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Jesse Hassenger’s “On Friends and Food…” Is Not for the Casual Reader

In response to Jesse Hassenger’s 781‑word review of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on PopMatters 

http://www.popmatters.com/review/175582-cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-2-food-comes-alive/

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Jesse Hassenger’s “On Friends and Food: ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’” would more appropriately be titled “On Friends and Food and Animation Studios.” Your enjoyment of the review will correspond directly to how interested you are in an in-depth look at the last three decades of feature film animation. Assuming you find the subject interesting, this is a great review.

Hassenger’s decision to zoom out from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is nothing new, as many reviews spent a large percentage of their word count discussing the merits of the other animated films (most commonly the film’s direct predecessor). Hassenger doesn’t buck this trend, instead whole heartedly embracing it in one of the most ambitiously broad works of recent memory.

Hassenger spends a lot, perhaps even most, of his time establishing his credibility by marching the audience through the history and development of rival animation studios and their various philosophies. While it alternates between insightful and obvious, this approach does a lot in placing Cloudy 2 in an understandable context. The end result is that readers can appreciate the film for its unique position as well as what traditions it seems to carry on.

It’s not a short work, certainly not for the faint of heart. If you’re going to read it, you simply must commit to it. It’s dense and thorough, but rewards the faithful reader with rare and valuable insights.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation