No joke, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is our favourite animated comedy of all time. Frankly, there's a good chance it's the best film ever made in the history of cinema. It's got everything: giant flying food, an adorable geek with an awesome haircut and a monkey thought translator. The jokes are laugh-out-loud funny too -- it easily passes the Kermodian rule of six laughs. But what, if anything, does the 3D version add to an already perfect movie?
We're confirmed 3D sceptics. As movie lovers, we can't really see what an extra 'dimension' can bring to the medium that skilled direction, nuanced writing and great acting can't. When it comes to animation, however, we're a little more willing to put aside our concerns and enjoy the experience. This film is aimed at families after all, and 3D's gimmicky, pokey-pokey charms appeal to kids above all.
The 3D on Cloudy is technically very polished. We watched it on the superb Samsung C8000 LED TV -- a highly enjoyable experience. Part of this is because Samsung's eyewear is the most comfortable and unobtrusive we've used, and partly because the 3D on this Blu-ray is well-designed and easy on the eyes.
The key to good 3D is to not over-use the 'things coming out of the screen' effect and instead concentrate in giving the movie depth. 3D causes problems when things fly out of the screen at you, because millions of years evolution make your eyes focus on things coming towards you quickly. As these 3D objects aren't really where your brain expects -- you don't focus on them in the same way as real life -- it can be disorientating and headache-inducing. Meatballs uses depth well, in Flint's techno-lair in particular, and generates real awe when pasta's raining down from a great height.
Cloudy's rich, animated colours aren't too badly damaged by the 3D glasses, which reduce colour and light by a significant percentage. This, coupled with good 3D design, means this release is more spectacular than it is brain-aching.
Meatballs is such a brilliant movie that the 3D neither perfects it nor ruins it. While we don't suggest you throw all your 2D equipment in a skip just to get in on the 3D act, if you have the gear already, this disc is a superb way to showcase what the format can do. We don't envisage being so positive about live-action 3D movies any time soon.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 3D will be available on 14 June, and it should cost you around £15. If 3D doesn't interest you, the standard movie is £10 for a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack via Play.com, and is available now.