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“Cloudy With an Chance of Meatballs 2″ is a sequel to the first “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, and takes place directly after the first film ends. This film does a decent job of telling the story of the first film in about a minute, but I didn’t like the fact that the films were linked so abruptly. Flint Lockwood is a brilliant inventor and a mad genius, who creates amazing inventions that almost always backfire, such as spray-on shoes, a freeze-ray, and flying rat-birds. The most disastrous of his machines was the FLDSMDFR: a machine that turns water into food. It was exactly the machine that his island town of Swallow Falls needed, until the machine became unstable and started creating monstrous foods such as an army of evil roast turkeys. Flint managed to disable his rogue invention…or did he?
In “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2″, Live Corp, the leading company in the technological frontier, investigates the disappearance of Flint’s machine. Meanwhile, Flint is invited to work for Chester V (his childhood idol who looks similar to Steve Jobs), at Live Corp. Flint and his friends Brent, Manny, Officer Earl, and his girlfriend Sam Sparks are sent back to the island of Swallow Falls to investigate strange occurrences that turn out to be a whole ecosystem of living animals made out of food: “Foodimals”. These animals are found to be extremely dangerous, and looking for a way to get off the island. Flint and his friends have to find the FLDSMDFR while battling pie-thons, cheeseburger spiders, and giant tacodiles.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a more inventive film in my opinion. It contained more imagination than the first film because it is a great idea to have the food come to life and create a whole ecosystem. However, seeing the living fruits and vegetables such as Berry the Strawberry, (a strawberry with huge blue eyes that poops jam), I realized that in the world of this movie, being vegetarian wouldn’t make much sense if the plants were animals. It is very unique how Chester moved in the film. He could squeeze his disproportionate head into a hole the size of his neck (his skull seemingly flexible like a bouncy rubber ball), and has the ability to make his arm move like a wave, as if he has no bones. I also realized that Chester’s appearance and products, such as the Food Bar 8.0, are much like Apple’s technology’s versions (iPad 3, iPhone 5, etc).
A major flaw in this film is that even though this movie is a film for kids (spoiler alert), the later protagonist of the film, Chester V, tried to grind up four humans into a paste as an ingredient for his new nutritional energy bar. This is a gory scene to think about, but I suppose it makes the viewer think about what kinds of harmful stuff major food companies actually put in their commercial foods. The biggest flaw was the characters’ reaction to it all. After nearly falling into a giant meat grinder, an act so traumatizing that even most adults would faint, the characters were totally unfazed and showed no signs of trauma or fear. Directly following their close encounter with death, Flint and his friends proceeded to throw Chester into the grinder, where he somehow survives, and then watched as he was eaten alive by a cheeseburger-spider, spitting out only his orange Live Corp vest.
This is a children’s movie, meant to teach a lesson to the younger generation, yet the villain is offered no chance for redemption, his motives weren’t even questioned. They just killed him on the spot by feeding him to a wild animal. Sometimes I wonder if the film industry is even trying to make a good film these days. I give this movie 2.5 starfish.
Perry Chen is the youngest award-winning film/ entertainment critic & animator, artist, speaker, and entertainment personality. He started writing movie reviews at 8 using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, under the guidance of his mom Dr. Zhu Shen and his 3rd grade teacher Ms. Harris. Perry’s debut on the CBS Evening News in 2009 made him a national sensation. He has been featured extensively on local, national, and international media, including NPR, Fox, CNN, NBC, The Guardian, The China Press, and many more. He has interviewed prominent filmmakers at film festivals, red carpet premieres, and press junkets. He won a prestigious “Excellence in Journalism Award” at the San Diego Press Club in 2010 as its youngest member. Perry currently writes movie reviews for the Animation World Network, San Diego Union Tribune, Amazing Kids! Magazine, and his own Perry’s Previews website with a combined readership of over 2 million worldwide. Perry and his family live in the community of Carmel Valley San Diego.
Dr. Zhu Shen’s love for the movies started when she was a young girl, growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution where watching movies was the only entertainment available to the masses. Her journey to become a filmmaker took a convoluted path. She studied medicine at Peking Union Medical College before coming to the US and earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Colorado, and then an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson School. She is a producer of the upcoming documentary feature “Average Joe on the Raw,” about journey into raw food and health. Dr. Shen is also an award-winning biotech executive, author, speaker, China business expert featured on national and trade media including CBS, Fox, Business Week, Pharmaceutical Executive, and more. She has worked at IBM, Bayer, Chiron, Immusol, and is the CEO of BioForesight, consulting on cross-Pacific life science business. *Photos of Perry Chen and Zhu Shen by Brian Bostrom.