David Feiss | 15 mins | Blu-ray | 1.78:1 | USA / English | U
On Blu-ray, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 comes with a selection of four “mini-movies” — that’s “shorts” to you and me. When the film debuts on Sky Movies Premiere tomorrow, each screening will be preceded by three of these, under the Extra Toppings title.
Kicking things off is Steve’s First Bath, in which Flint explains to Sam why his attempts to wash the monkey led to their big romantic date taking place at a pickle restaurant. Then, in Super Manny, everyone’s favourite pint-sized cameraman has to get to the studio on his day off, but his journey is blighted by the misadventures of a cute kitty. Finally, Attack of the 50ft. Gummi Bear! sees Flint’s latest invention cause havoc when his favourite confectionary bear gets super-sized.
Also on the BD, but not Sky Movies (though it is on YouTube), is Earl Scouts, in which policeman Earl takes a strawberry and pickle camping (Foodimals, not normal ones, natch) to teach them a valuable life lesson.
The best of the bunch is Super Manny, because Manny’s always fun and it’s the most inventively zany. Worst is Earl Scouts, because it’s just a poor Tom & Jerry / Itchy & Scratchy riff — Sky viewers won’t be missing much by not seeing it. Attack of the 50ft. Gummi Bear! falls somewhere between those two stools, as I suppose does Steve’s First Bath, though slightly less objectionably so — there’s fun to be had in how it sets up Flint’s grand uber-romantic date, then how it’s trashed by Steve and the robot built to wash him.
All of the films are animated in good ol’ 2D, in a rough collage-y style reminiscent of the main films’ credits sequences. Clearly someone felt troubled about doing 2D spin-offs from a 3D-animated film, though, because most start with a CG opening that over-eggs the need for excuses to be in 2D. Why not just get on with it? The only bookend sequence that actually ‘works’ is Steve’s First Bath; though, fortunately, Gummi Bear doesn’t even bother with one.
On the whole, the shorts are passably entertaining if you like slapstick-y 2D animation and want to kill quarter-of-an-hour (or 22 minutes with Earl Scouts thrown in). But there’s nothing particularly innovative or original about any of them — certainly not worth going out of your way for.
Cloudy 2: Extra Toppings is on Sky Movies Premiere tomorrow at 1:15pm and 6:45pm. The premiere showings of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 follow at 1:35pm and 7:15pm. You can read my review here.