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Laramie Movie Scope:
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Junk food falls from the sky

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 21, 2009 -- The new 3D animation from Sony, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” ranks up there with “Coraline” in its clever use of 3D animation, better in that regard than Oscar favorite “Up,” which looks about the same in 2D as it does in 3D. The visuals are colorful and imaginative, the characters are interesting, the story, not so much so.

The film's main character is a scientist named Flint Lockwood who lives on an island where the economy has fallen on hard times with the crash of the fishing industry. Lockwood's father, Tim, runs a bait shop and disapproves of his son's experiments. The island's mayor calls in a favor to get network TV coverage of the unveiling of a theme park to attract tourists. A young woman weather station intern, Sam Sparks, gets the assignment. At the unveiling, one of Flint's experiments goes awry, causing massive destruction at the theme park. As a side effect, however, food starts falling from the sky. Suddenly, Sam Sparks has a real story and Flint becomes the town's hero by providing food and a reason for tourists to visit.

Of course something goes wrong with Flint's experiment and he must undertake a daring mission to save the world from a deluge of weirdly mutating food. Along the way, there are subplots involving a romance between Flint and Sam and the strained relationship between Flint and his father. Another subplot involves the mayor's increasingly erratic and dangerous behavior, not to mention his alarming weight gain. There are several wild scenes in the movie, including a spaghetti tornado and a thunderstorm composed of mutated food, including kung-fu chicken breasts. One of the funnier scenes has giant corn on the cob rolling along the Great Wall of China, and a fortune cookie that is eerily accurate.

Of course this film could be viewed as a commentary about junk food, overeating, obesity and the dangers of genetically-modified food. However, there seems to be even less point in deconstructing this happy-go-lucky film than any other. It is designed for laughs and not much more. There is also another slim moral to the story about being yourself and not conforming to society's norms. There is an even deeper hidden moral throwing away food while half the world doesn't have enough of it. While the story is clumsy, the visuals and the nice characterizations carry the movie along well enough. The film makes very effective use of 3D effects. This film is uneven, but it has enough effective humor, good characters and nice 3D animation to make an entertaining movie. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2009 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)