The original Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs didn’t need a sequel. It’s a self-contained story that ends on a solid note. However, it made big bucks at the box office and in this climate of a “sell into the ground” attitude when it comes to greenlighting, a new one was inevitable.
Basic story is this: inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) created a machine that turns water into food and accidentally sends it into the stratosphere, causing various food items to fall from the sky, putting his small home island on the map and bringing in some much needed tourist trade. The machine soon starts going wrong, creating dangerously oversized foods that rain on the island causing widespread panic and destruction. At the end of the first film, Flint manages to stop his machine and save his home. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up at the very end of the first film, with Lockwood, new love interest Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) and his family and friends forced to relocate whilst the town is repaired and cleaned up, an operation masterminded by Lockwood’s childhood hero and head of the massive company Live Corp, Chester V (Will Forte). Many months pass and Flint finds himself having to return to the island to shut off his apparently still functioning invention.
Whereas the first film was (loosely) based on a children’s book of the same name, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 decides to tell an original story, focusing on the concept of a living food ecosystem, akin to something like Jurassic Park, but populated by “foodimals”, usually with punning names like “Tacodile” and “Shrimpanzee”. It’s a decent idea and the foodimals are a lot of fun and brilliantly designed (whoever thought up a “Watermelophant” is a genius). The film is incredibly bright and colourful and will definitely keep its target audience happy.
Thing is, to us miserable adults, there isn’t much to go on. Whereas the first film was written and adapted by current box-office kings Phil Lord and Chris Miller, this wasn’t, choosing the writers of duds like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone instead. Lord and Miller have a habit of taking seemingly rubbish ideas and elevating them to be something great. The Lego Movie, Cloudy 1 and 21 Jump Street are so much better than they need to be. Cloudy 2 just doesn’t have the same amount of laughs or heart that the first one did. Despite its fantastic concept of living food and dealing with some pretty big creationist ideas, it feels disappointingly conventional when compared to the original. The scene that highlighted this for me was when the cute, talking strawberry character (nicknamed “Barry”) gets in a mech suit and starts fighting the baddies to 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready For This”- the ’90s eurodance “classic” that has appeared in a hojillion other kiddie films and is hackneyed as anything. Funnily enough, The Lego Movie also used it, but did it better. There’s a real lack of story focus that lets the whole thing down.
It’s not all bad. There are some laughs to be had, but I walked away feeling pretty let down by the whole thing. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is basically the film that the first Cloudy film looked like it was going to be from the trailers- a forgettable, brightly coloured animated fare with cartoon slapstick. It’s decent enough, but a lot more shallow than I had expected. Kids will love it. Adults? Hmm, not so sure.
Animation, fantasy, comedy, family
Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Will Forte, Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Terry Crews, Andy Samberg
Buy Cloudy With A chance Of Meatballs 2: [Blu-ray] or [DVD]