Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
The Sony Animation sequel was released in September 2013 and went on to gross over $250 million worldwide. In honor of the DVD release, we checked in with directors Kris Pearn and Cody Cameron to learn how they created their wild and crazy world. To read more, check it out at Studio System News.
The kids who loved the zany humor in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, a digitally animated film version of a children’s book that mused on the hypothetical situation of clouds raining down prepared food on a small town, will probably love the even further heightened zaniness of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. The adults who appreciated the cute romance between the clumsy inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) who created the surreal weather disturbances and the aspiring meteorologist Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), who fell for him, however, may feel a little dissatisfied.
In this sequel, Flint and Sam venture back home for a clean-up assignment. Joining them are some of the last film’s regulars, including Flint's fisherman father (James Caan), Flint's former bully turned pal Brent (Andy Samberg), Sam's steely Guatemalan cameraman Manny (Benjamin Bratt), Flint's "lab assistant" monkey Steve (Neil Patrick Harris), and the town's burly cop Earl (Terry Crews replacing Mr. T). Flint takes the job to impress his science idol Chester V (Will Forte), who is the celebrity CEO of a company called Live Corp that manufactures processed food bars and happens to have a vested interest in the leftovers.
A contrived if familiar front obscures the greed driving Chester's faux-hippy demeanor (he greets people with "Namaste"). Live Corp's headquarters are inspired by the play/work complex of Google and fueled by Steve Jobs-esque pep speeches from the company's leader, who mostly uses holograms of himself to connect socially. Of course something nefarious bubbles below the surface. It's a sly stab at Apple and its purported sweat shops in China that are used to manufacture the iPhones for which the West is so crazy.
However, the mission goes awry when Flint and the gang turn conservationists due to the irresistible cute factor of the food somehow turning into "foodimals" (tacodiles, mosquitoasts, and flamangos, among others). There is something lost without the romance at the heart of the first Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. But there are messages to be had, both overt (don't leave your friends behind while chasing your dreams!) and subtle (don't be distracted by smoke and mirrors into fanatical consumerism!). If it's delivered by a wide-eyed, smiling strawberry named Barry that "jams" itself when startled, so be it.
The film may sometimes feel uneven, as the characters have little room to develop after the first getting-to-know-each-other film, speaking primarily to explain their behavior. But for every shruggable, over-expository explanation of action among the characters, you get a moment in the background like Steve the Monkey struggling with a sparkling, self-lighting birthday candle. It's all about sight gags and puns. (Guess what foodimal inspires the exclamation "There’s a leek in my boat!")
Some might take issue with the replacement of Phil Lord and Chris Miller with upstarts Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn. And don't bother to untangle the writing credits, which pay tribute to the original authors, the first directors, and three other writers. And sure, despite the 3D theatrics, I would not argue that there's something flat about Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. Maybe it's the overly simple design of the "foodimals" at the center of the story or a lack of character dynamic between the group of friends. But, ultimately, this kiddie movie is high-geared for cuteness that will delight those who liked the preposterousness of the first film and want to see the zaniness heightened a notch.
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In 2009, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballsshowed audiences what a messy disaster it can be when food falls from the sky — but do you know what happens when evolution gets thrown into the mix? Grab a fork and get ready to dig in, because we’ve got your first look at the new Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 trailer — and it's got a mouth-watering new twist!
Flint (Bill Hader), Sam (Anna Faris), and the rest of the gang have been called back to Swallow Falls after learning that their infamous machine has been creating a whole new set of problems: terrifyingly tasty food animals!
RELATED: ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ Review
In order to save their new home from being attacked, Flint and his friends have to cross the breakfast bog, brave the food animal jungle, and scale the big rock candy mountain before they can shut down the machine for good. But here’s where it gets appetizing: The brave group needs to avoid snack attacks from culinary creations such as mosquitoasts, shrimpanzees, peanut butter and jelly fish, and the super-sized tacocodile supreme.
Check out the heart-warming and stomach-growling new trailer below to witness all the evolutionary entrees for yourself!
You can catch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 when it hits theaters in September 2013.
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[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures]
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The Amazing Spider-Man would prefer if you didn't call it the fourth Spider-Man movie. See this ain't the Spider-Man your older brother knew from ten years ago — it's a reboot. The latest adventure to feature the comic book webslinger throws three movies worth of established mythology straight out the window swapping the original cast with an ensemble of fresh faces and resetting the franchise with a spiffy new origin story. "New" in the loosest sense of the word — the highlights of ASM mainly a sleek new design and spunky reinterpretation of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and gal pal Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) are weighed down by overpowering sense of familiarity. Nearly a beat for beat replica of the 2002 original with some irksome twists of mystery thrown in Amazing Spider-Man fails to evolve its hero or his quarrels. The film has a great sense of cinematic power but little responsibility in making it interesting.
We're first introduced to Peter Parker as a young boy watching as his parents rush out of the house in response to a hidden danger. Mr. and Mrs. Parker leave their son in the care of his Aunt May (Sally Fields) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) who raise him into Andrew Garfield's geeky cool spin on the character. Parker's a science whiz but faces the challenges of every day life — passing classes talking to girls the occasional jock with aggression issues — but all of life's woes are put on hold when the teen discovers a new clue in the mystery behind his parents' disappearance. The discovery of his dad's old briefcase and notes leads Peter to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) a scientist working for mega-conglomerate Oscorp and his Dad's old partner. When they cross paths Connors instantly takes a liking to the wunderkind and loops him into the work he started with his father: replicating the regeneration abilities of lizards in amputee humans (Connors is driven to reform his own missing arm). But when Parker wanders into Oscorp's room full of spiders (a sloppily explained this-needs-to-be-here-for-this-to-happen device) he receives his legendary spider bite that transforms him into the hero we know.
Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) desperately wants Amazing Spider-Man to work as a high school relationship movie but with the burden of massive amounts of plot and mythology to introduce the movie sags under the sheer volume of stuff. Stone turns Parker's object of affection Gwen Stacey into a three-dimensional character. Whenever they happen upon each other an awkward exchange in the hallway a flirtatious back-and-forth in the Oscorp lab (where Stacey is head…intern) or when the two finally begin a romantic relationship the two stars shine. They're vivid characters chopped to bits in the editing room diluted by boring franchise-building plot threads and routine action sequences. Seriously Amazing Spider-Man another mad scientist villain who uses himself as a test subject only to become a monster? And another bridge rescue scene? Amazing Spider-Man desperately wants to disconnect from the original trilogy but it's trapped in an inescapable shadow and does nothing radical to shake things up. Instead it settles for the same old same old while preparing for inevitable sequels instead of investing in its dynamic duo.
There's a sweet spot where the film really hits his stride. After discovering his spider-abilities Peter hits the streets for the first time. He's superhuman but still a headstrong teen full of obnoxious quips and close calls with shiv-wielding thugs. The action is slick small and playful Webb showing us something new by melding his indie sensibilities with big scale action. If only it lasted — the introduction of Ifans reptilian half The Lizard implodes Amazing Spider-Man into incomprehensible blockbuster chaos. A gargantuan beast wreaking havoc around New York City promises King Kong-like escapades for the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man but the lizard man has other plans: to rule the world! Or something. Whatever it takes to get Lizard and Spider-Man fighting on the top of a skyscraper over a doomsday machine — logic be damned.
Amazing Spider-Man peppers its banal foundation with great talent from Denis Leary as Gwen's wickedly funny dad and the police captain hunting down Spider-Man to Fields and Sheen as two loving adults in Peter's life to Garfield and Stone whose chemistry demands a follow-up for the sake of seeing them reunited. But it's all at the cost of putting on the most expensive recreation of all time with new demands imposed by the success Marvel's other properties (except that franchise teasing worked). Amazing Spider-Man introduces too many ideas that go nowhere undermining the actual threat at hand. No one wants to be unfulfilled but that's the overriding difference between the original movie and the update. You need to pay for the sequel to know what the heck is going on in this one.
Columbia Pictures is negotiating with the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs directing duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller to step behind the camera on a big-screen version of 21 Jump Street. Variety reports Jonah Hill will star and executive produce.
Neal Moritz is producing with Stephen J. Cannell.
The film, about a group of baby-faced cops who go undercover at high schools, was written by Mike Bacall, who hatched the story with Hill.
The series ran from 1987-1990.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Based on the beloved children’s book by Judi and Ron Barrett Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs tells the tale of Flint Lockwood an eccentric young inventor who spends his days in a makeshift laboratory building monkey-thought translators spray-on shoes “hair unbalder” serums and other strange creations. Regarded as a troublemaker and a nuisance by the residents of the small town of Swallow Falls Flint dreams of one day making something that will win their respect and earn him a place alongside the Edisons and Da Vincis of the world.
Flint thinks his latest invention a machine that turns ordinary water into gourmet meals at the touch of a button just might do the trick. But his big unveiling goes predictably awry when his machine launches like a rocket through Swallow Falls laying waste to the town square before eventually disappearing into the stratosphere.
Just when it appears that the townsfolk have finally had enough of Flint’s antics salvation arrives in the form of cheeseburgers raining from the sky thrilling the throngs of hungry people below. Success! Flint’s machine actually works — albeit not quite in the manner he originally intended.
WHO’S IN IT?
Lending his voice to the character of Flint is Bill Hader a Saturday Night Live regular who’s appeared in small roles in a ton of high-profile comedies including Tropic Thunder Pineapple Express and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Anna Faris (The House Bunny) co-stars as Sam Sparks a weathergirl whose bubbly on-screen persona masks a keen intellect she’s terrified to reveal — lest she be branded a “nerd” and shunned by the community of shallow talking-head news correspondents.
Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell voices the sleazy manipulative Mayor Shelbourne a wildly ambitious politician who eyes Flint’s invention as his ticket to higher office. James Caan (The Godfather) plays Flint’s well-meaning but emotionally distant father Tim a blue-collar fisherman who can’t find a way to relate to his brainy offspring. And fans of A-Team and Rocky III will instantly recognize the voice of Mr. T as Earl Devereaux the tough-minded town cop whose job is devoted primarily to preventing Flint from inadvertently destroying the town. Rounding out the main cast is Neil Patrick Harris (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) as Flint’s trusted monkey assistant Steve.
The animation of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is truly a joy to behold. With each successive meal that falls from the sky comes a brilliant new array of patterns and colors all of which burst from the screening in dazzling 3-D. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller rightly recognize the visual potential of the source material with its endless variety of colorful food items and serve up a delicious buffet of brilliantly-rendered set pieces.
But the film isn’t just a bundle of digital eye candy. Perhaps most pleasantly surprising about the film is the script’s sharp wit and clever observations which help make the experience enjoyable on a cerebral as well as visceral level.
Lord and Miller who also co-wrote the adapted screenplay did a generally solid job expanding the relatively thin source material for the big screen but the story still feels weak at times. It’s just engaging enough to keep you interested but not quite enough to make a lasting impression.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is something of a culinary rollercoaster. As food first begins to fall from the sky you might find yourself feeling a bit hungry. But as the plot progresses and Flint’s machine starts to spin out of control bombarding the town with every kind of slop imaginable don’t be surprised if your stomach starts to get a little queasy!