Dir: Cody Cameron & Kris Pearn
Duration: 95 minutes
After the runaway success of ‘Despicable Me 2’ earlier this summer, along with a whole swathe of other successful follow-up films in recent years, the sequel is not quite the dirty term it once was. With this in mind, there is not so much apprehension or trepidation when approaching this Sony Pictures Animation extension upon their pun-tastic 2009 offering. However, it is fair to point out the obvious and say that the first ‘Cloudy’ was incontestably shy of the top-drawer; neither exceptional nor at the abysmal depths trodden by some of animation’s other calamitous features (say hello, ‘Home on the Range’, ‘Top Cat, and ‘Open Season’ and many more besides).
This time around, bumbling rookie scientist, Flint Lockwood, is at long last recognised by the scientific community and his hero, Chester V, who arrives to secure his services for his company Live Corp. Flattered and eager, Flint gets to work at the impressive offices, trying his utmost to be acknowledged and welcomed into the esteemed echelons of the senior band of employees and visionaries. Unable to break through, he nevertheless finds his help is soon required by Chester V when news arrives that his infamous invention (the one which converted water into food) has created food/animal hybrids (‘foodimals!’) and he must return alone (or maybe not) to extinguish this machine once and for all.
Where the first film presented itself as a mid-table animation, this does much the same. It is neither outstanding, nor dire. It sits in a pleasant, but also pleasantly forgettable, position. The plot is a checklist of all of the recent tropes in animation. One could sit there ticking off the inherited wisdom and plagiarism from ‘Madagascar’, ‘Ice Age’ etc. There’s a fair bet that the pickles are ‘Cloudy’s’ attempt to recreate the Minions success from the aforementioned ‘Despicable Me’ films. The movie references ‘Jurassic Park’ at length and although there is an imaginative liberty taken with food types and the animals that they represent, the narrative drowns in its seen-it-all-before holler. This is a pity considering there were three screenwriters on this film. Sadly, the jokes also miss more than hit and it is certainly not for want of trying. They just try too hard.
Despite this, there is no denying that Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 is a feast for the eyes. The animation is wonderfully detailed. It is a delectable delight for the senses and a fun 95 minutes. Just don’t expect it to linger long in the memory. In food terms, it’s more of a lite snack than a filling and satisfying meal.