When the first "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" film was announced, some people were skeptical about how the revered children's picture book would translate into an animated feature film. But after it whipped up a deliciously clever visual feast, naturally, folks clamored for a second helping.
In the first film, inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) banded together with a group of oddball characters — meteorologist intern Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris), super cop Earl (voiced by Mr. T), Chicken Brent (voiced by Andy Samberg), jack-of-all-trades Manny (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), and Steve the Monkey (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris) — to take down his ersatz, tidily-named FLDSMDFR machine, which was causing giant food to rain down from the sky.
Watch the theatrical trailer for 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' here:
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" is set "literally 60 seconds after the first film ends," according to the film's directors, Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn. The sequel takes the characters on a madcap adventure from Swallow Falls to San Fran Jose (wonder where that's supposed to be?) and then back to Swallow Falls again, this time to destroy the FLDSMDFR for good.
Among the film's new faces (or rather, voices) are Will Forte as Flint's childhood science idol, the hologram-loving genius Chester V, who offers Flint a job at the tech think tank Live Corp; Kristen Schaal as Chester's assistant/creation Barb, an orangutan with a human brain; and Terry Crews stepping in for Mr. T as Earl.
So, what can we expect from the new film? We visited Sony Pictures Animation this past Monday (alongside a handful of other journalists) and got a sneak peek at some sweet new footage. We also got the opportunity to speak with several members of the voice cast and crew, including the film's directors, and voice actors Hader, Farris, and Bratt.
Here are the five tastiest tidbits we picked up from our trip:
1. Whereas "Cloudy 1" took its cues from disaster movies, "Cloudy 2" takes on a different genre.
The first "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" dealt with some mouth-watering, destructive weather, but the second film is a take on a different kind of destruction — monsters. Says Cameron, "Well, 'Jurassic Park' was the big [influence], obviously, because we have like a watering hole, with the Richard Attenborough of Chester's beard, and Laura Dern outfit that Sam [Sparks] is kind of wearing." But the filmmakers also took cues from classic '80s movies like "Return of the Jedi," "E.T.," "The Goonies," "Gremlins," and there's "definitely some 'Teen Wolf' in there."
The film's new edible monsters include a set of pickles set on eating sardines, a very cute strawberry named Barry, terrifying cheespiders (cheeseburger spiders), and one very frightened leek in a boat.
2. Directors Cameron and Pearn fleshed out their "foodimal" idea by actually carving some of them out — and naturally, they had us try it out too.
Among the first foodimals (a mashup of "food" and "animal," if you couldn't tell) created were the film's pickle ruffians and a prototype Barry berry. And how did the film's directors, both accomplished storyboard artists, bring their ideas to life? Simple — by actually creating fruit models of the creatures they wanted to make.
The "Cloudy 2" crew had the journalists at the event try to recreate some of the film's foodimals with real food, and while the lemmins (lemon lemmings) and tomatoes (just tomato) turned out great, this writer's bananostrich (banana ostrich)? Not so good.
3. There's a smorgasboard of foodimals in "Cloudy 2," but one particularly delicious creature didn't make the final cut.
Whereas the first "Cloudy" film suffered from technical difficulties when rendering foods like broccoli and popcorn, the sky was the limit when it came to what the filmmakers could bring to life with this film.
But according to Cameron, "On this film, there wasn't anything that didn't look good, but there was a Tyrannasmoreus Mess that was kind of like a T-rex s'more monster that was in a scene where they were crossing the creme brulee glacier, and that scene got cut from the film, so that monster kind of left. But it had a marshmallow body, graham cracker mouth, with kind of chocolate teeth, and it breathed fire so it could caramelize the creme bruleé."
4. Lest one think "Cloudy 2" is going to be all about the food, there's tons of character building as well.
Though Flint might be a brilliant inventor, Hader admits that his character is way more well-versed in science than having a human relationship: "Well, Flint wants to get the girl in the first movie, and in the second one, he doesn't know how to hold onto her..." Faris chimed in, saying, "He sorts of takes Sam Sparks for granted," to which Hader replied, "They start dating, and he immediately takes her for granted, as dummies are wont to do."
This fact was cemented in a clip we screened, where Chester V and Barb land on Swallow Falls to follow up on Flint's mission to destroy the FLDSMDFR. When Chester V makes fun of Sam's meteorologist background, instead of backing her up, Flint joins in mocking her. While in the first film, the relationship between the two was as sweet as Jello, things aren't as smooth this time around for the kooky, science-obsessed duo.
And for Flint and his father Tim (James Caan)? Screened clips of the film show Flint and Tim failing to connect, despite having been brought together in the first film, but no worries: Tim has his hands full teaching the aforementioned pickles how to fish for sardines, and he treats these little veggies like "surrogate grandchildren," according to the filmmakers.
5. If the voice actors could pick any of their characters to bring into the "Cloudy" universe, they would pick:
Anna Faris: "I gotta do Jane from 'Smiley Face.' I mean, she would freeeak out." — we bet she would.
Bill Hader: "Stefon [from 'Saturday Night Live']. He would love it." — there's really no place for terribly named, bizarrely conceptualized nightclubs in Swallow Falls, but where there's a will...
Benjamin Bratt: "Is there room for a gangbanger in this? El Gallo Negro from 'Blood In Blood Out.' " — and here we have the beginnings of the first R-rated "Cloudy" film.
BONUS: When asked if they would come back for a "Cloudy 3," all three actors said yes. So hey, you never know: we might be getting a third serving of Flint Lockwood and Co.
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" opens in theaters on September 27, 2013.
SLIDESHOW - CLOUDY