South Park Self

cloudy, with a chance of meatballs

I do like slightly off-the-wall and incongruous subject lines, and it's a rare thing indeed when a movie provides me with such in its title, entirely without my intervention. I missed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on circuit when it was open, which is annoying as I think it might have been even more fun in 3-D, but I have to say, vegging out in front of it last night with (a) my currently favourite rice-tomato soup, (b) a horrible dose of glandular exhaustion and gosh-someone-punched-me-repeatedly-under-the-jaw-again, and (c) my mother, was pretty darned fun.

I don't know much about Sony Animation; I never got around to seeing Surf's Up, although the trailers looked amusing, and I didn't really have high expectations of this - in my mind I think their films are linked with abysmal non-Pixar/Dreamworks efforts like Hoodwinked and Happily N'Ever After (ritual ptooey!). The animation seems a bit plastic at first glance, and it has very much the frenetic, clever-clever self-consciousness of much worse films. But it also offers surprising levels of warmth and wit, particularly in the tiny details, as well as a rather good and slightly unexpected voice cast (Mr. T? what's with that? Bruce Campbell? and NPH playing the monkey?), and an ultimately subversive and rather pleasingly evil-minded anti-consumerist message, in the most literal of terms.

I'm entertained by how high-profile the Mad Scientist trope has become in contemporary popular films - Dr. Horrible, Igor, and now this. I'm lecturing on Frankenstein at the moment, and the parallels are lovely to watch. In the modern iteration, of course, Mad Scientist Geek Accidentally Creates Monster, Saves World, Gets Girl, which lacks the tragic sweep of Scientist Creates Monster, Goes Mad, but beats the hell out of Muscular Jock Gets Girl, Saves World, which is now so last century. Geeks are clearly in, as are nerdy girls capable of polysyllabic techno-babble. I knew it! - polysyllables make the world go round, and are incidentally also hot.

Most of all, however, this film is clearly the Seekrit Attack Plan of an evil ascetic vegan cabal. It will make you take up dieting. It will cause you to wish never to allow food to pass your lips ever again. The animated images of giant storms of hamburgers, showers of syrup, spaghetti tornadoes and the like are initially amusing, and become slowly and inescapably horrible even while occasional moments (the jello palace, the ice-cream snow fields) are magical and beautiful. There's a fleshy, orally-fixated visual scare tactic at the heart of this film, and as a nasty poke at over-indulgence, entitlement, junk food, excess and waste, it's exceptionally pleasing. It's a flawed but actually extremely amusing film, and I had fun watching it. Also, the bit with the animated roast chickens is both hilarious and self-consciously disgusting, and caused me and my mother to crack up simultaneously. We apparently share a low, reprehensible passion for slapstick. Genetics will always get you in the end.
  • Current Mood: amused amused
  • Current Music: Depeche Mode
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More super-villain than strictly mad scientist, but Despicable Me is out soon too. I've only seen the trailer, but the minions look cute.
I really loved this movie that it exploded a lot of things but it is 7am and my brain is not engaged yet.