“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” Doesn’t Disappoint

by Noelle Brandmier

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written my first entry. Sorry! I could have written a whole essay about how wonderful Ponyo was, but some how I got caught up with the closing of summer and the beginning of the school year.

The animation line-up for the year is looking good, especially with Disney’s first 2D film in five years, The Princess and the Frog. There are a few films being released this year whose origins can be found in children’s books, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  

Everybody and their brother is beyond excited for Where the Wild Things Are, whether it’s because of the beloved book, the exciting visuals from the film, or the fact that they paired a great Arcade Fire song with the theatrical trailer. And although I’m slightly confused by the clunky, old-fashioned stop-motion style of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, I’m generally anticipating that film with excited intrigue as well.

Anyway, today I finally got to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I was a little nervous, since there have been a couple of animated 3D films which looked hilarious but were a let down (Monsters vs. Aliens for one). I’d like to use the word “awesome” to describe Cloudy (go see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about). The style of the film is supposed to resemble the old UPA animations and also The Muppets. What a great combination for character design! The wavy limbs of the characters as well as the main character’s father’s mustache and uni-brow are wonderfully Muppet-like. And the shapes used to build and create the characters in the film are great tools to borrow from UPA.

I went with a big group of friends, most of whom were animators, and we were all laughing loudly for a majority of the film. I have a weakness for crying when things are extremely adorable, and I was tearing up at the beginning of the film. The film is jam-packed with puns and jokes of every kind. It has a lot of silly visuals, including quite a number of shots where something quite obviously doesn’t make sense. But it uses the “nonsensical” element to its advantage in a perfect manner and creates massive amounts of humor.

The number of overly dramatic shots is also a great source of laughs. I was able to connect with every character in the film except for Brent, the “popular guy” with the upper hand on Flint, the nerdy main character. Brent (in my opinion) had too big of a part towards the end of the film and his character didn’t really learn anything, he just became dumber. I believe he was meant to be a comic relief as we enter the climax of the film, but Sam and Flint do just fine keeping the humor and laughs rolling on their own. Yup, Brent was my only beef with the film, so to speak.

Even the credits were wonderful, switching over to 2D to show colorful and picturesque epilogue scenes as the trend with a lot of current 3D films seems to be. The designers also must have had a thing for rainbows, since they popped in whenever possible: a rainbow title, rainbow-sparkled spray-on shoes, a huge rainbow of candy, and a credit sequence spilling over with rainbows. Due to my severe love of all things colorful (especially rainbows), this obviously went over well with me.

In conclusion, go see it. It’s a great laugh and full of eye candy. I hope you’ll enjoy yourself as much as I did. Next up, the Ottawa International Animation Festival!