The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 90 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Starring: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Mr. T, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Neil Patrick Harris, Benjamin Bratt, Will Forte, Lauren Graham
Written for the screen & Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller based upon the book by Jodi Barrett
Music by: Mark Mothersbaugh
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 5, 2010
"Prepare to get served"
When Flint Lockwood’s (Bill Hader) latest contraption accidentally destroys the town square and rockets up into the clouds, he thinks his inventing career is over. Then something amazing happens as delicious cheeseburgers start raining from the sky. His machine actually works! But when people greedily ask for more and more food, the machine starts to run amok, unleashing spaghetti tornadoes and giant meatballs that threaten the world! Now it’s up to Flint, with the help of weather girl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) and Steve, his talking monkey assistant, to find some way to shut down the machine before the world is covered in super-sized meatballs!
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs introduces bumbling and good hearted inventor Flint Lockwood, a predominantly unsuccessful young scientist that lives in the small island town of Swallow Falls where the only thing there is to eat is sardines. After years of coming up with gadgets that seemed to serve no legitimate purpose he finally strikes pay dirt when he invents a device that will manufacture food from water. Unfortunately as Flint’s luck would have it the machine runs amok during testing and not only disrupts the town’s opening day extravaganza dedicating their new theme park but flies up into the sky and vanishes. The next day the sky fills with clouds and it begins to rain cheeseburgers..! The town is thrilled to have this wonderfully abundant and delicious opportunity to eat something other than sardines. That is everyone except Flint’s dad Tim who runs a local sardine bait shop. The local inland news affiliate sent over a young, inexperienced, female news reporter named Sam Sparks to Swallow Falls to cover the opening of the theme park. While that didn’t go so well thanks to Flint her coverage of the raining food goes national. Flint becomes the talk of the town and his ability to control what type of food falls from the sky makes him a hero. He and Sam become friends and find that they have much in common, including a fondness for gadgetry and one another. The demand for differing types of food from the people and the insistence of Mayor Shelbourne for larger and larger quantities places a strain on the orbiting machine and it begins to malfunction. This comes in the form of dropping monstrous sized food and developing a defense system to prevent it from being shut down. When things elevate to disastrous levels that threaten to destroy the world it is up to Flint, Sam and company to save the day.
I openly admit that I am a sucker for well executed animated films. I don’t rush out to see them when released but when they come to home video I look forward to the escapism found in their character driven fantasy worlds. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs is based on a book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett. I wasn’t familiar with it prior to watching this so I really had no perspective or expectations going in. From what I understand this film differs from the book but not in a way that is injurious to the story. There is no denying that this is a formulaic premise that covers all the thematic bases but it still makes for a charming and family friendly film that everyone can enjoy. It isn’t emotionally stirring but it has its tender moments and contains positive messages that are subtly interwoven. There are plenty of laughs, a little romance and an abundance of colorful characters to keep interest high. I liked the multifaceted cast and appreciated each actor’s contribution which seemed to derive the most from their character. I wouldn’t rate it among the best animated feature films I have seen but I must admit that it was an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes.
The rating is for brief mild language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3 mbps.
This is a superlative video presentation that boasts vivacious colors that are rich in saturation and bold in depth. Detail is rendered with aplomb as the video has excellent dimensional quality with crisp texture and fine articulation. Contrast is strong and well balanced so that whites are crisp and colors pop without distortion or loss of detail. Blacks are deep with excellent dynamic and gradational highlights. This is a pristine quality digital transfer that looks stunning. The DTS-HD Master Audio encoding makes excellent use of the entire surround platform and offers detail rich sonic clarity, crystalline dialogue and plenty of authoritative, room filling bass. This mix doesn’t bombard you with constantly aggressive surround sound. It applies it when appropriate and combines discretely placed directional cues with rear channel ambience that fills the listening area nicely. The front and rear sound field’s never collide but work in unison to render the soundtrack with precise imaging and acoustic placement that elevates the experience. Dynamic’s are excellent but not quite up to the level of the best lossless encodings that I have heard. The LFE channel is actively engaged and offers bass response that is extended, punchy and clean. This is a well rounded overall presentation that should satisfy even discerning enthusiasts.
- Splat mode – Interactive in movie feature
- Flint’s food fight game
- Commentary with writers/directors Christopher Miller, Phil Lord, and actor Bill Hader
- (HD) A recipe for success: The making of Cloudy with a chance of meatballs – 10 minutes
- (HD) Key ingredients: The voices of Cloudy with a chance of meatballs – 12 minute featurette
- (HD) 2 Extended scenes
- (HD) 2 early development scene/storyboards
- (HD) 5 progression reel sequences with introduction by visual FX supervisor Rob Bredow
- Miranda Cosgrove’s “ Raining sunshine” – Sing along, music video, behind the scenes of the music video
- (HD) Make it rain food – 30 second PSA for Feeding America
- (HD) Sony BD Previews
- Bonus DVD version of Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
- Digital Copy Code which enables downloading of a standard definition version of the film from a compatible PC to a portable media device
- BD-Live enabled
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs is a cute and clever animated film offering from Sony. It may not be conceptually original but its entertaining elements will strike a chord with kids and adults who enjoy good lighthearted fun built around a meaningful story. Sony has done a superb job in bringing it to Blu-ray Disc as it looks incredible and sounds great. The bonus supplements offer a decent glimpse into the production while including a few extras to keep younger viewers entertained. The inclusion of a digital copy (unfortunately PSP only) and (standard definition) DVD bonus disc allows those capable to take the film on the go. Fans can feel confident in adding this disc to their collection. If you are looking for an entertaining family film I would recommend giving this one a rent on movie night with the kids.
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