Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 2009 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and loosely based on the 1985 children's book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett. It was written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in their directorial debuts, and stars the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Bomb J. Thompson, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, and Will Forte. In the film, an aspiring inventor named Flint Lockwood develops a machine that can convert water into food following a series of failed experiments. After the machine gains sentience and begins to develop food storms, Flint must destroy the machine in order to save the world.
The film premiered in Los Angeles on September 12, 2009, and was released in USA six days later on September 18 by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label. It earned over $243 million worldwide on a budget of $100 million, and generally received critical praise toward its colorful visuals, humor, characterizations, and voice acting, while the simple character designs and plot were mostly criticized. The film has since been expanded into a franchise, with a sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, released on September 27, 2013, as well as an animated television series based on the film premiering on Cartoon Network on February 20, 2017, with none of the original cast returning.
Flint Lockwood is a wannabe-scientist who lives in Shallow Falls, a tiny half tropical island in the Atlantic Ocean that has sardines as the base of its economy. Flint lives with Tim, his widowed technophobic father, and his sidekick monkey, Steve. Despite Flint's zealous missions and enthusiasm, his inventions, including spray-on shoes, a remote controlled television, rat birds (a half rat, half bird species), hair-un-balder (a.k.a; hair in a can), and a flying car vehicle, all ended in failure.
When Flint is a little bit older, he then invents a machine that turns water into food, called the "Flint Lockwood Super Dynamic Food Replicator" (FLSDFR). Flint turns on the FLSDFR in his laboratory, but accidentally ends up shorting out the house's electrical supply. He then decides to power the machine by hooking it up to a nearby power plant. When he turns the machine back on, it ends up rocketing through town, causing widespread damage, ultimately shooting up into the sky. While recovering from his failure, Flint meets Samantha "Sam" Sparks, a weather intern whose big break was accidentally foiled by Flint. Their conversation is cut short when rainbow colored clouds float over the island and begins to rain burgers.
The town rejoices in their renewed food choices, and Flint makes a communication device to send orders to the machine and order it to create different types of food. Shallow Falls (now name changed to Chew-and-swallow) suddenly becomes a successful "food tourism" destination. Everything is going well until the townsfolk start greedily requesting food from Flint's machine. Flint notices that the food is beginning to grow larger in size. Although he is concerned that the food is starting to "over mutate", the now morbidly fat and obese mayor sees it as profitable for him and the city, and guilts Flint into continuing to make food rain.
Citizens and worldly tourists in Chew-and-swallow are blissful until suddenly a large tornado formed of spaghetti and meatballs threatens the town. Flint rushes to his lab to turn the FLSDFR off and attempts to send a "kill code" to stop the machine, but the mayor, while trying to stop him by throwing a giant radish at him, accidentally destroys the communication device. With Flint unable to control the machine, a massive food storm is created which threatens the world. When Flint's father encourages him to fix the mess, Flint gains self-confidence, places the kill code in a USB flash drive, and builds a new flying car to reach and deactivate the FLSDFR, with the aid of Sam, her cameraman Manny, Steve and Brent (namesake of the Baby Brent Sardine cannery).
As they approach the machine in the sky, they find that it is now at the core of a giant meatball, where clouds go in the top and a food hurricane comes out the bottom. The machine sends living food to attack them. In the chaos, the flash drive with the kill code is sucked by the wind out the window.
Back at Chew-and-swallow, the citizens and tourists escape while the last leftovers fall. The Leftovers Dam collapses, causing an avalanche of food that floods the island. Despite the avalanche ravaging Flint's Lab, Tim manages to re-send the kill code to Flint's cell phone from there. Flint then goes inside the meatball, finds the machine, and connects the phone to a port. To his dismay, Flint discovers that Tim sent him the wrong file, so he is unable to stop the FLSDFR. Flint then gets an idea and uses his Spray-On Shoes formula on the machine, causing it to short out and explode. With the machine destroyed, the food storm subsides and everyone is able to return safely to Chew-and-swallow. Tim finally shows his appreciation for his son and his inventions before Flint and Sam celebrate with a kiss. Meanwhile; the fat and obese mayor is seen stranded in the sea, having eaten nearly all of his butter and jelly sandwich boat, while muttering that his plans were not well thought out.
- Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood
- Anna Faris as Sam Sparks
- Neil Patrick Harris as Steve the Monkey
- James Caan as Tim Lockwood
- Bruce Campbell as Mayor Shelbourne
- Andy Samberg as Brent McHale
- Terry Crews as Earl Deverauk
- Bomb J. Thompson as Calvin Devereaux
- Benjamin Bratt as Manny
- Alen Roker as Patrick Patrickson
- The End
On May 9, 2003, a year after establishment, Sony Pictures Animation announced it's first animated slate, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a film adaptation of the book. The Brizzi brothers were brought to direct the film, with Wayne Rice adapting the screenplay. In 2006, it was reported that the film had been helmed by new directors and writers, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. On September 18, 2008, Variety announced that Bill Hader and Anna Faris had signed on to voice the two lead characters, with James Caan, Bruce Campbell, Terry Crews, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Benjamin Bratt, Al Roker, Lauren Graham and Will Forte also in the voice cast. Co-writers and co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller said later that year that it would be a homage to, and a parody of, disaster films such as Twister, Armageddon, The Core, and The Day After Tomorrow. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the second film (after Monster House) made using animation rendering software Arnold and the open source image toolkit OpenImageIO.
- This is the first Sony Pictures Animation film to be produced in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio; all of that company's previous films were produced in 1.85:1.
- The second Columbia animated film to be produced in 2.35:1, after Monster House.
- This is the first Sony Pictures Animation film to be scored by Mark Mothersbaugh, followed by Hotel Transylvania.
- The second Sony Pictures Animation film to be released in September, after Open Season and Open Season 2.
- The second Sony Pictures Animation film to use the word "crap", after Surf's Up.
- The first Sony Pictures Animation film to give Columbia Pictures a variant.
- During the Columbia Pictures logo, the theme is played in high-pitch. This makes it the second of three films to have the Columbia Pictures theme in high-pitch. The first being Open Season and the third being Hotel Transylvania.
The movie was given postive reviews and three years later became the biggest high for the franchise
- Metacritic gives Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs a rating of 66/100 (Generally favorable reviews) and a average user score of 7.7/10.
- Rotten Tomatoes has Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs at 86% on the Tomatometer (Certified Fresh) with a viewer rating of 70%.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 5, 2010. A 3D Blu-ray was released on June 22, 2010. It was the first 3D Blu-ray sold individually in the US.
A sequel called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 was released on September 27, 2013. The entire voice cast returned.