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Although it seems everyone is cutting in on Pixar’s computer animated turf, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS ($40) proves itself to be a tasty delight that is certain to appeal to anyone seeking fresh, funny, quality family entertainment. Loosely adapted from the children's book by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS tells the story of town of Swallowfalls, which is located on a small island under the "A" in Atlantic. The Baby Brent Sardine cannery was the business that drove the community’s economy… until it closed, which left the populace facing a steady diet of Sardines, and little else. Enter our central character… inventor Flint Lockwood. Since boyhood, Flint has tried to invent things that would make people’s lives better. However, Flint’s well-intentioned inventions tended to have some critical flaw or other that resulted in one small disaster after another. In an effort to help solve the food problem, Flint invents a machine that will convert simple water molecules into any and every type of food. Unfortunately, Flint’s deployment of his newest invention results in a disaster all its own, with said invention being launched into the stratosphere.

Nevertheless, this latest disaster results in something unexpected- cheeseburgers begin raining down from the sky. With the help of attractive television weather intern, Sam Sparks, everyone becomes aware that Flint was responsible for it rain cheeseburgers, and is soon placing requests for it to rain other kinds of foods. Soon, Flint is the town’s hero, but greedy Mayor Shelbourne wants to profiteer off of the invention, and rebuild Swallowfalls’ entire economy by abusing the abilities of the machine. Eventually, the overloaded machine begins producing ever-larger food items that threaten to wipe Swallowfalls out from under the "A"… and off the map entirely. The vocal talent behind CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS includes Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, Will Forte, Max Neuwirth, Peter Siragusa, Angela Shelton and Neil Flynn.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Coming directly from the digital files, the 1080p presentation of CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is virtually perfect, and continues to prove that high definition is the absolute best way to enjoy computer animated movies at home. Despite the movie’s decidedly cartoony style, image sharpness, clarity, dimensionality and detail are everything one could hope for from a CGI animated production. Colors are wonderfully vivid and deeply saturated. Heck, the beauty in which some of the colors are painted onto the digital canvas can leave on flabbergasted. Blacks are absolutely pitch perfect, plus the whites appear pure. Contrast demonstrates the kind of smoothness that can only be created in the digital realm. As I stated above, the presentation comes directly from the digital files, so there is no grain, nor will one find any visual imperfections in the image.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Like the visuals, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS deliver the goods in the audio department. This is a fairly marvelous sounding track that benefits from a nicely directional implementation, as well as making use of the humorous quality to the sound effects. Panning between channels seems effortless. Additionally, the track is quite atmospheric, which helps produce cohesive sonic environments. Fidelity is top of the line, producing a rich musical component, in addition to convincing sound effects. The bass channel is deep and authoritative. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. A French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is also encoded onto the disc, as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with writers/directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord and actor Bill Hader. For would be film critics there is an Interactive "Splat" Button, which allows one to throw food at the screen while they watch the movie! Featurettes and other programs include the following: A Recipe For Success: The Making Of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (eleven minutes), Key Ingredients: The Voices Of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (thirteen minutes) and Make It Rain Food PSA (less than one minute). Five Progression Reels With Introductions By Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Bredow (eight minutes) are also included, as is a Music Video for the song Raining Sunshine by Miranda Cosgrove, plus an Interactive Sing-A-Long and Behind-The-Scenes for the music video. Extended Scenes, Early Development Scenes and Flint's Food Fight Game close out the standard extras. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Disc two offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray. A Digital Copy of the film is also provided for those with a PSP.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is a tasty treat for the entire family. The terrific looking and sounding Blu-ray release, only makes it more delicious. Recommended.



Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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