Animated film (2009). Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures. Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Written by Lord and Miller. Cast includes Anna Faris and Bill Hader. 90 minutes. Colour.
Lord and Miller made their Cinema debut with this loose adaptation of Judi and Ron Barrett's children's book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1978), having previously written and directed the animated Television series Clone High (2002-2003). A surprisingly large proportion of Children's SF takes the Edisonade form, and this is one of the best examples.
Flint Lockwood (Hader) dreams of being a great inventor (see Invention) but only manages cack-handed experiments with Technology and Genetic Engineering such as his talking but not exactly intelligent monkey Steve (see Intelligence). Then he accidentally succeeds in making it rain food to order (see Weather Control), reviving the economy (see Economics) of his imaginary Island nation and making him a hero. Inevitably it doesn't last. Lockwood isn't exactly a Mad Scientist but he is a manic jerk; his ambition is that of Victor Frankenstein (see Frankenstein; Frankenstein Monster; Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) and the plot recalls Brian W Aldiss's description of science fiction as "hubris clobbered by nemesis". Overall this is silly stuff saved by deft and unrelenting Humour that ranges from slapstick to Satire to the surprisingly deadpan. Lord and Miller handed over the reins for the sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013), which mines a similar vein whilst deviating even further from the source material. [ML]
see also: Apes as Human; Disaster.
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