You know how some food is even better the next day? Well, in the case of Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2, these leftovers are better left untouched.
Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2 continues the story of Flint, the eccentric genius scientist. The story picks up right where the first film left off, but it turns out that not all is well: the FLDSMDFR (a machine that turned water into food) didn’t get fully destroyed, but actually landed back on his home town of Shadow Falls. He and his friends are forced to evacuate the town so that the world famous scientist, Chester V, can clean up the mess the FLDSMDFR food storm caused. Chester V offers Flint a job at his company The Live Corp Company and sends him back to Shadow Falls to help with the storm clean up. Once he and his friends get there, he realizes that things have gotten way out of control and that the town has now been inhabited by food animals.
I hadn’t seen the original Cloudy film, but luckily, I didn’t need to. Within the first few minutes, the movie did a great job of quickly recapping the first film and getting everyone up to speed. That being said, I still wasn’t able to get into this movie and I don’t think it had anything to do with the fact that I hadn’t seen the first one. I just wasn’t engaged as I watched it and it seemed I was always looking at my watch. The story was predictable and not suspenseful, especially since within the first five minutes they reveal who the villain is. The jokes weren’t that funny and resorted many times to potty humor, which is typical in many animated films. For example, Steve the Monkey’s “brown crayon” was definitely a hit with the kids.
Now, this film is beautiful eye candy. I loved the vibrant colors that were used in all the character and background designs. My favorite elements were the food animals, which are animals that look like they were constructed of various foods. Each design and name was incredibly clever and witty; animals like shrimpanzee, flamango, mosquitoast, and hippotato are just a few. I was always looking in the background to see if I could find another new food animal and figure out its name before the characters did. I can only imagine how much fun the filmmakers had while brainstorming these ideas.
My favorite characters actually weren’t Flint, Sam and his friends, but rather it was the new characters of Chester V and Barb. Chester V is a world-famous scientist who, to me, is modeled after Steve Jobs. Chester V has the company everyone wants to work for, his company makes products that everyone can’t wait to get their hands on, and is a celebrity in his own right. He’s very zen, motivated, and incredibly smart.
His right-hand ape is Barb, an ape who has been working with him since the beginning. She is relatable, tender and fun. The most exciting parts of the film were when Flint was at The Live Corp Company with Chester V and Barb, rather than during the adventure jungle scenes. And that’s why I think this movie doesn’t quite work: you’re more interested in the secondary storyline than what’s going on in the main plot. On a side note: I also really liked the talking strawberry, Barry. Simple adorable.
As an animation fan, Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs 2 was a disappointment, especially since I had heard such fantastic things about the first one. I wasn’t invested in the characters or story.
However, I do think that kids will enjoy it for the wacky jungle setting, crazy characters and food animals (many of the children I talked to after thought it was awesome and hilarious). I also think fans of the first Cloudy will enjoy this as well. I spoke with some other animation fans and critics outside after the screening and they all LOVED Cloudy 2 and said it was even better than the original. For me though, this movie just wasn’t my cup of tea.