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CLOUDY, WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2. Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn, dir. Judy and Ron Barrett, characters, from original children’s book: story by JB, illus. RB (1978). Phil Lord, Christopher Robert Miller (b. 1975 [not the National Lampoon/ANIMAL HOUSE writer]), Erica Rivinoja, story. Rivinoja, John Francis Daley, and Jonathan M. Goldstein, script. Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation (prod.) / Sony Pictures Releasing (US dist.), 2013. See IMDb for further details, including a highly impressive cast doing the voices.[1]

Family-film animation, with strong SF elements in premise. In the initial CLOUDY (2009), “Along with the aid of his pet monkey, [… the hero] Flint invents a machine that transforms water into food, called the ‘Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator’ (FLDSMDFR for short),” a machine that runs amok.[2]. The FLDSMDFR is back in the sequel, but positively viewed, producing an AVATAR-like world, with the mutated food as only apparently-threatening organic entities. Alluded to in addition to AVATAR (2009) are MATRIX Sentinels (by name) and, visually, the powered-armor suits of R. A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and their many descendants. Of interest to anyone tracking the trope of “the mechanical hive,” CLOUDY 2 is the most hexagon-intensive film Rich Erlich can recall ever encountering, and he has been tracking the shape since 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY of 1968 (a film that may also be alluded to visually in the shape of a door); the hexagons are exclusively and strongly associated with the villain and his villainous corporation: think of Apple + Google and other hip Silicon Valley, CA, corporations, merging with Starbucks and going over to the Dark Side. There is also the somewhat gratuitous use of a science-fictional portal, which can help demonstrate the ubiquity of that concept and image. CAUTION: Though otherwise a most excellent doper movie, especially as family films go, CLOUDY’s featuring of moving, sentient foodstuffs may prove a problem to viewers sufficiently zonked to appreciate the moving colors of the images.

5. DRAMA, RDE, 13/X/13