Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
December 19, 2009 by Dennis Amith
The best animated film in 2009 not made by Disney/Pixar. Smart, humorous and fun, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” features solid performances by the talent, beautiful 3D animation, an immersive soundtrack, many special features… this is a magnificent Blu-ray release for the entire family! Highly recommended!
Images courtesy of © 2009 Sony Pictures Animation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs
DURATION: 90 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
RATED: PG (For Brief Mild Language)
COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2010
Based on a book by Judi Barrett, Ron Barrett
Directed by Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Screenplay by Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Executive Producer: Yair Landau
Producer: Pam Marsen
Co-Producer: Lydia Bottegoni, Chris Juen
Animation Executive Producer: Andrea Miloro
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Casting by Mary Hidalgo
Production Design by Justin Thompson
Art Direction by Michael Kurinsky
Featuring the voices of:
Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood
Anna Faris as Sam Sparks
James Caan as Tim Lockwood
Andy Samberg as “Baby” Brent
Bruce Campbell as Mayor Shelbourne
Mr. T as Earl Devereaux
Bobb’e J. Thompson as Cal Devereaux
Benjamin Bratt as Manny
Neil Patrick Harris as Steve
Al Roker as Patrick Patrickson
Lauren Graham as Fran Lockwood
Will Forte as Joe Towne
Max Neuwrith as Young Flint
When Flint Lockwood’s (Bill Hader) latest contraption accidentally destroys the town square and rockets up into the clouds, he thinks his inventing career is over. Then something amazing happens as delicious cheeseburgers start raining from the sky. His machine actually works! But when people greedily ask for more and more food, the machine starts to run amok, unleashing spaghetti tornadoes and giant meatballs that threaten the world! Now it’s up to Flint, with the help of weather girl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) and Steve, his talking monkey assistant, to find some way to shut down the machine before the world is covered in super-sized meatballs!
In 2009, the animated film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” was released in theaters. Adapted from the popular book from 1978 by Judi Barrett and illustrations by Ron Barrett, CWACoM took three years to develop and feature animation by Sony Pictures Animation.
The film adaptation and direction is by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (both are executive producers of the popular CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and also the MTV animated series “Clone High”). Music is by Mark Mothersbaugh (“Fanboys”, “Mama’s Boy”, “Lords of Dogtown”) and the film is produced by Pam Marsden (producer of “Dinosaur” and “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas”).
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” received positive reviews from critics and debuted at #1 in the box office, raking in $180+ million worldwide. Now the film gets its first Blu-ray release and includes the Blu-ray, the DVD and a digital copy (a code is provided to download a digital copy from the PlayStation Network) for those who own a Sony PSP or Playstation 3 System.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” begins with a boy named Flint Lockwood (voice by Bill Hader) who enjoys science and wanted to help kids with his new invention, to create spray-on shoes which seemed like a good idea until it was revealed that he couldn’t take them off.
With inspiration from his mother, Flint would go on to grow up and become a scientist. Flash forward many years later, Flint is a grown up adult and has his own science lab above his parent’s home (his mother is deceased and his father Tim (voice by James Caan) works at the only town’s sardine and tackle shop).
Flint lives in a town called Swallow Falls, a town that has not been doing well since the world have deemed sardines as gross and sardines is what the town is known for exporting. So, the citizens of Swallow Falls have been eating sardines primarily since no one but them are buying it and the town has been restless since.
Flint has tried to create several experiments which have not gone as well as he hoped. Such as the rat birds (creating an actual species of rats with bird wings), a thought translation machine which he has used on his pet monkey Steve (voice by Neil Patrick Harris) in order for them to communicate. But it’s his new experiment that he hopes to change things for the people at Swallow Falls.
Flint has come up with an idea to find a way to convert water molecules and change them to popular foods. He tries at first to turn the molecules to a cheeseburger but he fails due to the machine needing more power.
On the date the mayor of the town, Mayor Shelbourne (voice by Bruce Campbell) is about to unveil a new plan to bring people to Swallow Falls and revitalize its economy, Flint knows that in order to fully test his water molecule converting machine, he needs more power so he attempts to hook it up to power stations.
While Flint works on his project, a woman named Sam Sparks (voice by Anna Faris) gets her chance to become a “temporary” meteorologist and has her first break on television on the day of the mayor’s unveiling.
But Flint’s machine goes haywire and the unveiling of the mayor’s project has gone wrong due to Flint’s machine jetting through the area and being shot into the sky. Even ruining Sam’s first day on the job by smashing her face right on the television camera. Unfortunately, Flint has left parts of the town destroyed and the people of Swallow Falls are upset with him.
While Flint isolates himself at the dock, he and Sam have an exchange in words but suddenly out of nowhere, cheeseburgers start to fall from the sky. Flint’s project has worked and as for Sam, she becomes the meteorologist to show the world of what is happening.
Flint’s experiment is so successful that now the mayor wants him to create more and more types of food in order to generate hype and bring people back to Swallow Falls, especially by renaming the town to “Chewandswallow”.
As Flint enjoys his success and everyone requesting for certain types of food to come from the sky, what Flint doesn’t know is the ramifications of overusing the machine and that is the food becoming larger and larger that it can cause destruction and mayhem. Now, Flint and his friends must destroy the machine immediately.
AUDIO & VIDEO:
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is featured in 1080p High Definition and I know that Pixar and DreamWorks animation gets a lot of attention for their animated work but Sony Pictures Animation has done a remarkable job with this film.
The picture quality on HD is absolutely vibrant and colorful. Water and liquid effects look absolutely terrific and realistic while the detail of the town Swallow Falls during its normal appearance of a seaside town to a town filled with food and sporting different scenery.
In fact, things look absolutely amazing during the second half as we see solid animation being utilized throughout the film. From the outdoor mayhem to the overall details of the various foods (especially when larger) causing destruction around the town area, it looks absolutely great. Awesome picture quality for this Blu-ray release.
As for the accompanying DVD, the DVD is featured in 16×9 Full Screen (1:78:1) and also anamorphic widescreen (2:35:1).
As for audio, the Blu-ray is featured in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Spanish 5.1. Dialogue is clear and understandable through the front and center channel, music definitely sets the mood as it plays from the front channels but good use of special effects such as the clouds rumbling, the sound of thunder, flying vehicles flying through the clouds through the surround channels. Good use of LFE for nice low rumbles coming from the subwoofer.
Fans of the film will enjoy the immersive soundtrack from this film as there is very good use of the various channels throughout the film, especially during the film’s latter half.
The accompanying DVD is presented in English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.
Subtitles are featured in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” features special features in High Definition and Standard Definition. Audio is in English stereo and subtitles are in Spanish:
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is an enjoyable family film. The children will love it and even the adults. The film is well-written and Sony Pictures Animation really went all out in making sure this film looks visually appealing. Artistically, the animation and artistic backgrounds are just spectacular.
As mentioned before, there is so much positive press for Pixar films and also DreamWorks animated films but Sony really pulled off an awesome 3D animated film with “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”. Definitely a unique presentation in terms of characters but it’s just the overall look of the film with its vibrant colors and look that gives a fresh feel for this film.
And on HD, the film looks and sounds incredible. There are a good number of interactive special features and with the Blu-ray coming with the DVD and a digital copy of the film, that’s another plus as well.
It’s important to note that “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is not just visual and audio eye candy, the film features a solid performance by the voice talent and most of all, a solid screenplay that remains faithful to the popular book. A lot of humor (safe for children) and for the most part, a fantastic family film that both children and adults will enjoy.
This is possibly the best animated film not made by Disney/Pixar and if anything, Sony Pictures Animation did a wonderful job and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what film they will be animating next because what they did for “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” looks magnificent.
Overall, this is a solid Blu-ray release that is just worth having in your collection and a release that is great for the entire family. Highly recommended!
NOTE: Sony announced that in conjunction with the release of their 3D hardware, they will be releasing a 3D version of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” on Blu-ray sometime in 2010.
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