect compliment to the film's zany story and nicely-rendered visuals. Directional effects are immensely satisfying, too, and the track enjoys a strong sense of space that practically removes the boundaries of the speakers and the listening area and completely engulfs the audience in the mustard-drenched streets of Swallow Falls. The track is kinetic and alive; only some brief scenes lack either aggressive music or a cacophony of sound effects. This is a very active soundtrack, and the DTS mix does it justice in every frame. Also featuring faultless dialogue reproduction, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs makes for yet another reference-quality lossless soundtrack from Sony.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs drops down plenty of extras for this Blu-ray release, all sure to satisfy both younger viewers and audiences interested in the technical handiwork behind the film. First up is a feature-length commentary track with Actor Bill Hader and Writers/Directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord. The track is jovial and fun, with the participants sharing a strong camaraderie as they discuss the arduous work of voiceovers, writing the script, analyzing Mark Mothersbaugh's wonderful score, the technology of the film, and much more. The track is engaging and irresistible; it's as friendly and inviting as the film itself, and fans will definitely want to give this one a listen. Splat Mode! is an interactive supplement that allows users to throw virtual food at the screen during the film. Choices include cherry pie, eggs, whipped cream, and meatballs. Users can wipe the screen clean with a virtual squeegee by pressing the "yellow" button on the remote. Flint's Food Fight Game tasks users with shooting food during a fierce battle with the F.L.D.S.M.D.F.R. The game is reminiscent of Space Invaders.
A Recipe For Success: The Making of 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' (1080p, 10:51) offers a brief overview of the plot, connections to the original book, the voiceover work, the design of the food and the special effects, and more. Key Ingredients: The Voices of 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' (1080p, 12:39) introduces audiences to the actors behind the characters and examines the strengths the primaries brought to the film. Next up are two extended scenes: Elevator Joke (1080p, 0:38) and Twister -- Early Cut With Awesome Food Fight (1080p, 1:59). Early Development Scenes (1080p, 5:47) allow viewers to see two scenes -- Flint's Letter to Super Scientist Vance LeFleur and Early Storyboard Version of Twister -- in a hand-drawn stage. Progression Reels With Introductions By Visual FX Supervisor Rob Bredow is a feature that takes viewers through various elements of the animation process. Included are the following segments: From Conceptual Paintings to Final Renderings: The Evolution of Color (1080p, 1:13), Roofless Restaurant Lighting Technology (1080p, 1:54), Environmental Clouds Surrounding Giant Meatball (1080p, 1:23), Making a Spaghetti Twister (1080p, 2:05), and Food Avalanche Elements (1080p, 1:32). Next is Make it Rain Food (1080p, 0:32), an advertisement for Feeding America. Also included is the Raining Sunshine music video by Miranda Cosgrove (480p, 3:45); a Sing-A-Long version of Raining Sunshine (480p, 3:45); Behind the Scenes of the Music Video (480p, 2:17); and 1080p trailers for Open Season 3, Hachi: A Dog's Take, Planet 51, Open Season, Open Season 2, Surf's Up , Monster House, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, and Daddy Day Camp. A PSP-only digital copy that was unavailable for download at time of publication is to be found on disc one, while disc two of this set houses a standard-definition DVD of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Like the best of the recent wave of digitally-animated pictures, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs appeals to all audiences with its direct and indirect humor; a wonderfully crafted story; appealing characters; and deeper meaning to be found under the hamburgers, ice cream sandwiches, and meatballs. Indeed, Sony's latest animated marvel ranks among the best of its kind and for all the right reasons. There's enough charm, wit, humor, and originality here for two movies, but a double serving of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is just as palatable. Sony's Blu-ray release is as tasty as the movie itself. With a nearly flawless technical presentation and plenty of extras that are but icing on the cake, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is an early favorite to earn a spot on 2010's "best of" Blu-ray list. Highly recommended!
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: Other Editions
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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 - February 27, 2013
Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation have released a trailer for the highly anticipated Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013). Featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Benjamin Bratt, Terry Crews, ...
• Today on Blu-ray - January 5th - January 5, 2010
Some of the best childhood memories often involve sitting down with family or friends to read books filled with fantasy and general nonsense. Hollywood, ever exploring ways to draw in new audiences, has adapted many of these childhood favorites to film, including ...
• Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Tech Specs Announced - November 18, 2009
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced the technical specs for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs', which is scheduled to be released on January 5th. For this computer animated feature, video will be presented in 2.35:1 1080p ...
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