Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 36.8 GB
Film Size: 21.9 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: ABC (Free)

Video
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. It was no surprise that the video presentation is stunning, looking beautiful as could be in high-definition.

The encode is fantastic, presenting the film without a technical flaw. The animation itself is great, it's certainly simple but not due to laziness. Animation may be simple, but animators clearly paid attention to the big picture, as everything on screen is filled with detail and has life to it.

The film features every color of the rainbow, each one looking just as rich and vibrant as the other, blacks are inky as can be and everything just leaps off the screen. Detail is also very nice, whether it be hair and clothing or food and buildings, it all just shines.

The film is a visual treat on Blu-ray, there is no way one could be disappointed by the Blu-ray release as it's clearly superior from beginning to end and ranks among the best animated releases on Blu-ray. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs makes for fantastic demo material. 10/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, and while it can be impressive it's not among the best animated high-def audio mixes. Everything about the track is clear and aggressive, but I felt surround use moments could have had a bigger impact.

Dialogue was front and center, like any animated release, it's clear and crisp and always easy to understand. The film's effects are mostly front heavy but do feature good direction, I just wish a bit more attention was paid to the surround speakers.

One specific moment was when Flint's rocket invention goes flyinng through the sky, going left and right and upside down, but it didn't feel like it was flying arround the town as it was much more front heavy than I expected.

The film's music did expand into the surround area nicely, and when effects were placed in the surround area it was very nice. The mix is very good, but I was hoping for a demo level audio track. 8.5/10.

Extras

Disc 1:

Splat Mode!
Watch in Splat Mode to operate Flint Lockwood's food throwing machine. Select between a variety of food and splat all over the screen.

Flint's Food Fight Game
Help Flint stop the food storm cooked up by the F.L.D.S.M.D.F.R.! Use the arrow keys on your remote control to direct and press enter to fire your fork cannon.

Audio Commentary
With Writers/Directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, and Actor Bill Hader

A Recipe For Success: The Making of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (10:51) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about the film and how they made the book into a film.

Key Ingredients: The Voices of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (12:39) (HD)
All about the voice talent involved in the film. The cast is fantastic in this film, see them talk about working on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Extended Scenes (2:36) (HD)
Two extended scenes are included and presented in high-definition.

Early Development Scenes (5:47) (HD)
Two early development scenes are included and presented in high-definition.

Progression Reels (8:10) (HD)
Five progression reels are included with introductions by Visual FX Supervisor Rob Bredow and presented in high-definition.

Miranda Cosgrove's "Raining Sunshine" (SD)
"Raining Sunshine" Sing-A-Long
"Raining Sunshine" Music Video
Behind the Scenes of the Music Video

Make It Rain Food (:32) (HD)
A 'Fight Hunger' ad.

Previews (HD)
Open Season 3
Hachi: A Dog's Tale
Planet 51
Open Season
Open Season 2
Surf's Up
Monster House
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
Daddy Day Camp

Digital Copy for PSP
Insert the Blu-ray disc into your Playstation 3 system to redeem a Digital Copy for PSP.

Disc 2:

DVD Copy of the film

The extras on this release are very fun and there is a lot included for a family film, some extras made specifically for kids and some about production. The included featurettes are informative and fun and kids should enjoy the games. The included DVD copy of the film is great, something I think all studios should be doing when it comes to family films on Blu-ray. 8/10.

Blu-news Summary
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a film I had a chance to view theatrically and I was very surprised by the quality of the film to be honest. I went in with no idea what to expect as I had never read the book by Judi Barrett. While it wasn't Pixar quality story-telling, it was close, and the film has so much heart.

The story is about Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), a man who has been conducting experiments and inventions since he was a child. He lives in a small town called Swallow Falls, a town famous for their sardines and coming attraction Sardineland. Flint had been teased about his experiments and inventions since he was a child, but things have never gone so wrong when his latest invention destroys Sardineland.

The townspeople never really liked him, but that mishap was the final straw. Ashamed he goes to a dock near the ocean, where he runs into recently humiliated weather girl Sam Sparks (Anna Faris). While talking on the dock, pink clouds begin to form in the sky and come closer and closer to the town. One by one, condiments from a cheeseburger begin to hit the ground, soon after entire cheeseburgers. The townspeople go crazy as everyone tries to catch one of their own, later shocked to find out this all happened because of Flint Lockwood.

Flint's life changes from that moment, becoming a local celebrity and making it rain food on a daily basis. When two many requests begin to be filled, Flint's invention begins to form mutated food, things go wrong like he never expected and that's where the action really begins.

I enjoyed every minute of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. The film's story is original and features quite a bit of depth and character development. The relationship between Flint and his father, weather girl Sam Sparks recognizing her true self, among many other things. It's a cute story and one that is very funny and enjoyable for any member of your family.

The film is primarily aimed at kids, but I think the story does a good job at appealing to adults as well, those without children may find yourself enjoying this movie as well. The amount of little details in the film are easy to appreciate, overall Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a delightful and extremely satisfying film that most will love. 9/10.

The Blu-ray release is great, featuring a stellar video presentation, good audio mix, and a very strong selection of extras. Overall Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is 'Highly Recommended' to all.

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