If you could make any type of food fall from the sky, what would it be?
In “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” — a big screen adaptation of the classic children’s book — the dreary town of Swallow Falls is graced with such an event. Flint Lockwood, an eccentric inventor, creates a machine that turns water into food. Through a series of accidents, Flint’s machine ends up embedded in the clouds and turns the weather into daily food showers. Pancakes, ice cream, pizza, chicken — you name it and it’ll descend from the heavens. Flint’s invention revives Swallow Falls, which becomes the new town of Chew and Swallow. But this blessing in disguise goes haywire and becomes an environmental disaster, so it’s up to Flint to save the day!
Originally, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” was a story about a town with an unusual climate — in this case, food weather conditions. This works out perfectly for the town of Chew and Swallow because breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily.
The animated movie takes many liberties with the story, but it works. It’s visually stunning (think animation from “The Incredibles”) with a bright landscape and realistic setting. The characters are believable thanks to an all-star cast consisting of Bill Hader, Anna Faris and Mr. T. “Cloudy” is more comical than anything, with subtle one-liners leaving the older audience in stitches. And while appealing to the younger audience with its silly characters and eye catching animation, there’s a deeper message about being true to yourself.
Flint Lockwood is the nerd of Swallow Falls; being an inventor of weird contraptions that usually fail he is constantly ridiculed. Yet Flint perseveres until he one day makes his great invention. Love from the townspeople and the mayor follows until disaster strikes. Then he realizes that he must do what is right and stay true to himself even though he might lose the approval of the people. Sam Sparks, the ditzy meteorologist, is also struggling with her true identity; to be a pretty dumbed down newscaster or to be a pony-tailed, glasses wearing, intelligent woman.
The film also comments on two serious issues in the United States: obesity and the environment. Throughout the movie, the mayor of Swallow Falls eats everything that falls out of the sky. He progressively gets bigger and bigger as he eats more and more, to the point where he’s obese and drowns while trying to escape the island.
It’s pretty evident that the message is moderation, even with the machine in the sky. It overloads because of all the excess programming and in turn creates an environmental disaster. Maybe the director is hinting that excessive use of certain technologies is ruining the environment? Think about it.
Creative and funny, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” holds the audience and does justice to the story. It’s a cutesy movie that will appeal to the inner child within most of us.