Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.
--Charles W. Eliot (1834 - 1926), The Happy Life, 1896

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Making a movie based on a picture book is challenging. Making one based on a picture book without a traditional storyline is even more challenging. Most of the time, the movie and the book have barely more than the title in common. The rest has to be "made-up" by the movie-makers, which can be a good thing, like "Shrek" or "Zathura", or not so good, like "Jumanji" or this movie.

The book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a modern children's classic. The "story" has no main characters, and is basically about a town that gets rained on by food, which at first is a good thing but later turns bad. The movie version introduces the characters of Flint Lockwood and wannabe weather girl Sam Sparks. In the book, there is no reason for the unusual weather, it just exists. In the movie, Flint is the creator of the weather. When she comes to report on the town, Flint meets Sam and develops a crush on her. In the end, after some wild action scenes, Flint saves the town and gets the girl. Don't worry, knowing this won't ruin this movie for you.

The style of the animation is very different from the book art. Sometimes a change in art style works well, like in "Horton Hears a Who". In this movie, I was a little unimpressed with the animation. If you are not a fan of the book, you may not be bothered by it.

This movie tried to be funny. The humor is mostly simple silly sight gags, which may make younger kids laugh but is not silly or sophisticated enough for older kids and adults to enjoy very much. A few of the lines made me laugh out loud, but not very often. The writers seemed to try make pop-culture jokes like in the "Shrek" movies, but they weren't that funny. They also tried to give the film a little more emotional weight by putting in some messages about being yourself and father-son relationships, but these parts were kind of weak. Overall, it seemed like the writers were trying too hard.

I think the movie was okay. If I gave it a grade, I would probably give it a C or a C+. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't as good as it could have been.

(Last modified:06/13/2010)

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