Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2: Revenge Of The Leftovers (2013)

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2Chester V (Will Forte), the childhood hero of one Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), is brought in to head the clean up of Swallow Falls following FLDSMDFR’s destructive food storm. While he attempts to retrieve the machine, Flint is sent to work at Live Corp in San Franjose with Chester V’s assistant, talking ape Barb (Kristen Schaal). When his team runs into trouble, however, Chester asks for Lockwood’s help, and Flint sets sail for Swallow Falls with father Tim (James Caan), girlfriend Sam (Anna Faris), monkey-sidekick Steve (Neil Patrick Harris) and a small group of friends. They arrive to find the island overrun with animals that have — thanks to the now malfunctioning FLDSMDFR — evolved from food.

The first Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs was something of a surprise success when it opened in 2009 and brought in a respectable $243 million worldwide, putting Sony Pictures Animation on the map. Aside from LAIKA’s Coraline, in fact, it was arguably the best animated film of that year, taking the sort of surrealist, quirky humour that works so well in DreamWorks’ Madagascar series to the next level. The sequel, directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn (and executive produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who directed the first film), is even more entertaining, with the foodimals giving the animators and writers the opportunity to go wild, only limited by their imagination.

The film picks up where the first left off, with Swallow Falls buried under a mountain of food, and we’re off: Live Corp and Chester V are introduced, the gang are relocated to San Franjose and Flint is given the tools to churn out another array of bonkers contraptions. Combining call backs (Steve’s descriptive vocalisations; ratbirds) with a new compliment of running gags (Chester V’s wandering hands; a “Party-In-A-Box”) the filmmakers keep up a truly astonishing pace that has our heroes back on home turf before you can say “FLDSMDFR”. Every shot is packed with as many sight gags as pixels, and like its predecessor the film’s full brilliance will not be entirely evident until the third or fourth viewing.

As fun as the Buffaloaves and Hippotatomuses might be, however, the film is not quite as successful in terms of character. While it’s just as funny and just as clever (the scientific disdain for meteorology is a welcome refrain from the more abstract humour) as the original, it isn’t nearly as emotionally satisfying. Sam Sparks has a reduced role, while what were once complex inter-relationships are here largely simplified into Flint’s friends and not Flint’s friends. Flint’s father, easily the franchise’s only normal character, spends most of the movie fishing with a troupe of sentient pickles. He gets less screen-time than a strawberry — easily the franchise’s most irritating character.

There are issues with Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs: Revenge Of The Leftovers, but nothing serious enough to threaten the audience’s enjoyment of what is still one of the most colourful, bizarre and inventive films of the year. It’s been another relatively uninspiring year for the animation genre, and once again Flint Lockwood is on hand to save the day.

4-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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