By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Unlike the first Cloudy movie, which is based on a popular children’s book, the sequel is based on an original story idea and not on any of the book sequels which followed the initial story. This second installment takes audiences back to the town of Swallow Falls, recently devastated by the massive food storms caused by inventor Flint Lockwood’s machine. Taking the story in an original direction, as opposed to adapting existing material, actually pays off. The film’s writers and directors Cody Cameron and Kris Peam boldly take the beloved characters of Swallow Falls on a wildly surreal and visually exciting journey which should keep families well entertained, particularly kids below the age of ten.
Immediately following the events of the first film, the citizens of Swallow Falls are forced to evacuate for a major cleanup. Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) gets recruited by The Live Corp, owned and run by his childhood idol Chester V (Will Forte). While busy working for the Corp, back in Swallow Falls Lockwood’s FLDSMDFR still manages to function and causes some strange mutations to occur with the food it produces. This results in the birth of new food based life forms which begin to overrun the town. Chester V sends Flint back to his town to shut down the machine before the creatures spread out beyond the city’s limits. However, Chester V has some ulterior motives and nefarious plans of his own.
Written by Erica Rivinoja, Christopher Miller, Phil Lord, Jonathan M. Goldstein, and John Francis Daley (Phew!), Cloudy 2 is just as fun and enjoyable as the first movie. The writers take the exciting and inventive ideas of the first story and go wild with their creations for the sequel. Giving life and personalities to their food animals really adds to the entertainment and provides loads of opportunities for some hilarious puns and plays on the food animal names. The writers and directors obviously were inspired by Jurassic Park and created some highly amusing winks in homage to the popular science fiction film. Like the first movie, this one does have its heartfelt message for the younger audience members, though the first film does have a bit more substance to offer.
Directors Cameron and Pearn and their talented crew of animators offer audiences some beautiful animation which adds to the awe factor. Kids will really enjoy the gorgeously vivid colors and awesomely realized food animals. I attended a screening which presented the film in 3D. The 3D actually doesn’t take much away from the lovely coloring of the movie, but it doesn’t add much dimension either. My recommendation is to see the film in 2D so that there is less chance of the glasses inhibiting one’s ability to enjoy the visuals.
Not only will the young kids enjoy this movie, but the adults accompanying them will find much to enjoy as well. Some of the jokes will go over the kids’ heads, but I’m sure these lines were written with the adults in mind. The excellent voice cast features the welcome return of several members from the first film such as Bill Hader, Anna Farris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, and Neil Patrick Harris. Mr. T, who voiced the character of Earl Devereaux in the first film, chose not reprise his role in the sequel. Terry Crews takes over this funny character, and does a descent job, but lacks that distinct style that Mr. T originally brought to the character. Nevertheless, Crews puts his own hilarious spin on Earl and it works nicely. The casting department chose these talented voice actors wisely and they bring a fun and gleeful charm to their respective characters.
And it’s these characters, the imagination of the writers, and the skills of the crew that make this sequel a worthy follow up to the first film. I highly recommend this witty and lively movie as a great afternoon matinee for the whole family. I’m sure the young ones will also want to add it to their movie collection once it gets released on video. If I had children of my own, this is one movie I wouldn’t mind watching multiple times.