Checking out the ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ Blu-ray event

Cloudy_Bluray00smlSeveral months back, Nerd Reactor was invited to join the new adventure of the Swallow Falls gang and the return of the “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator” (or FLDSMDFR) out on the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 media junket. We have since returned to these grounds and were able to meet some of the minds behind the film and get a chance to encounter some of the new features associated with the upcoming Blu-ray release.

David Feiss, director of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 mini-movies.

David Feiss, director of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 mini-movies.

Beyond the core movie, we were guided to Sony’s screening room to see the four fantastic additions, all of which you’ll find packed into the disc. Given full creative power to Hanna-Barbera veteran David Feiss (Cow and Chicken, Open Season), he was able to have fun with it and use whatever he can to provide viewers with a good laugh. When viewing these short films, there is a clear and easy-going style that is understandable and possesses the zany humor recognized among the Cloudy characters. To touch on the short movies, there are “Attack of the 50-Foot Gummi Bear”, “Steve’s First Bath”, “Super Manny” and “Earl Scouts”.

“Attack of the 50-Foot Gummi Bear” is based on Steve’s classic obsession with Gummi Bears, but one particular gummi manages to get a hold of an invention Flint created to become a 50-foot gummi of mass destruction! A classic monster fight erupts, as Steve tries to subdue the gummi before Flint finds out what transpired. Being a fan of giant monsters who terrorize a city, I was really engaged with this mini movie! “Steve’s First Bath” finds Flint needing to alter the flow of his intended romantic date with Sam, after a particular monkey-cleaning invention classically goes awry. “Super Manny” is a side-story that summons the skilled cameraman to the rescue of a wayward kitten, using his wit and crane-permit to doing the impossible! “Earl Scouts” finds the antics of a pickle foodimal and strawberry foodimal, under the tutelage of Earl, to surviving a wilderness trek that quickly shows the relationship between the foodimals. What is key towards the charm of these mini-movies is the understanding of what makes each of these characters charming, emphasizing it, and exemplifying it through scenarios we would not otherwise see in the core film.

Cody Cameron demonstrating the creation of the foodimals.

Cody Cameron demonstrating the creation of the foodimals.

After viewing these short movies, we met with Cody Cameron, one of the Cloudy 2 directors, and viewed a demonstration of how he came to create some of the foodimals. Although the process of creating these foodimals were often simple, the very fact that they were created with such simplicity lended itself towards an endearing design-frame that is reminiscent of Jim Henson’s muppets. Several of the children who were invited to the event were also given the opportunity to make their own foodimals, putting their own spin of what was demonstrated by Cody himself.

IMG_0502Before meeting to interview with Cody and the others to get their take on Cloudy 2’s processes, we walked through the halls that showcased storyboard and design details for the upcoming Hotel Transylvania and the various art design boards that went into Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. We were given a brief showcase of the animation area, seeing storyboards and concept panels, before meeting with some of the creative folks behind the film.

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IMG_0511First we met with Cody Cameron again, who shared his thoughts and approach to the film, having previously done voice work on the Shrek saga, while also contributing to the voice of Barry the strawberry. Having worked on the movie for the last few years, the detail and passion Cody possessed for the film is both heart-warming and genuine. There is a sense of completion and embrace that translates from his personality as it went into the film, alongside Kris Pearn.

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IMG_0512Like Cody, David expressed an appreciation for the 3D medium as it gives the characters a sense of completeness. And while David is a traditionalist, being one of the artists in the days of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, he has since harness the power of the WACOM Cintiq and uses good ol’ Photoshop to assist his artwork and storyboarding.

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IMG_0495If you watched the ending credits for the movie, you’ll notice that it had various elements of stop-motion animation aside from 2D Flash animation elements. Seeing the translation of the 3D elements from the film into the end credits was a fun treat for animation enthusiasts, creating an expansion of the world now that foodimals have been integrated into Flint and Sam’s world.

Cloudy_Bluray01smlDuring our lunch on the lot, we were able to interface with the iOS app that was developed to work alongside the Blu-ray disc. Several activities were made available for use on an iPad, featuring several of the beloved foodimals. Whether it was trying to spot Barry amidst a crowd of strawberries, or fishing with Mr. Lockwood and the pickle siblings, these simple activities were casual and easy to engage. At that same time, I caught sight of something very interesting. Barry and Dill dashed over to the dessert table and I was trying to figure out, “What’s going on?” When I saw what Barry was looking at, it made total sense! At the table, a set of strawberries were sitting on a plate. I could only imagine whether it was shock or excitement going through Barry and Dill, seeing the strawberries!

For those who were not able to catch the critically acclaimed hit, or have fallen in love with Flint Lockwood and his crew, you will soon be able to relive the journey and the charm of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. The release of the Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital versions will be available January 28, 2014.

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