Friday, October 9, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs...and a side of Praise

I don't know what some are thinking. For the past couple weeks, I have heard a ton of praise for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs from friends and aquaintences, most of whom work in the animation and movie industries. Now it turns into a personal tale that is classic for me: a movie that everyone loves is a huge disappointment for my tastes.

I remember reading the original book in elementary school. I remember enjoying the concept of food being produced through the weather. I can't say I was all over the drawings, and I don't blame the filmmakers for redesigning the original story.

This was a really dumb movie. At least that's how I felt. With all the hype this movie was receiving (particularly from those who don't care much for computer-animated features), this movie sounded like something new and special. It was no different from the first impression I got from the trailer. It is unoriginal and garish looking. The story by and far is nothing but predictable. Flint Lockwood, the main character, is an aspiring amateur inventor whose flaws are terribly humiliating (and the dialog does nothing to help). He finally perfects a useful machine, which can transform water into food and feed his economically tarnished hometown. Eventually, his machine brings out all the flaws in every other character. And the bad guy, the Mayor, isn't a very well-developed bad guy. All I see is someone who want to gorge and be powerful, but he's not totally believable (in fantasy terms).

The pacing is the one thing I would exemplify with this movie. The pacing is organized and doesn't move too fast. All the jokes (no matter how used up and wordy) and drama (no matter how preachy) are at least delivered on time and given enough space to take place.

Visually, the character designs are not too interesting. But with computer animation, character design is tricky to judge. I just didn't like these designs, although the design of Flint, the main character, had some appeal. I'm sorry, but I find cubic shape fingers scary looking in CG.

Terrible voice overs. As usual, these movies put a lot of attention on the celebrities doing the voice overs. Often, there's at least one voice-over per movie that manages to do his/her job. But here, there was nothing special, or impressive. The voices are bland and have few defining characteristics.

The coloring is something of an eyesore. In my psyche, I see too much orange and pink when thinking of the movie. There are no pleasurable color schemes in the movie. All the colors are bright and overdone, and they look like concert lights.
The animated food is a major flaw. All the food looked poorly colored and lumpy. There was nothing alluring about it, which I believe all food on film should look like if that is the point. All the spaghetti, steak, meatballs, donuts, chicken, and whatnot, looked like it was cooked at a theater concession stand. Who could find that appetizing?

The credits have some redemption. Again, this movie keeps up the current trend of presenting credits in an alternate form of animation (beginning with Ratatouille's hand-drawn end credits). The credits have a bit of a 60's retro feel to them, but that is undone by the dance number playing over them.

I don't have too much to say anymore, because I don't want to dive too much into it. My first impression of the movie is very unpleasant. And all the praise this movie received makes me feel like Hell has frozen over.

For all I know, Hell really has Frozen over, and this is the beginning of the apocalypse.

Or maybe, I just need to accept my own opinion and move on.


L33tminion said...

I was sort of interested in that movie because I liked the book, and it seemed to focus on the one question the book left unanswered. On the other hand, the answer was pretty predictable and the movie looked thrown together.

Guess I can skip this one.

Eric Noble said...

I like the design of the lead character, but it didn't look like fun. The feeling of having an opinion that's contrary to popular outlook is exactly like how I felt after I saw "Ratatouille". I didn't like it, even though everyone else loved it. Go figure, eh?