18 September 2009 | timeaftrtime
Not only does justice to the book but takes its own sweep of originality and charm
Anyone involved with the elementary school world as at least heard of the Barret classic "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs." As a teacher, I was thrilled to learn it was to be made a movie. As usual, however, that leads to the problem of whether it would stick too much to the book to be entertaining for the screen or a Hollywood catastrophe that steals only the title?
I know it's irritating to read from those book loyalists, but it's only a fair comparison. I felt this movie found a perfect balance of big-screen awesomeness and the charm of the book.
For book enthusiasts, they pretty much had everything right. This film does indeed follow the plot of the book. Entire illustrations are recreated for the movie with stunning nods to Ron Barret's artwork. Then again, one must keep in mind that the book was an extremely general plot. The movie goes into detail, very much into detail, of what was going on in the town.
We have the classic nerd, Flint Lockwood, a lovable and goofy character who embodies the wannabe coolness and social awkwardness and desperation of every social outcast. He's almost painful to watch, but I think it's what makes him so likable--you feel sorry for him. Anywho, in a desperate attempt to prove his worth to his father, he invents a machine that turns water into food. And hence the coming of the trademark weather of Swallow Falls (later renamed to Barrets' Chewandswallow).
Honestly, I was surprised at the plot they got going out of this--while still maintaining the basics of the book. It had an ADHD spirit with wonderfully over-the-top characters. This will probably annoy many a soul, but I thought it a winning combination for those who can put up with it all. Really, you need the heart and mind of a child for this, but if you can summon those up, you will be impressed.
I saw it in the normal format, but I'm sure it was an intense hoot in 3D. That might have been a bit much for me, but I'm sure the kids loved food flying at them. Regardless, the animation was stunning, combining a tribute to Ron Barret's amazing illustrations in background with pleasantly cartoony characters.
This was much better than expected. It was creative, extremely fun, and paid reference to everything from "Independence Day" to "The Twilight Zone". You may need the heart and mind of a child for this, but if you can summon those up, you will be impressed.