Sunday, September 27, 2009

Too many issues!

The Film: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
The Contributors: Jon Heder, Anna Faris, James Caan...'and a whole bunch of other people'.
The Dealio: Have to warn you: this was one of the premier book over at the HQ of the Corp P+10, lo, these many years ago. At the time, the story seemed pretty straightforward, pretty simple. Now...the film. Wow. What can I say? This film has more issues than Newsweek magazine! As I seem to recall, the story dealt with a kid with great smarts who invented a machine to produce food from the weather. Simple. Uncomplicated. Dare I say it? Fun! Now, the movie. The first 30-40 minutes streak by in a glory of 2 D splendor (yeah, yeah, yeah. I saw it in 2D. Listen, after all this summer has offered, I was 3D'd out! Soooooo-reeeeeee.). Then, all of a sudden, I became aware that something I did NOT recall from the book was creeping in. At first, I was not sure what was happening. Then, all of a sudden, I had it: there were issues: issues about greed, issues about not addressing-or even considering- global warming and the dangers of rampant messin' about with science. Obesity pandemic issues. Issues related on the inability of fathers and sons to communicate. Issues both political and non. Hey! Wait just a filigreed moment, y'all. Who-or what- just hijacked this book? Not good. Even in the theater crowd I was part of (which), I could sense an uneasiness. A desire to escape. Then I had it: the direction of the original story had been supplanted. Now, instead of a story -plain and simple- about someone discovering the really important things that make life worth living, we are delving, face-forward- into a total issue blood bath. Now we need to worry about giant, roasted chickens attacking. Now we have to rely on science to lend a helping hand- where, moments before, it was the same science, in the hands of the greedy, which started the mess in the first place. But, let's not forget, there are other issues here: nerd power, beauty discrimination, age-ism, the destructive power of absolute authority, communication breakdown and bullyism. What began life as a pretty entertaining book with lots of sweetness and fun has transformed (apologies for using that word, TJ!) go into a gigantic preach-a-thon. What's next? Mitchell is Moving as a diatribe against global warming? Pul-eez! Folks, grab the reins! Do it now.
The Grading Session: 3.82 out of 5 stars. Serious point loss for the dilution of the sense of joy and accomplishment in the original. But, suh-WEET use of voice-casting (I'm talkin' about you, Jimmy Caan, getting your bad, ol' Tony Soprano on).
Lessons Learned: It is bad to eat too much. It is bad to pigeonhole someone for the way they look. It is hard for fathers to speak to sons (well....OK, personal evidence makes me a tad unsure about this one). It is not only not true, it is absolutely evil to think that if a little is good, a lot is way better. ' Really. Who knew? Oh. Right. Pretty much everyone. Lastly: even if we don't 'get' what our kids are trying to do, if it gives them joy and doesn't result in the SWAT team permanently camped outside our's all good. This is not a bad film. Only a self-aware, co-opted one.

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