Review: It’s Raining Meatballs – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

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It’s Raining Meatballs – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Directed by: Phil Lord, Chris Miller | 90 minutes | animation, family | Dutch voice cast: Peter Van de Veire, Alex Agnew, Koen de Graeve, Carry Goossens, Do | Original voice cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, Will Forte, Max Neuwirth, Peter Siragusa, Angela Shelton

Young Flint Lockwood is an inventor of nothing. At least, that’s what his environment thinks. Flint himself is convinced that he will make a name for himself with a special invention. So far he has had little success. Spray-on shoes are useless if you can’t take them off again… The solution, however, seems close. The island where Flint lives, in the Atlantic Ocean, has relied on catching, canning and exporting sardines since time immemorial. But the fishing this year is disappointing and actually the islanders have had it with the fish. Always the same food on the menu, that gets boring. Sensing his chance, Flint designs a machine that can convert water into food. Burgers, hot dogs, soft serve ice cream – whatever. As is often the case, when trying out the device, things immediately go wrong. An unfortunate set of circumstances causes the machine to be catapulted. It shoots into space. Flint drops off with his tail between his legs, but not much later it turns out that his invention does indeed work!

‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ (2009), exclusively released in the Netherlands in the Dutch version under the name ‘Het regent meatballs’, is a product from Sony Pictures Animation. The success of the Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks animated films also inspired Sony to set up a department specializing in computer animation. That happened in 2002. The most famous titles that Sony Pictures Animation has launched since then are ‘Open Season’ (‘Boss in own forest’, 2006), ‘Monster House’ (2006) and ‘Surf’s Up’ (2007). With ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ – the first in the series to be released in 3D – the studio surpasses itself. Not only are the funny animations very successful, the film also deserves praise for its originality. This is largely due to Judi and Ron Barrett, who released the picture book of the same name in 1978, which became extremely popular among American and British children. All you have to do is get a failed inventor to invent a machine that makes it rain meatballs, spaghetti bolognese and giant steaks! Sony Pictures Animation took the story and turned it into a crazy family comedy.

Debut directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller hit the nail on the head with their colorful animated film full of action, suspense and adventure. They also know how to deepen the story by incorporating a complex father-son relationship, which is perhaps not original in itself (ambitious son who has to compete with the disapproving father, who would rather see – literally! – that his boy join him). the shop comes to work), but is elaborated in a fun, quirky way. As if young Flint hasn’t had enough to worry about, charming weather forecaster Sam Sparks also drops by to analyze the bizarre weather on the island and turn the head of the young inventor responsible for it. Lord and Miller let the romance blossom in a gigantic castle made of… slippery yellow jelly pudding! Successful side characters include a hyperactive cop, the power-hungry mayor, Flint’s sidekick Steve (a mustache-fixed monkey), and a Guatemalan jack-of-all-trades who can see just above the edge of the screen.

What ‘Cloudy’ mainly excels at, however, are the jokes. A barrage of humorous situations is unleashed on the viewer. The jokes come in all shapes and sizes: visually (both subtly in the background and in your face) and verbally. In addition, there are the necessary running gags (the failed previous inventions of Flint regularly appear) and there are also inventive references to other films (disaster films are hilariously ridiculed). The variety and layering of jokes make this film very entertaining for both children and adults. Of course, the necessary moralistic messages are not lacking – excess is harmful, the importance of good communication with the people you love – but with the same ease these are brought down again with a good joke. Absurdity reigns supreme in this crazy, colorful and hilarious spectacle. Don’t blink too often, because then you will undoubtedly miss a good joke. ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ is an uninhibited culinary party for young and old!

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