Cloudy with a chance of meatballs was a great film. Back in 2010 when it first hit cinemas, I remember being very indecisive about buying a cinema ticket, because it sounded ‘weird’ and out of the ordinary, so it's quite interesting to see that it is now being turned into a series because of its IP being a safer bet for investors than something new and out of the ordinary.
The film was great because its story was well structured with a proper through-line, it had really interesting characters that were wacky and eccentric, but also three-dimensional with empathic problems and obstacles.
The computer animation done at Sony Pictures Animation was also very well executed. Until that point, nobody was producing such exaggerated cartoony animation in computer animation. In fact, I would go as far as to say that nothing had been that well executed since Tex Avery was still in the business.
The film brought in $243 million in cinemas and a sequel was equally as successful. So it's no surprise to see Cartoon Network outputting a series. The series has been produced by Sony Pictures Animation, DHX Media and Corus Entertainment and they have used 2D digital animation techniques. With 52 episodes to complete, each at 22 minutes, you can understand the studio's producers decision to move away from the 3D production process of the film. For one, it would have been incredibly difficult to match the high standards of the feature film, which is naturally what people would have been comparing it with. The animation talent required may well not have been available (or affordable) and the technical wizardry behind the rigs and renders needed to support such wacky animation would probably have been out of the question too. It would have all come down to scale.
Whilst Digital 2D animation is not a lesser art form than 3D, it doesn’t require so much upkeep or front end time. There are also a lot more 2D animators available to work on shows like this, the process is not as convoluted as its 3D cousin and the software used is often quick and easy to pick up (if you already have the animation chops!).
It's sometimes annoying to see reboots and spin-offs of already existing IP, but there is a good reason for it. People find it easier to invest their time in entertainment when it is something they are familiar with and know they already like (why we have transformers 4, Jurassic Park 5 and The Land Before Time 20 or something.). Children are even worse. They get addicted to single films for months, they get obsessed with characters for years and most importantly they decide which toys, jumpers and bedspreads get bought from shops. This ultimately means that a child who loves the Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs films will be choosing to watch the show when it comes to Cartoon Network in March and all the interest and fanaticism that the films have earned over the years can be further exploited by all of their interdependent stands.
Investors will feel their money is safe and their chances of ROI is much higher than a brand new endeavour ever could be. Some consolation for this fact of life, however, is to remember that our industry is greatly stimulated by these safer ventures. Artists continue to be employed and new ideas stand more chance of seeing the light of day in an industry held up by tent-pole series like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
To find out more about the Cloudy with a chance of meatballs cartoon series, click here: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/tv/first-look-cartoon-networks-2d-cloudy-chance-meatballs-series-145968.html