MOVIE REVIEW When Science Attacks!

‘Cloudy’ is Fun For All Ages

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Based on the book by Judi and Ron Barrett, screenplay by Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Starring Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan

Rated PG

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Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) lives with his dad on an island whose inhabitants’ sole source of food and income comes from the sardine business. Flint has always had a passion in science and inventing things since childhood. So when the sardine supply vanishes one day and the town is left to go hungry, he comes up with the perfect invention: a machine that will turn water into food.

All of a sudden it’s raining hamburgers, hot dogs, pie — you name it. Flint is hailed as a hero, and people from all over the world come to the island to see (and eat) for themselves. Eggs and bacon for breakfast, pizza and sushi, bagels and donuts falling from the sky — you get the picture. My favorite scene is when it snows ice cream. Kids build snowmen out of vanilla, strawberry, and mint ice cream, have snowball fights, and make snow angels — facedown.

Gradually, the food gets bigger and bigger, until things get out of control and a tornado of spaghetti and meatballs threatens to destroy the island. The only solution is to destroy the machine, which by now is no easy task, as the machine has grown dramatically in size too.

The movie does bring up some serious issues. Flint’s scientific invention is useful at first, but ultimately destructive. There is a view in American culture that science/innovation is harmful, or at least dangerous. This view is reflected widely in literature and cinema. Frankenstein comes to mind. Another issue here is food, or rather too much of it. Especially in America where obesity is such a growing concern, the message of this film is loud and clear.

As far as the animation quality, this is no Pixar. But the over-abundance of animated food is enough to make your mouth water, and I found myself constantly reaching for more popcorn. The movie is available in IMAX 3D format. However, I saw it at a regular theater where Digital 3D was not available. I wish I had seen it in 3D — there’s nothing better than a giant meatball flying out of the screen at you.

Overall, it was a fun movie, great for kids and adults alike.