Blu-Ray Review: Inspired ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ Given Great Release

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CHICAGO – Watching the inspired “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” again on Blu-ray with the wife, the word she kept using to describe it was “creative”. It’s an appropriate word for a very funny comedy with one of the best voice casts in years, an enjoyable visual aesthetic, a heartwarming message that doesn’t come off over-cooked, and a gorgeously transferred Blu-ray release. It’s a great way to start the HD decade. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Most non-Pixar animation is disposable, interchangeable, and predictable. For every “Coraline” or “Up,” there are a dozen “Planet 51”s. That’s what’s so great about “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” a film that defies all expectations and provides something to like for every member of the family. From my theatrical review:

“Only based on the set-up for Judi & Ron Barret’s beloved children’s book (but fully capturing the spirit of a book designed around food weather), the story opens on the island of Swallow Falls, a dull, gloomy setting known mostly for being hidden under the ‘A’ in Atlantic Ocean on most maps and for its killer sardine industry.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 5th, 2010.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 5th, 2010.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Video

Inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) refuses to give in to his depressing surroundings and works to come up with one great, world-changing invention. Previous attempts include the ill-conceived rat-bird hybrid and a device that translates monkey’s thoughts. It turns out that most monkeys think of only their name and what they want to eat. (In a typically surreal move, the end credits reveal that Neil Patrick Harris voices the monkey Steve even though he has nearly no dialogue other than to express his love for Gummi Bears.)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 5th, 2010.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 5th, 2010.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Video

Flint’s latest device is one that turns water into food. All he wants is a cheeseburger but an incident with power lines, sends his machine into the stratosphere, where there’s more than enough moisture for Big Macs, spaghetti, giant pancakes, and much more. It turns out that Flint still has access to the great computer in the sky. Want steak tomorrow? Talk to Flint and it will fall from the sky.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility and Flint pushes his world-changing invention too much, resulting in some truly twisted weather fronts. The story of Flint and his magical machine thrusts young weathergirl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) into the spotlight and shakes the life of all the island residents including the weight-gaining mayor (Bruce Campbell), tough cop (Mr. T.), former sardine ad star (Andy Samberg), and even Flint’s tough father (James Caan). Clearly, the voice cast of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is made up of talented, clever choices. Hader & Faris are fantastic, making their characters easy to root for and the rest of the ensemble, especially Caan, are pitch-perfect.

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is continuously clever both visually and with some razor-sharp dialogue. Courtesy of writer/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, “Cloudy” accomplishes the feat of giving children something to care about and visuals to ooh and aah at and giving adults laughs that will certainly go over the heads of the little ones sometimes in the same moment. Even the messages of the film - stay true to yourself and your dreams and sometimes it’s okay to be the smartest person in town - aren’t over-played like they are in so many family films.”

As for the Blu-ray release from Sony, it’s visually stunning. The colors of the HD transfer are perfectly mixed with just the right vibrant pop to be gorgeous but not garish. The audio track is similarly without flaw.

Special features include:

# Directors’ Commentary with Bill Hader
# Interactive “Splat” Button (Throw Food at the Screen While You Watch the Movie!)
# A Recipe for Success: The Making of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
# Key Ingredients: The Voices of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
# Flint’s Food Fight Game - Enhanced for Blu-ray
# Extended Scenes
# Early Development Scenes
# Progression Reels with Introductions by Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Bredow
# Interactive “Raining Sunshine” Sing-A-Long
# “Raining Sunshine” Music Video by iCarly’s Miranda Cosgrove
# Behind the Scenes of Miranda Cosgrove’s “Raining Sunshine” Music Video
# Make It Rain Food
# DVD-Rom Link To Exclusive Online Fun

It sounds ridiculous to call “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” the “first great Blu-ray of the decade” considering its release on the first Tuesday of 2010, but I have a feeling it could hold that title in a few month’s time. For families, it’s a must-own. Everyone else should take a look too.

‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ is released by Sony Pictures Home Video and features voice work by Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Mr. T, Bruce Campbell, Andy Samberg, and Neil Patrick Harris. It was written and directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller. It was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 5th, 2010. content director Brian Tallerico

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