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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Fast food will kill you - literally tear you limb from limb - in Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn's computer-animated sequel. Luckily, the marauding cheeseburgers and tacos are consigned to a faraway island. Let us be thankful their sesame seed buns and corn tortilla shells turn to mush in brine. While the first film, released in 2009, was loosely based on Judi and Ron Barrett's children's book of the same name, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 is an original concept. However, the three scriptwriters are clearly big fans of Steven Spielberg's 1993 box office behemoth Jurassic Park. The scene in which Sam Neill and the children attempt to out run a herd of Gallimimus is created here with a stampede of food-animal hybrids called Bananostriches. The iconic image of ripples on the surface of a glass of water heralding the arrival of T-Rex here becomes the rippling fat of a supporting character's generously proportioned belly to signal the entrance of the monstrous Tacodile. Thankfully, some of the wildlife is friendly, including Shrimpanzees, Buffaloafs and dark green Watermelophants. It gives a whole new meaning to playing with your food. When we last met inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), he had reluctantly destroyed his malfunctioning creation, the FLDSMDFR, which transformed water into delicious treats. Flint excitedly goes to work for his idol, Chester V (Will Forte), CEO of Live Corp in San Franjose, and prepares to dazzle his colleagues with his Party-In-A-Box, aided by omnipresent sidekick Steve The Monkey. Unfortunately, Flint's invention misfires and he becomes a laughing stock. Chester V offers Flint a shot at redemption by embarking on a top secret mission back to Swallow Falls. It transpires that the FLDSMDFR has continued to produce gargantuan foodstuffs and the Bacon Cheese Spiders are learning to swim. In a short time, the edible predators will reach the mainland and wreak havoc. Flint heads for the island in the company of his meteorologist girlfriend, Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) and father Tim (James Caan), plus a few old friends: her cameraman Manny (Benjamin Bratt), mascot Brent McHale (Andy Samberg) and police officer Earl Devereaux (Terry Crews). Meanwhile, Chester V and his orang-utan assistant called Barb (Kristen Schaal) monitor Flint's progress closely from Live Corp HQ. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 boasts some decent laughs and a flimsy plot that doesn't tarry too long on logic. Vocal performances are as lively as the rollicking action sequences, while Faris's plucky heroine emphasises the underlying theme about man's destruction of the natural world when she asserts, "We should be studying the food animals not killing them!" The 3D version doesn't have much to dazzle the retinas so avoid premium ticket prices and opt for colour-saturated 2D instead.