The first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a surprising animated hit, based on a popular children’s book and both smart and entertaining in its own right. It makes sense that there would be an eventual sequel, as there was a sequel to the book and there are always sequels to successful animated films.
The sequel continues from where the first movie left off, but as with many sequels, it failed to match the creativity and fun of the first one. Don’t get me wrong, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 was a good movie for the kids, but it was an underwhelming effort for everyone else.
The movie starts with a prelude to catch people up on the events of the first movie, and honestly, the fact that they replayed the childhood flashback scene just about verbatim from the first movie seemed like overkill. However, it did catch up anyone who missed the first movie while also introducing a new character called Chester V.
The movie finally kicks off after the giant food from the first movie has destroyed the island and the townspeople are trying to figure out what to do next. Chester V (Will Forte) is a scientific genius, almost like Mister Wizard mixed with Bill Gates. However, instead of being best known for creating IBM, Chester V’s biggest invention was a famous energy bar. He is also who Flint Lockwood admires over anyone else. Chester V arrives on the island of Swallow Falls and says his team is there to clean up and everyone else will be relocated to the big city while they do.
Flint (Bill Hader) and his friends, weather girl Sam (Anna Faris), former bully Chicken Brent (Andy Samberg), cameraman Manny (Benjamin Bratt), Officer Earl Devereaux (Terry Crews), Flint’s dad Tim (James Caan) and Steve the Monkey (Neil Patrick Harris) all try to move on with their lives in the strange big city. Flint chooses to try an internship with Chester V’s corporation, and while there, he is asked by Chester V to head back to Swallow Falls to help find the FLDSMDFR machine for his idol.
Flint takes his friends and dad with him, and when they arrive in Swallow Falls, they find that the food has now mutated into animals. Flint now has to decide if he will help find the FLDSMDFR to shut off the island and get rid of these new food animals or let it go.
Now, don’t get me wrong. When they are on the island, there is a lot to like – especially for the little kids. The problem is that it is not that original. This movie did the exact same thing that The Croods did last year. The Croods took two animals and blended them into one, creating puns. In this case, the filmmakers took a food item and matched it up with an animal for even wittier puns.
There was a cheeseburger spider, a Tacodile Supreme, Flamangos, Watermelophants, Shrimpanzees, and then just living animals like Barry the Strawberry and a family of marshmallows. There are also whales that are submarine sandwiches. That is the type of humor this movie delivers.
With the food animals, it is clear this movie has an obvious message that they are all living things, with families and feelings, and should be allowed to live. It is the anti-hunting message that all animated animal movies have tried to pull off since Bambi’s mother was murdered, and here it is just as obvious.
There is also another obvious lesson that you should always trust your friends and stick with them, even if it causes you to lose out on your dreams. It is the Disney idea (in a Sony film) that your dreams will come true if you remain loyal to yourself, even if they aren’t the dreams you originally envisioned.
The voice acting is great, with both Bill Hader and Anna Faris once again playing well off of each other as the romantic leads. Both Benjamin Bratt and Terry Crews steal most of their scenes and the star of this movie is Steve the Monkey, who is actually much improved on the first movie.
At the end of the day, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is a great movie for little kids. It is colorful, has nice life lessons and some very creative foodimals. However, for adults, this will leave most people disappointed. It just doesn’t match up to the first movie and is a letdown in today’s era of quality animated movies.