Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Nostalgia

I'm not sure exactly when Ariele got her copy of Judi and Ron Barrett's Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. She was either one or two years old, but she says "I don't ever remember not having that book." I would put her to bed each night and not only would we read the book from cover to cover, she always wanted to play the "Show Me" game which meant that I had to pick out some obscure object or person on a particular page, and it was her job to locate it. It was kinda like our own personal "Where's Waldo" game. It was easy and fun to do with this book because there was so much going on with every page. The tradition continued as both Hannah and Calla got old enough for me to read to them at bedtime as well, and that old book became worn and tattered as the years passed. Several years ago at Christmas, with all three girls in college, I got each of them a brand new copy of the old book we had all loved, and gave it to them in their stockings at Christmas.

It was spring of this year when, Ariele heard the rumor that there was going to be an animated movie based on the book. We were, of course, excited until we saw a brief trailer. The animation didn't look like the illustrations in the book at all, and it was obvious there were major plot changes in the storyline. Our hearts sank. This summer when Calla and Ariele and I were at the midnight show of the latest Harry Potter movie installment, they ran the theatrical trailer for the Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs movie, and again we were disappointed in what we saw. There was also that same night a trailer for the amazing children's classic "Where the Wild Things Are", and not only were we blown away, but the trailer got a round of applause when it concluded...yup, the trailer...I was shocked... and still disappointed that CWACOM was not going to make the grade.

Well here we are in September and the movie opened here in Austin and around the country to decent reviews. It was actually the highest grossing film in the country last weekend, so I couldn't help it...I went tonight to see it. Not only was I not disappointed, I was delighted. Yes the storyline doesn't look much like the book's, and the animation is completely different than the illustrations in the book...and it is in 3-D. It may come across as a little preachy on the subjects of relationships to parents, taking care of the environment, wasting food, and world hunger, but this film was cleverly written and voiced, and those are all messages children and adults in our world can't hear often enough. Even the 3-D worked to enhance the experience and not detract from it.

But...mostly the movie tonight was a trip down memory lane for me, as I remembered those nights at my children's bedside, reading and laughing and ending the day in a way that no mom or dad can get enough of. As parents, we have worked all day long, either at a job or as a caretaker at home for our kids (sometimes both), but those few, precious moments are cemented in their hearts, and in ours, for eternity.

Keep reading, keep talking, keep praying with and for you kids,



1 comment:

Tammy said...

love this post, David. I need to make sure I'm reading with my kids every night. "Life" gets in the way WAY too often! I, too, love this book! Have been reading it to kids at school for a Long, long time.