Directed by Phil Lord (um, "Extreme Movie") and Chris Miller ("Shrek the Third"), "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" is an imaginative take on the novel by Judi and Ron Barrett. The picture focuses on Flint (voiced by Bill Hader), a young man whose dream is to become a successful inventor. However, his previous efforts haven't exactly gone over so well - but, he doesn't give up.
Flint lives on a small island where everyone's diet consists entirely of sardines, which - coming from someone who is grossed out by the mere smell of sardines - does not exactly sound like an enjoyable three meals a day.
One day, Flint's main invention - a contraption that turns water into any food one might desire - starts to work. Hamburgers and other various snack foods (oddly, I didn't see anything healthy, but given that this is a children's fantasy, I'm guessing brussels sprouts probably didn't rank highly on the list of things that kids wanted to see falling from the sky) rain from above.
However, there's a problem - much like a buffet in Vegas, the food never stops. Additionally, what at first seems like a sprinkle of goodies starts to turn into an F5 assault, especially when a twister made of spaghetti and meatballs starts to wreak havoc like a Food Channel show crossed with a Roland Emmerich movie. It's up to Flint, local weathergirl Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris) and others to try and stop the tasty destruction.
The film does have a few minor issues - the character models are a bit funky-looking, but the majority of the film is a surprisingly imaginative and inspired take on the story, with some moments that are surprisingly beautiful, such as the twister made of pasta. The animation - done with a new 3D system - delivers impressive clarity and detail. The voice acting is also first-rate, with Heder, Faris, James Caan, Bruce Campbell and others delivering fine efforts.
With mostly great visuals, consistently amusing gags and solid performances, "Cloudy With a Chance" is charming family fare that all ages will likely enjoy.
This edition includes a Blu-Ray copy of the film, a DVD copy of the film and a digital copy of the film.
VIDEO: "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" is presented in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The presentation looks delightful, as the animation is offered with remarkable clarity and detail. Depth to the image was also terrific during many scenes.
Additionally, the image looks silky smooth, with no pixelation, edge enhancement, noise or other concerns. Given that this is likely a direct-from-digital transfer, certainly no print flaws were to be found. Colors looked wonderfully bright, rich and pure, with no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: The DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack certainly was a first-rate effort, with some scenes offering rather aggressive use of the surrounds. While all the flying food certainly offered an enveloping audio experience, the twister sequence is a particular highlight. Audio quality was excellent, as the film offered crisp, well-recorded dialogue and effects.
EXTRAS: Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are joined by actor Bill Hader (who sounds a little like French Stewart) for an audio commentary for the film. The three have a great deal of fun joking about the making of the movie and sharing some stories regarding working with the rest of the cast. The three have an easygoing discussion and really have a great time bouncing ideas and stories off of each other - while relaxed and funny, there's also a lot of good information and insight on the making of the film. This track was a pleasant surprise, as it was consistently engaging and entertaining throughout.
The Blu-ray also offers an interactive "splat" feature, which allows one to throw food at the screen while the movie playing. We also get a short "making of" featurette and another voice actor piece. Finally, deleted scenes, early development scenes, a music video ("Raining Sunshine", by Miranda Cosgrove - we also get an interactive sing-along and "making of" for the video), a food fight interactive game and digital copy (on a separate disc) are included.
Final Thoughts: With mostly great visuals, consistently amusing gags and solid performances, "Cloudy With a Chance" is charming family fare that all ages will likely enjoy. The Blu-Ray certainly delivers in all regards, with great audio/video quality and some very enjoyable supplemental features. Recommended.
The Film B+