You gotta see this: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
You've just gotta go see this...
It's finally happened. Something I've been holding out for since the day I became a father; my three-year-old has reached the age where we can not only watch movies together, but movies that I might enjoy without being intellectually clubbed to death by the simplicity explicit in most shows made for her age group.
Our first family movie night kicked off with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
It's the story of Flint Lockwood, a young wannabe inventor who up until recently has failed brilliantly at everything he has put his inventiveness to. From spray-on indestructible shoes which can never be removed to a species of flying rats which plague his small island town of Swallow Falls, a sardine fishing community on the verge of rebooting its run down economy by opening a colossal sardine-themed tourist park.
Flint has invented a machine which transmogrifies water into any food you can imagine, which he hooks up to the town's power supply on the day of Sardine Lands grand unveiling. All goes horribly wrong as the new attraction is ransacked by Flints reckless machine and amidst the wreckage flint is berated and all but hated by the whole town, including his own Dad.
That is until cheeseburgers start to fall from the sky. Yummy cheeseburgers. And the stage is set for a story replete with mayhem, dry humour (almost Seinfeld-style) and some serious themes.
Without remembering a single joke from this film I do know there were certain points which really made my wife and I laugh.
The adult humour in this movie didn't hinge on sexual innuendo either, something a lot of kid's films are notorious for, because of the belief that sexual allusions will fly over the kid's heads.
I found the dialogue to be sophisticated enough to keep me entertained but simple enough to maintain my child's attention.
The movie carries two obvious themes, the value of being yourself, even if you are a nerd and the value of having a father's love and pride.
Throughout the movie Flint strives for his father's acceptance - his father a simple and quiet fisherman who runs a bait and tackle shop and struggles to communicate with his son. They might as well be from different planets. There was a particularly insightful scene where a completely defeated Flint finds himself in a rubbish bin because everything has gone to pot and it was all his fault. His father asks him why he is there and Flint explains that it is where he belongs because he is junk.
My step-father use to say to me, "whats the moral of the story?" and make me think about the underlying message of the film rather than the face value. That scene for me exemplified the moral of the Meatballs, that without a father's love and acceptance, children believe they are trash. I know this is true. To succeed, children need to hear their father say, "You can do it!" which is what finally happens in Cloudy and Flint goes on to save the day.
The music in this movie was noticeable too, the opening credits made me feel like I was watching an 80s adventure flick, only cooler.
The only draw back was that at parts my young one did get scared. To my grown-up mind there was nothing in the movie that was obviously frightening but when the storm clouds swirled or the creepy town mayor got more creepier she let us know that the movie was scary. But those scenes were over quick enough and we had no nightmares to contend with so it may depend on your child's own sentimentality.
I give Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs a 7 out of 10, for originality and the promise that this movie will make you feel hungry. I ate a lot of ice cream after watching it.
I also give it such a generous score for featuring the voice of Mr. T, after all, how can you go wrong with Mr. T?
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