Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Year 8, Day 125 - 5/4/16 - Movie #2,325

BEFORE: Happy Star Wars Day!  I don't have anything "Star Wars" related cued up, but I am planning on buying the DVD of Episode VII today.  And I've got Bill Hader carrying over from "Inside Out", and he's credited with being one of the voice consultants for BB-8 in that recent "Star Wars" film, so congratulations, Mr. Hader, you're today's Star Wars-adjacent celebrity of the day!  Note: there is no cash endowment that comes with this title, nor is there a prize.

FOLLOW-UP TO: "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" (Movie #1,103)

THE PLOT:  Flint Lockwood now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V, but he's forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids.

AFTER: There's a handy re-cap at the start of this film, just in case you forget what happened in the first film, or, if you're like me and you managed to watch 1,221 films in-between.  Flint had invented his "Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator" (or FLDSMDFR, pronounced just it looks...) which turned water into food, but it ran out of control, there were cheeseburgers falling from the sky and a spaghetti tornado, and near the end the food even became sentient.  

The sequel puts Flint in touch with his scientific idol, Chester V, who comes to town to help with the clean-up, and also offers Flint a job in his think-tank, Live Corp, and a chance to become one of his Think-quanauts.  But Chester is really there to find the FLDSMDFR, which is still active and is now churning out living food beasts, which are all combinations of food products and animals.  

(I almost HATE to point out that all life is carbon-based, and there's just no way to turn water, which contains only hydrogen and oxygen, into something alive.  Plus there's the whole "creating sentience" thing, which technology just doesn't have the ability or the moral right to do, but hey, this is for the kids, so forget I said anything, I guess.  Let their imaginations run wild while they may.)  

I think my favorite thing about this film is the wordplay, I love portmanteau words, these are words that are sort of smushed together, sometimes based on a common syllable, to define a new thing - "Brunch" is probably the most famous one, what better word could describe the meal between breakfast and lunch?  But portmanteaus are really hot right now in the food scene, like the cronut (crossiant meets donut) or its new cousin, the macaronut.  Frappuccinos have been around for a while, and so has the turducken.  Right now I'm wondering when the "Burgerrito" is going to catch on, that's a hamburger and burger toppings, inside a burrito.  

So in this film we're shown the tacodile, the hip-potato-mus, and even shrimpanzees - any way to get the name of a food and an animal together, I think they found it.  I didn't even realize that the snakes were apple pie-thons, but I thought the flamangos, wildebeets and watermelophants were great ideas.  They could have spent the whole movie just naming foodimals and I would have been happy.  

(EDIT: There's a wiki that lists most of the foodimals created for the film, even if they're not named in the film, some are really genius.  Cantalope?  Cucumbird?  Grizzly Pear?  Those are really good.)

I thought there were a few that didn't really work, though, like the bananostrich (why did it make a noise like a dolphin?) and the subwhales (what's the wordplay based on?) and one of the most prominent of all was the cheespider, but that word doesn't sound much like "cheeseburger", so was that really the BEST they could do?  And sometimes they just weren't trying, like the leek wasn't mixed with anything, it was just there so they could have a cheap joke, "There's a leek in the boat!"

There are so many potential problems with showing this film to impressionable kids, though - it's bad enough that they get bombarded by the vegetarian lobby, forcing them to think about the fact that some of their food used to be cute animals, now they'll start to realize that even vegetables were once alive, and from what I understand, it's already hard getting kids to eat their vegetables.  But now they'll picture fruits and veggies with faces on them, and won't that make it harder for kids to eat healthy things?  

Also starring the voices of Anna Faris (last seen in "22 Jump Street"), James Caan (last seen in "A Bridge Too Far"), Will Forte (last seen in "Nebraska"), Andy Samberg (last seen in "The To Do List"), Benjamin Bratt (last heard in "Despicable Me 2"), Kristen Schaal (ditto), Neil Patrick Harris (last heard in "Batman: Under the Red Hood"), Terry Crews (last seen in "The Expendables 3"), with a cameo from Al Roker. 

RATING: 6 out of 10 Food Bars

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