The sequel picks up 60 seconds after the first film left off when Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) manages to stop his Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator (FLDSMDFR) from turning any more water into mutated food. Flint, his family and friends are thrilled that he managed to destroy the machine and save the day, but now Swallow Falls needs some serious cleaning-up. Live Corp. bigwig and Flint’s hero, Chester V (voiced by Will Forte), swoops in to get the job done, but requires that everyone vacate the town while he takes care of business.
Flint relocates to San Fran Jose, California and takes a job at Live Corp., an idea factory that employs only the best and the brightest. It's there that Chester V calls upon Flint for help. In order to clean up Swallow Falls, they need to track down the FLDSMDFR, but the Live Corp. team can't manage to find it. Eager to please his idol, Flint agrees to head home to locate it himself.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 isn't hitting theaters until September 27th, but Sony Pictures Animation was kind enough to invite ComingSoon.net over for a chat with directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, a sneak peek at the film, and the chance to make our very own foodimals.
The event kicked off with a screening of the trailer and a short cast featurette, showing off voice talent including Cloudy vets Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood, Anna Faris as Sam Sparks, James Caan as Tim Lockwood, Andy Samberg as ‘Baby’ Brent, Benjamin Bratt as Manny, and Neil Patrick Harris as Steve, as well as Will Forte who’s ditching Joe Towne to voice Chester V this time around and franchise newcomers Kristen Schaal as Barb, and Terry Crews as Earl Devereaux.
As lovable as each and every human (and monkey) character is, they're going to have some serious competition this time because those wildly clever foodimals are bound to snag the spotlight. Cameron and Pearn took to the podium to show us what they were up to during the early stages of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Basically, they were playing with their food, but they weren't just sticking eyes on pickles and strawberries for fun. As Cameron pointed out, “As part of the development, I decided to do some food sculpture with some pickles, some strawberries, use map tacks for eyes, and then took them out into the backyard and photographed them because I wanted to see what food looked like underneath sunlight in natural settings." Seriously, go into your fridge, grab a piece of food, and plug in two map tacks for eyes. The results will melt your heart.
The film is loaded with clever food/animal crossovers like the wild scallion, bananostrich, cheesespider, sasquatch, susheep, meatballrus, and more, but the lead character of the food creature world is Barry the strawberry. In an effort to ensure living food would fit into the original Cloudy world where all food was stagnant, Cameron and Pearn put Barry and a bunch of his berry buddies into a conga scene where they bounced up and down around Flint and Sam, leaving Sam wondering, "How are we gonna get out of this jam?"
Cameron and Pearn have a serious thing for food puns, and appropriately so because that made for an excellent transition into the next portion of the presentation – Food Bites. After pointing out that the footage still needed some work, they indulged us with a string of clips from the film.
First up was a sequence showing Flint's first day at work. Pearn prefaced, "One of the ideas here is that Flint, as the backyard inventor in a town where nobody was like him, ends up going to high school sort of." Cameron added, "Where all the backyard inventors go to school." To the pep of "Mr. Blue Sky," we watched Flint make his way from a bus stop to a giant light bulb, the Live Corp. building. Once there, Flint is greeted by Schaal's Barb, self-described as, "one of Chester V's most brilliant innovations, an orangutan with a human brain within my ape brain, like a turducken."
Before moving on, she presents Flint with one of many soy lattes. Clearly the folks at Live Corp. have a bit of a caffeine addiction because there are caffeine stations every ten feet, some of which carry quinoa lattes, and caffeine patches available day and night. And Flint isn’t the only one there with a Chester V obsession. Right in the middle of the facility lobby is a motivation pod, which is basically a video featuring Chester V telling salivating employees that their ideas can change the world.
The next clip moved deeper into Live Corp., specifically to the very top of the light bulb. After messing up at work, Flint is called to Chester V's office and is sure he's going to get fired, but, it turns out, the Live Corp. head honcho has something else in mind. Barb takes Flint in and reveals Chester V's office, which looks something like a three-walled diorama. After teasing Flint with a technology that creates a multitude of Chester V holograms, the real Chester V reveals himself to tell Flint the cleanup operation at Swallow Falls is in trouble. He shows Flint found footage-style material of Live Corp. employees being attacked by a vicious living cheeseburger with french-fry legs and sesame seed eyes. Flint puts two and two together and realizes that living food must mean that the FLDSMDFR survived and is still functioning.
Chester V presents Flint with a BSUSB, a Bifurcating Systematic Universal Stop Button. Even though the device will enable Chester V to stop the FLDSMDFR and destroy anything it created, he needs to find the FLDSMDFR first, and that's where Flint comes in. To add a little extra incentive, Chester V tells Flint, "If you succeed, you'll be more than just a thinkquinaut, you'll be my hero."
After professing he won't tell a soul about his mission, Flint runs off to tell Sam the big news. Even though Chester V insisted Flint go alone, Sam is determined to go and before Flint knows it, he's driving off to Swallow Falls with Steve, Sam, Earl, Manny, and Brent in tow.
As a transition into the next scene, Pearn explained, "When they get down to the dock, Tim is there waiting with a boat and they all get on the boat and head back to home." On their way there, Flint runs through the plan – get to his old lab, use his computer to locate the FLDSMDFR, find it, and shut it down with the BSUSB. Flint assumes the venture will be as easy as pie until Earl spots actual pie, and then an entire food island.
Later on the group meets Barry, and while he's absolutely adorable, he only makes things more difficult by eating the BSUSB. While chasing Barry, Flint and the gang run straight into the jungle, catching their first glimpse of the variety of foodimals that now call the region home. Like in the trailer, we get our first look at shrimpanzees, mosquitoast, a plain old tomato, and loads more before zipping into a sequence during which the group chases a floating Barry down a river, over a waterfall, and into a gigantic coconut with watermelophants before finally concluding with Earl scooping up the little guy with a massive spoon.
But the action doesn't end there. The gang eventually comes face-to-face with one of those vicious cheesespiders. All of the foodimals are appealing, but this one is particularly remarkably designed. It's a regular cheeseburger, but not only does it walk on french-fry legs and shoot cheese in place of spider webs, it also rocks a striking effect when all of its spider eyes, or sesame seeds, light up prior to attack. Just when you think our heroes are done for, Chester V and Barb swoop in in a hi-tech plane of sorts to scare off the cheesespider.
Meanwhile, while Flint and co. are risking their lives to get to the FLDSMDFR, Tim is just hanging out on the boat with his new friends – pickles. The pickles have a Despicable Me Minion-esque appeal as they babble on in gibberish while Tim attempts to teach them how to fish, a moment that'll undoubtedly make you wish you could have a pickle for a pet.
Before wrapping up the presentation, Cameron and Pearn offered up a taste of the film's more emotional side, a scene during which Flint must choose between impressing his idol and respecting his friends' feelings. While this material does propose a serious challenge for our main man, the humor is still there and very cleverly woven in courtesy of the scene's setting, a syrup bog.
From there it was back out into the reception where we enjoyed foodimal-inspired treats like tacodile supremes and apple piethons, with a buffet favorite being the susheep. When we weren't eating the food, we had the opportunity to play with it. Pearn and Cameron manned the foodimal station where we got to make our very own foodimals. As much fun as it was bringing my own cucumber foodimal to life, the highlight was seeing how much Pearn and Cameron enjoyed the process, suggesting they really are the ultimate duo to bring the concept to screen.
As wonderful as it always is to enjoy free food and get sneak peeks at footage, this Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 event truly proved that the full feature is likely to be the ultimate charmer. Not only was all the footage notably vibrant and loaded with creative twists on popular foods, but the fact that the concept can be so much fun beyond the screen, whether it's getting a Barry the strawberry plush toy or making creatures with your own food, suggests "Cloudy 2" could be enjoyable enough to have a lasting effect well beyond the credits.