Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 09/27/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 09/27/2013 8:57 AM | Updates
The Herculean task of any sequel is repeating the experience of the original film, or improving on it. That's nigh on impossible due to the simple fact that you only get to take the viewing public utterly by surprise once.
The out-of-nowhere novelty and delight of Sony Animation's Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, based on Judi and Ron Barrett's children's book, is missing in Meatballs 2. The design and colour palette is as glorious as ever. But the laughs are few and innovations fewer in this generally winded knock-off.
Inventor Flint Lockwood's cuisine-creating weather machine has come to the attention of his idol, corporate scientist and TV science-show host Chester V (Will Forte), who worries that the island of Swallow Falls is too dangerous to live on -- for now. The gadget is producing food animals -- predators, Taco-diles and Cheese(burger) Spiders, Su-sheep and Shrimpanzees.
So Chester convinces the town to evacuate and Flint (Bill Hader) to join Chester V's Think-quanauts, scientists who work in Chester V's invention factory. Eventually, Flint is commissioned to go back and turn off his errant weather-food machine, and his pals Sam Sparks the meteorologist (Anna Faris), her camera operator / scientist Manny (Benjamin Bratt), former baby model Brent (Andy Samberg), hyperactive cop Earl (Terry Crews, replacing Mr. T.) and Flint's sardine-fisherman dad (James Caan, replacing James Gandolfini) venture back there to brave an ecosystem of living food. Swallow Falls is a Jurassic Park of Bananostriches, Water Mellaphants and the like.
Hats off to production designer Justin Thompson and art director David Bleich, who conjure up a scary Tacodile Supreme and a syrup bog of slow-motion chases through the sticky stuff, where the dead swamp trees are actually strips of bacon.
The script is another collection of food puns -- Oh no! We're toast! FRENCH toast! There's a LEEK in the boat! (cut to screaming onion-like vegetable).
The moral lessons, about science making the world a better place (or creating mayhem) and accepting that your children will not always emulate you or live up to your expectations, are muddier. There's a villain rather than a runaway technology to battle here. And the villain is bland as oatmeal without the raisins.
It's all more cynical than silly, the sort of movie you get when the corporate desire for a sequel precedes the creative team's great idea for a sequel. Which, in this case, they didn't have.
-- McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 27, 2013 D4
Updated on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8:57 AM CDT: adds video
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Review: A twist on the man-child romp in 'Laggies'
Actress Daniele Watts charged with lewd conduct
Police contacted actress before she was found dead
'Birdman' director flies through fear
Paul Gross among Screenie honourees
Cost of making 'Hobbit' movies up to $745 million
'Fury' defeats 'Gone Girl' in box-office battle
Sale of Joan Fontaine's house to aid animal group
Juliette Binoche on '1,000 Times Good Night'
'Fury' blasts 'Gone Girl' from top of box office
Thicke celebrates his divorce
War movie paints realistic picture of combat
Foreign-language Oscar hope gets local première at film fest
Fans use the Force in sci-fi remake
'Easy Rider' chopper at auction might be phoney
Veteran stuntmen become directors with 'John Wick'
A heartwarming bromance for odd couple in Iceland
CIA cocaine conspiracy compelling
Keanu kills as John Wick
Latest Sparks adaptation doesn't veer from formula
Photos released from film being shot at CFB Shilo
Dazzling animated story turns dark into glorious light
Police: Body found near river could be actress
New film tells Holocaust story of Polanski ally
Polanski opens Paris musical based on Tate film
For Rogen, Hilarity charity is serious business
Review: 'White People' is edgy; has memorable cast
'Modern Family' actress Elizabeth Pena dies at 55
Warner/DC superheroes suiting up for big screen
New on DVD VOD
Web of wonder and woe
Pitt comfortable with oldest son seeing 'Fury'
Neil Patrick Harris says he'll host Oscars in 2015
'Citizen Marc' doc examines the Prince of Pot
Review: Michael Keaton soars in bracing 'Birdman'
William H. Macy on directing 'Rudderless'
College to pay writer $26,000 for rescinded invite