Articles

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2010

ARTICLE INDEX

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-january-2010-cloudy210

Synopsis

Hapless inventor Flint Lockwood (Hader) is bitten by the science bug as a child and what follows is one failed invention after another.  Finally he builds a machine designed to turn water into food and when it accidentally flies up into the clouds, a storm of cheeseburgers is the result.  After he creates an uplink to communicate with the machine, the orders start pouring in.  Soon food of every kind is raining down to order and the townspeople are happier than ever.  Of course the bliss doesn’t last and soon a major food disaster is brewing (cooking?).  With the help of perky reporter Sam Sparks (Faris), Flint meets the challenge with relish as he fights to save the world from spaghetti tornados and meatballs the size of blimps.

Specifications

  • Columbia Pictures
  • 2009, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 30 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not listed
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg
  • Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

This movie was 90 minutes of non-stop fun and laughs.  The gags and jokes flow without interruption.  There are plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle references to other science fiction films.  Some of the humor nearly had me in tears from laughing so hard.  The film moves along at a frenetic pace and there is nary a dull moment.  Two of my favorite characters were Flint’s father, voiced by James Caan, and the town cop, Earl Devereaux, voiced by the indomitable Mr. T.  Flint’s father is a hard-working guy who takes the uni-brow to a whole new level.  You know his emotions are intensifying when you actually see his eyes!  Mr. T’s portrayal of Earl the Cop is simply riotous.   He bounces around the screen as though he were on permanent afterburners.  Flint and reporter Sam Sparks are perfect as geeks trying to fit into a world that doesn’t understand them.  I have only one word of warning:  do not watch this film on an empty stomach!  Seeing comfort food raining down from the sky made me glad I was eating pizza as I viewed it.  Even though it’s CGI food, it will make you hungry!

Technical

The picture is exemplary of course as this film has never passed through a camera lens.  For a 100 percent digital experience, I even watched it on my plasma TV.  Texture and detail is not up to the high standard set by Pixar but this is not the fault of the disc.  I’m sure every bit and byte the animators created wound up on this Blu-ray.  Color is very saturated and vivid with every mouth-watering element rendered beautifully.  Characters facial expressions come across clearly in every scene.

Audio was the only slightly weak aspect of this movie.  My chief complaint was dialog was recessed from the rest of the sound track.  I had to turn up the volume quite high to hear voices which made other sound effects too loud.  The sound track in general lacked good balance.  When the material called for big thunderous effects, I thought it came up short.  The use of LFE and surrounds was sparing at best.  Still, the audio was clear and detailed in its DTS HD Master Audio format.

Extras

There is a cornucopia of bonus features on this release.  Besides multiple making-of featurettes, there are interactive games, extended/deleted scenes and commentary from directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and principal actor Bill Hader.  The package also includes a DVD transfer and a digital copy of the film for your computer or portable device.