Friday, October 02, 2009

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 3D - perhaps the most depressing kids film of all time

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 3D is a really quite shockingly depressing film. Everywhere its glance falls, the result is cynicism and hopelessness. It posits a world alarmingly like our own. Geeky girls have to get a make-over and dumb-down to get a career. Fathers and sons are incapable of communicating. Politicians are venal. Child stars coast on their early success for life. Highly qualified professionals from third world countries end up working menial jobs in the US. Worst of all, when given a chance at unlimited food by new hi-tech agribusiness, humans exercise zero self-discipline and become clinically obese, entering an ERASERHEAD like nightmare.

Now, this being a children's animated 3D movie, you can almost look through this continual self-hatred. There's some impressive 3-D animation of cheeseburgers falling from the skies, thanks to the new Real 3-D technology. And I really like the 80s pastiche production design - this a world filled with Ghetto blasters. And, admittedly, there is a final act reprieve. But this movie is basically a continual downer - depicting with an incredibly keen eye - the moral vacuum at the heart of modern consumer culture.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising the message, but it's got to be possible to convey such material without being utterly depressing. Indeed, I know there is, because WALL-E made largely the same points, but had real heart too.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is on release in Egypt, Israel, Canada, the UK, the US and Japan. It opens next week in Hungary, Mexico and Poland. It opens on October 1st in Argentina, Malaysia, Singapore and Brazil. It opens on October 16th in Estonia and South Africa. It opens on October 22nd in France, the Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria. It opens on October 30th in Romania. It opens on November 26th in Australia and New Zealand. It opens on December 4th in Spain and on January 8th in Iceland. It opens on January 15th in Italy and Norway. It opens on January 20th in Belgium, Denmark and Sweden. It opens on January 28th in Germany and the Netherlands. It opens on February 5th in Finland.

Eventual tags: andy samberg, animation, anna faris, benjamin bratt, bill hader, bobb'e j thompson, bruce campbell, children, chris miller, james caan, mark mothersbaugh, mr t, neil patrick harris, phil lord

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