Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

Review first published by Film4.

Synopsis: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearson’s sugar-rush cartoon sequel puts the fast food into Jurassic Park.

Review: Never meet your heroes. This is just one of many takeaway lessons offered by Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, along with: don’t turn your back on your loved ones; corporations can be mendacious, exploitative and evil; ecosystems are delicate; fishing with father is fun; and, respect self-aware comestibles, especially those with family values. It’s a crazy smorgasbord of conflicting, often contradictory ideologies from which young viewers can pick and choose while gorging themselves on a delirious display of animated eye candy, all served with great speed and good humour.

“In the eight minutes since I saved the world, I’ve had time to reflect,” announces Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) near the beginning of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2. This comes after a rapid recapitulation of events from the first film (adapted in 2009 from Judi and Ron Barrett’s book), as well as a breezy introduction to television scientist turned corporate giant Chester V (Will Forte), who has been an inspiration to Flint since childhood. All this is an indication of the breakneck pace to come, as Flint and friends chase any and every gag they can in their attempts to locate and stop Flint’s still-functioning water-into-food contraption before the sentient snacks with which it has now populated the island of Swallow Falls can take over the world.

What follows is part King Kong, part Jurassic Park, and all easily digested, thanks to this film’s cornucopia of crackpot ideas, homespun verities and kaleidoscopic colours. A panoply of beautifully realised ‘food-imals’ is pitted first against, and then with, our human heroes who come to realise their place on the over-commercialised food chain. The results are a pleasingly surreal – if slightly hit-and-miss – sugar rush that younger viewers will swallow hook, line and sinker.

In A Nutshell: This mile-a-minute animated sci-fi comedy adventure offers food for thought, but mostly for fun.

Anton Bitel