Friday, 26 March 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Hmm, I'm not sure how to feel about this film. I've been complaining lately that so many animation films try to target too many audience groups and end up not targeting any, but this film is clearly aware of who it's made for; children.
The humour is mostly physical-, sight- and word gags, that work surprisingly well within this film, and is suited for the bright and colourful design.
The film's lowest moments are actually when the script writers are trying to be smart or do grown-up comedy. Most of the films emotional moments are driven by childish comedy, and it works.

Plot-wise it's very simple, adding a black-and-white villain for really no purpose at all, and the film is really driven more by the animation and gags rather than any real plot. In that way it's very similar to "Meet the Robinson's", Disney's second non-Pixar 3d film.
The film wavers between just being a funny, silly film, and actually trying to take it's plot seriously, and that is it's downfall, especially since most of the actors seem clearly aware that this is a silly, children's film, and do their lines in that style. Neil Patrick Harris is the real shining gem here, even if he only says a few words throughout the film.

As a children's film the moral is also very obvious and in your face, with the usual "being special is good" and "realizing yourself" developments for the main characters. It also includes the overly-used Disney favourite of single dad not being able to communicate with his son and alienating him. I'll give them props for the creative solution though.

As it is it's a good film, but it had potential to be just a really silly, amusing children's film, and it's a bit sad that it fell short by, as all recent (non-Pixar) animations have done, trying to take itself more seriously than its script allows. You're not Pixar, Sony, try to make your own twist on animation instead of trying (unsuccessfully) to copy what has come before. But, based on Sony's previous track record with animation, this is a huge step up (Don't even get me started on "Open season"..), and I'm interested in seeing where they'll go from here.

And now I'll try to wash my brain of the image of feet trapped inside polymer for over 15 years.. Bleergh!

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