Cloudy with a chance of puns (2!)

maxresdefaultAS MUCH as I would love to fill this review with succulent, juicy and finger-licking good puns, I will save you the constant wincing as you watch as I attempt to crowbar as many terrible food based puns as I can like some kind of food… pun… thing.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 is the sequel to the surprisingly brilliant Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs which is based on a book of the same name. It stars Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood, a brilliant yet accident prone young inventor whose one particular invention – the FLDSMDFR that turns water into food – malfunctions and turns the weather into food until it is stopped by Flint and his friends (voiced by the likes of Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, Mr. T and Neil Patrick Harris).

In the sequel, set precisely eight minutes after the end of the first film, the FLDSMDFR has restarted and is turning water into food based animals – or foodimals – and has turned their hometown into a food jungle. Flint, along with the crew of the previous film, return at the behest of Chester V (a pastiche of Steve Jobs and a childhood hero of Flint’s) to stop the machine.

The first thing that makes an immediate impression is just how resplendent the film is. Just about every single frame of this film is bursting with vibrant colours. From the sumptuous jungle to the pastel tinged Sanfranjose and even the incredibly white and minimalist Live Corp that serves as a pallet cleanser, each scene is fantastic to just watch and enjoy from an artistic standpoint. It’s clear a lot of time and money has been spent on the art style and it shows.

Along with the setting, the foodimals that inhabit the island are all ingeniously designed as the writers combine food and animals in unexpected ways – shrimpanzee, anyone? They’re well-animated fun to watch. The film is generally shown in 3D and it is shockingly understated for an animated children’s film. It does add a sense of depth and scale to the film that you wouldn’t get from watching it in 2D. One questions why, beyond money, it was ever shown in 3D as it doesn’t necessarily enhance the film in a meaningful way.

baseThe same care and quality isn’t reflected in the writing, however. Cloudy 2‘s writing is more targeted towards children and lacks the jokes that both adults and child could enjoy from the previous instalment. However, there are still some hilarious puns, both visual and spoken, such as the names of the various animals (my favourite is the Hippotatomas) although they do begin to wear out their welcome as the film draws to a close.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that the film starts to drag when they attempt to take a swipe at Apple and Google when Chester V is on screen. He is just too wordy and not funny enough to hold my attention for very long. I ended up impatient to get back to the other supporting cast who are still very funny and consistently interesting (Flint’s Dad and his experience with pickles was a particular highlight).

Ultimately, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 is a good film. It is enjoyable throughout, if a bit derivative, and it has a few pacing issues whenever the film attempts to be childishly satirical that needlessly bog down the story. It isn’t as good as the first one but certainly well worth a watch, in 2D or 3D.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 is on at the Commodore Cinema in Aberystwyth.