I’ll be the first to admit how surprised I was at the quality of this film. As the sequel to 2009’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and with new writers and directors, I was anticipating it to fall flat on its face. I began to make fun of it, calling it ‘2 Cloudy 2 Meatballs.’ I still generally refer to it as that, but it’s now a loving gesture in my mind.
I think this film’s biggest strength is that it’s self-aware. The opening credit to the movie is “A film by a lot of people”. After seeing trailers to this film, I was convinced it would be just a bunch of bad puns aimed at the enjoyment of kids. And only kids. However, everything is delivered with a perfectly placed wink and nod that make the jokes really work. In Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, after the island is evacuated, it is taken over by mutant food beasts. After a hysterical Jurassic Park (1993) rip-off, Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) questions, “How did this even happen?” To which Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) breaks the fourth wall and says (and I’m paraphrasing), “I have no idea. Let’s never talk about it again.” Moments like this where it lets you know not to take anything seriously sets up a wonderful tone that even had me cracking up at some of the puns.
The animation on this film is absolutely brilliant. The attention to detail in creating unique new worlds (and I’m not just referring to the food island) creates a colorful mood and draws you in. The character movements and subtle background details make the film much more enjoyable. I can say that I was never bored watching this movie. Even when the plot slows down, the animation is so enticing it kept me interested the entire time.
Is the plot original? Well, not exactly. It definitely follows the Hollywood formula. You understand what’s going to happen before it happens. However, the magic in this movie isn’t the story, it’s the execution. The tone was spot-on and the animation was amazing. It succeeds where a lot of other kids movies fail – it’s entertaining for all ages (so long as you don’t take yourself too seriously). I couldn’t stop smiling the entire film. Thus far, this is my favorite animated film of the year. 8/10.