Thursday, 3 December 2009

Cloudy with a Flash of Brilliance

Based on a popular American children's book by Judi and Ron Barrett, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is perhaps one of the more bizarre film titles of 2009. Sony's latest computer animation feature could lead you to believe that it's another tediously formulaic kids flick with the sole purpose of cashing in whilst keeping the little ones quiet for an hour and a half.

Well it's not quite that simple.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is formulaic. You can see the cogs of the story working. You can extrapolate that the nerdy professor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) will get together with the secretly geekier weathergirl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris). You know the protagonist will get his father's approval in the end. And you can't help but anticipate that Flint's invention will only take so much before disaster strikes and choas ensues. But none of this really matters (especially to a 7 year old who is probably to busy wishing it would snow ice cream, and to a 22 year old for that matter!) Because despite its predictability, the film is sophicatedly funny (but still quite silly and non-sensical) whilst bragging an animation style all of its own.

The stylized computer animation of the film lends itself to such a ludicrous and imaginative story and allows itself differentiation to the aforementioned cash-cow CGI animations. These animations have all fallen into the same trap. Sub-standard and churned out on a monthly basis, they attempt to keep up with the effortless style and finesse of the undoubtedly unrivalled animation studios at Pixar. This is a trap that Cloudy manages to avoid. With less resources, time and money other studios expect to recreate something which Pixar have got down to a fine art. So instead of jumping on the bandwagon, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs goes against the grain and comes up with something completely unique. And that is a true recipe for success.

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