Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a perfect movie. The family film about a socially awkward inventor whose problem-solving inventions always seem to go deliciously awry is super silly yet grounded, contains hilarious characters that kids can relate to, and makes science fun. Add to this that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the best-reviewed family movie of all time at KidsPickFlicks.com, the movie review site for kids, and I’m left in doubt: how could a sequel possibly live up to the greatness of the first?
This concern is justified. Where could I possibly start in naming sequels that didn’t live up to the original movie that won our hearts? Son of the Mask? Oceans 12? Speed 2: Cruise Control? It’s not easy to re-create magic, especially when the first movie is so ingenious and creative.
A film director recently said that a sequel shouldn’t be like a TV episode, which is just the next day in the life of the characters; a movie sequel should only be made if the need exists to tell a new story. It’s tough to do and yet it can be done: The Empire Strikes Back, the Harry Potter movies, The Dark Knight, Toy Story 2 and 3, and of course, cinema’s best sequel ever, The Godfather II.
So when the screening began for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, my skepticism and trepidation was quickly replaced with elation, joy and lots and lots of laughter. In Cloudy 2, Flint Lockwood learns his abandoned food-making invention is still operating, now breeding food animals (foodimals!), which are believed to be a threat to humanity. Thus, Lockwood and his friends must return to Swallow Falls to find and dismantle the machine once and for all. It’s a real reason to tell the next story that, I’m thrilled to say, is just as funny, adorable, heartfelt and self-aware as the original but in a totally new and wonderful way. In other words, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 just might be the best sequel of the year.
Besides Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, here are three other movies to see with your family this weekend:
Instructions Not Included. Check out the rave “Must Go!” reviews from Fandango users for this Spanish-language heart-filled comedy. This PG-13 subtitled film is about an Acapulco womanizer who must raise his daughter alone after the mother drops the baby off and doesn’t return for six years.
One Direction: This Is Us in 3D New Extended Fan Cut. If you have a preteen daughter, you must agree: by the seventh viewing, you, too, want to marry Harry Styles although Louie is an underrated gem.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. In telling new stories about ancient Greek characters in a modern setting, it makes learning about mythology in school much more fun.
Check out what kids think about these movies at www.KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.