Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs = GOOD  =NOT SO MUCH

So this is my first, and likely my last, foray into movie reviews which shows you just how strongly I feel about this one.  Sure the general rule of thumb is the book is always better than the movie ... but not all movies completely remove all appealing aspects of a story.  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs the movie can barely be said to be based on the story of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs the book.

I loved this book as a child - read it over and over and got totally absorbed in the grandfather telling the story of the land of Chewandswallow.  The image of the giant pancake closing down the school stays with me to this day.  As with many of my childhood favorites, I've been able to rediscover so many wonderful children's books.  I remember the day I found Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in the library several years ago and became giddy with excitement as I described the story to my daughter.  We have read it many times (of course, we now own our own copy) and have shared many laughs and silly reenactments of the giant food raining down on the people of Chewandswallow as they escape on their boats made of bread.

So I was thrilled when I heard they made a movie from the book.  I immediately put all those great images from the book into wondrous animation and imagined experiencing Grandpa telling the kids this dreamlike bedtime story in the larger than life world of the theater.  Regrettably, I had not seen any previews, read any reviews or heard anything at all about the movie ... like that they had turned my childhood book of imagination and fantasy into your run of the mill action cartoon flick with some big meatballs thrown in.

I mean, come on, there are no "bad guys" in the real Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, no evil greedy mayor, no romance subplot, no family tragedy to overcome in the final cheesy ending moments.  Oh, there are so many ways they could have made this into a really fun kids movie, encouraging imaginations to run wild ... but they didn't.  They churned out another animated movie with no originality and a dependence on the same old bad guy/good guy story line.

We very rarely go to the movies and this was our first time going all together as a family and all I can say is, I'm glad we own the book.

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