An Evaluative Argument on Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs On September 27th, 2013, Sony Picture Animation released Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 as a sequel to its wellreceived, all-age comedy predecessor and drew mixed reviews from the critics. Some, such as the Daily Record, argue that it is an “unnecessary second helping”, and that it lost the prequel’s “originality and sheer flair”.
Others, such as Forbes’s Scott Mendelson, claim that “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is an example of a superior animated sequel that builds on the ideas of the first film and enriches its mythology”. Whether they agree or disagree on the merits of this film, most critics state that the level of its comedy was too stressed and created more unfavorable responses than a good laugh. But most of these critics are placing this movie in the same category as its prequel, even though the film appears to have shifted its target completely onto the younger audience.
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is a good children’s comedy sequel due to its consistency to its predecessor while introducing a new element, children-friendly jokes and puns, superficial storyline and characters, a typical children-story theme and plot, and colorful and detailed artwork. The start of the sequel felt like the continuation of the prequel, with the destruction of Flint’s hometown by the rain of giant foods, leading to the relocation of the town’s population.
As the story progresses, Flint and his gang have to go back to their island home only to find Flint’s device, the FLDSMDFR, has started creating food-animal hybrid, named foodimals, in addition to the giant foods. This introduces a new element that is centered on the encounters with the foodimals, but does not veer away from the original storyline on Flint attempting to stop his device from producing more food creations. As Scott Mendelson puts it, “it’s everything you love about the first film, plus [some] bonus elements! Also, the benefit of adding foodimals to the plot created tangible, loveable creatures that the younger audience is sure to enjoy. Another benefit -—or to some critics, the downfall-of the foodimals is the addition of new subjects to create puns on while not dropping the original food-themed jokes. Although “they ultimately become a tiresome parade of bad puns” (The Standard’s Matt Neal), they are just the type of light-hearted, superficial comedy that children love and never get tired of.
Names such as “Tacodile”, “Shrimpanzee”, and “Wilderbeets” attributes clever portmanteau, or the merging of two words, titles to these cute creatures that make a lasting impression on the younger audience. The main problem is that this new film no longer appeals to all-ages as the original has, but has instead decided to focus solely on the children, and the critics are categorizing this film as an all-age family-oriented film while they should shift their point of view from adults to that of children and see that it is the perfect comedy for the little ones.
Many critics have alluded to this change: the Daily Record has concluded that “the gentle humour and colourful palette will entertain the kids, but nobody else. ” Some critics have also complained about the lack of depth in the storyline and character development. Matt Neal has stated that the show “does a good job of maintaining momentum, mostly by ditching things such as character development, any deeper themes, or any kind of emotional investment” and makes it “difficult to find much of a care-factor for Flint and his friends because they are not meaty characters”.
This may be true, but that is a good characteristic for a children’s show to have. Overly complex character development may cause more boredom than excitement in the younger audience, and the shallow character development and storyline allows more time for all the action and adventure that they truly enjoy. This film also adds on new children-oriented plots in addition to the ones found in its predecessor. The good versus evil plot, that is often part of children’s shows, was more concrete in this film than the last one.
The explicit villain is the new character, Chester V, with a stereotypical bad-guy-deceiving-the-main-character background who wanted to use Flint to locate the FLDSMDFR in order to take over the production of food from water for his own gains. The more subtle good versus evil theme was in Flint’s conscience, which took the form of either listening to Chester V or listening to Sam Sparks, his girlfriend, who felt that there was something wrong with the situation and with Chester V.
These types of conflicts are often well-suited for children’s movies, as they teach children lessons on morals. Also, the plot twist on who is good and who is evil serves as good lessons for children on how they should never take things at face value. The key component to any good children-oriented movie is the quality and color of the graphics, and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 exceeds in both.
The quality and type of artwork is a direct replica from the original movie, which has unique, defining characteristics that helps children differentiate between the various characters and landscapes that appear in the film. The colors of the film are plentiful and vibrant, from the bright, white buildings of San Franjose to the deep, rich brown of the Hippotatomus, which draws the attention of children and keeps it focused throughout the film.
Although Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 would fail as an all-age comedy sequel by overusing jokes and puns, not fleshing out the characters, and lacking an organized storyline, these criteria along with its consistency, quality graphics, and lighthearted humor are needed for a good children-oriented comedy sequel. Brian Gibson has written this off as a “Period of Satire, Broken by Scattered Jokes of Varying Quality, Sun-Burning Colour and Sudden Storm-Surge-Pacing”, but that quality is what gives this film its solid foundation for what children-oriented movies should be based on.