Immersed in Blu-ray: Cloudy 2

Catch the popular Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on Blu-ray (Sony Home Ent.).

Still delectable and visually more adventurous, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 looks stunning on Blu-ray (thanks to the Sony Pictures Animation team) and the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is dynamic. Directors Cody Cameron & Kris Pearn pick up four years later after Phil Lord & Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie) laid the foundation: Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) has gained more confidence socially. But his food invention has now morphed into dangerous mutations (Tacodiles, Shrimpanzees, Cheespiders, and Berry the Strawberry).

The storyboard artists-turned directors wanted to take it from a horror riff to a monster mash. Their frame of reference were such ’80s movies as The GooniesTeen Wolf, and Return of the Jedi. In fact, there was early fantasizing about having strawberry Ewoks.

“We did a lot of storyboarding at the end of the last movie with monster characters in mind but had to drop that because it was a different kind of movie,” Pearn explained. “But we had that itch. The first movie was about what hits you in the head and this one’s about what’s hiding in the shadows.”

Most of the action takes place in a Mary Blair-inspired jungle. “And for the food we kept that style where it still looks delicious,” Pearn continued. “And then transitioned that into our animal characters so that when you see a cheese spider in the dark, it still looks like it’s friendly-lit so that it’s something you’d want to eat.”

But Cameron said It drove the lighters nuts with less shadow and more color. “We used Arnold [the ray tracing renderer] even more so on this one,” he explained. “Our characters were not completely plug-and-play when we came into this and there had to be some adjustments to the rigs as well.”

The biggest advancement on Cloudy 2 was “Depth of Style,” where objects at a distance are placed live and the closer you get it becomes three-dimensional again and the farther away you get it flattens back out again. “But it’s less information for the computer to have to process when it becomes flat like that,” Pearn added.

Cameron underscored that while they obviously do realistic fantastically well in CG at Sony Pictures Animation, they wanted to continue with the same design look because Cloudy’s a very Muppety world.

Meanwhile, the conceit envisioned by production designer Justin K. Thompson was: What if Lockwood’s lab, which is a metaphor for his boundless imagination, fell over, and, like an egg, all of its contents spilled out and created this magical landscape?

“What I liked was that it was a way of letting the audience know we were in a magical place,” Thompson explained. “And the early developmental artwork was dark because you’re in a spooky forest, but once I added all the bioluminescence and the colorful plants, it brightened everything up and gave it life.”

Bonus features include: Four mini-movies (“Attack of the 50-Foot Gummi Bear,” “Steve’s First Bath,” “Super Manny,” “Earl Scouts”); “Building the Foodimals” “Production Design: Back in the Kitchen,” and the delightful 2D end credits sequence with Cody Simpson singing “La Da Dee” (see below).

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Annies, Below the Line, Blu-ray, Clips, Movies, previs, Production Design, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production

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