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Bright with a Chance of Excellence

  • Sep 8, 2010

While I can’t say I’ve actually ever encountered Judi and Ron Barrett's 1978 children's book that inspired this film, I can attest to the fact that this CG-animated masterpiece hits all the right notes when it comes to competing in the arena established by companies like Pixar and DreamWorks.


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is set on the island of Swallow Falls, a small community with an economy fueled by the sardine industry.  In isolation from the outside world, the now economically depressed island struggles to stay afloat, and finds themselves relying on the only thing they have (sardines) to survive.

Inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), along with his talking monkey colleague Steve (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris) hope to change the sardine-based world around them with an invention unlike any the world has known: a nanotechnology converter capable of rearranging water molecules into any kind of food imaginable.

A first for poor Flint, this device actually seems to work.  The trouble is that when it accidentally gets rocketed into the stratosphere in the presence of former nerd turned news-reporter hottie Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris), the very weather itself is suddenly quite unstable!

Before long everything from burger and hot dogs drizzle to pancake downpours and ice cream snowstorms begin to make their way from the rolling purple clouds. Flint goes from outcast to local hero in one fell swoop, but the fame pales in comparison to all he really seeks: the respect of his gruff tackle shop owning, unibrow sporting dad (James Caan).

The film works on just about every conceivable level: Fantastic visuals with unrivaled lighting effects mean the kiddies will be glued to the flat screen, an intelligent screenplay by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller that offers exceptional humor that even adults can enjoy, and a cast that never misses a beat (Bruce Campbell as Mayor Shelbourne, Mr. T as Officer Deveraux, and “Baby" Brent done by the infectious Andy Samberg), you come away with a project that gives absolutely nothing up to Pixar or DreamWorks.

Pacing is quite brisk, even for a movie primarily targeted at children and wastes very little time setting things up.  Best of all it manages to do something all animated features aspire toward but few achieve: It establishes characters that are easy to care about!

Couple this to the fact that there are lessons scattered about on many levels that will reveal themselves as the viewer matures mentally and the lasting appeal of having this one in your collection becomes clear.

I was able to enjoy this one in a room full of individuals ranging from preschool age to retirement and just about all intervals in between and can attest to the fact that all involved were intensely connected and frequently laughed out loud at the various levels of humor contained within.

In all, this is a highly recommended animated feature that literally offers up something for nearly everyone.  Sony Imageworks has yet to establish a presence that threatens the big boys of the industry but Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is certainly not to blame for that reality.  In fact, I could go as far as to say that it does an incredible job at narrowing the gap.

Bright with a Chance of Excellence Bright with a Chance of Excellence Bright with a Chance of Excellence Bright with a Chance of Excellence

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September 08, 2010
Yeah I loved this one as well, and of course Bruce is always the man. Also I love your title for this.
September 08, 2010
This was a sleeper hit for me. I dunno, I know the story wasn't inventive, the screenplay wasn't exactly intricate and the book was way better, but the energy, the humor and the FOOD got me to really enjoy this! Nice review! You even liked it more than I did!
September 08, 2010
The stars aligned for me on this. I was feeling everything about it but wow your comment about the book being better has me itching to check it out now for sure! Thanks buddy.
September 08, 2010
ice cream winter made me give the movie a 4 star rating...that was awesome!!
More Cloudy With a Chance of Meatba... reviews
review by . January 08, 2010
Pixar is the modern equivalent of the sweet artistry of Walt Disney's best
   Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s adaptation of Judi and Ron Barrett’s 1978 children’s book is as subtle as a giant pancake crushing a house. It's always a challenge to take a well loved story and adapt it to film. Often it involves cutting much of the story to make the film a manageable length. Fans of books often react negatively to such changes. Without the exposure of the book, the family and I went into this film with an open mine.   In the movie, it starts …
review by . January 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Perfect
   I’ve often said that American animation studios have always stuck to the usual formulas that I feel that they offer little to no surprises to the experienced movie watcher. They do provide great entertainment for people of all ages though and Phil Lord’s and Christopher Miller’s “CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS” is one good example. Sure the film follows the usual formula of ‘finding oneself’ and ‘standing up for yourself’, …
review by . February 01, 2010
This Has Hidden Messages Of Looting And Police Abuse.
   Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. What started out to be a funny was still a funny one at the end but apparently someone forgot to tell the producers that we were trying not to give our children any ideas about what to do during a disaster or when they are dealing with cops. I really do not think that in the book about this movie they do not shot looting and cops beating civilians. The kids that watched this show I am sure that they did not notice …
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I am not a little kid and I generally do not enjoy cheesy kid movies, but this was definitely entertaining. The animation was fantastic, especially the fish bowl and Mr. T's portrayal as a super-dad was great.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A surprisingly fun ride that truly brings the classic tale to life. Mr. T as the cop is quite funny.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I was very hungry after this film. Its very cute and action packed
Quick Tip by . February 13, 2010
a hilarious movie, me and my mate went in 20 minutes late to the movie, and shat ourselves laughing in the isle.
Quick Tip by . February 01, 2010
Watch out for all of the underlying meanings.
review by . September 21, 2009
Title: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs   Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller    Staring: Bill Hadar, Anna Farris    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1    Studio: Sony Pictures    Genre(s): Comedy    Rated:         (For brief mild language)   Buy From Soundtrack / Video Game (XBox 360) / Video Game (PS3) / Video Game (PSP) / Video Game (Wii) / Video Game (Nintendo DS) / Video Game (PC) / Novel / Poster …
About the reviewer

Ranked #10
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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About this movie


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 2009 computer-animated film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and distributed by Columbia Pictures, was released on September 18, 2009, and is loosely based on the children's book of the same name by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett.

The film features the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Andy Samberg, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, and Will Forte. It was written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who both are best known for the animated TV series Clone High.

The film is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is shown in 3D in select theaters using RealD Cinema, Dolby 3D and IMAX 3D systems.
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Genre: Family
Release Date: September 18, 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated

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