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Blu-ray review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

If you want a terrific animated movie to show off your home cinema, might we humbly suggest Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? It's a hilarious showcase for perfect picture and sound quality

Home Entertainment

Perhaps it's the drop-dead gorgeous animation. Maybe it's the story of geeks who come good. Or, possibly, it's just that there's a monkey with a thought translator -- but we adore Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It's not too preachy either, despite having a couple of worthy morals to impart. Having said that, this isn't a Disney film, so there's no obvious attempt to make you cry for the first 10 minutes before rushing out to buy something with a copyrighted mouse stamped on it.

The movie itself is based on a bestselling children's book, about a frustrated inventor whose machine for turning clouds into food is unexpectedly -- and alarmingly -- successful. Cloudy has been animated in a way that keeps the cartoonish charm of the story, and, like the wonderful Up, doesn't attempt photo-realistic people. This is the right approach to take, because it gives the whole thing a warmer feel.

Each of the character voices are chosen with skill rare in animated movies. We're certain you won't care who lends their vocal talents to this film, because you'll be far too busy falling in love with the people they portray. But in case you were wondering, Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Mr T and the legendary Bruce Campbell are all involved.

Most crucially though, we laughed from start to finish. The showers of food become more outrageous as the movie goes on and whatever makes you laugh, we're sure this movie will have something that tickles you. There's slapstick humour, amusing social commentary and most importantly, a talking monkey -- could anyone want for more?

The Blu-ray disc earns much credit from us for not making the same mistakes as other recent releases. The menus are simple, but functional, so loading the disc doesn't take an eternity. The extras are recorded in HD, and the audio soundtrack is glorious DTS HD MA, which is the best possible audio experience you can have at home. The making-of docs and extended scenes are fun and entertaining to watch too.

The Blu-ray doesn't have any sort of 3D capabilities though, which might disappoint people who enjoyed the cinema experience. What you do get, however, is the most beautiful picture quality you can imagine. Animation always looks amazing -- even on DVD -- so that's not a surprise. But we'd be very surprised if the combination of HD audio and stunning 1080p doesn't make this a Blu-ray demo disc for many proud home-cinema owners.

What's more, the Blu-ray edition comes with a DVD version too. This might not sound that useful, but owners of children will tell you a second DVD copy will stop your precious Blu-rays from being used as a rusk, and can easily be used in the car with a cheap portable player. Maximum peace and quiet on long journeys -- at no extra cost.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is available from Monday 25 January, and costs around £15 for the Blu-ray/DVD combo and £10 for the DVD-only edition. If you don't utterly love this film, you're dead inside. Just saying.

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