I make no secret of the fact that I still really like cartoons and comic books. Entertainment material written for children is frequently far more interesting, imaginative, and deep than the endlessly recycled fodder that keeps getting repackaged for grown-ups to consume. So I continue to watch them. In fact, the last time I went on a date-like date I went with Prime to see "Shorts" in Boston.
Anyway, last night I watched "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" long-distance with Prime, and the movie almost got it. I am all for kids' movies that hype the coolness of science, such as "Meet the Robinsons" or "Dexter's Lab" and Cloudy tried really hard to do so. It accomplished the hype, but unfortunately it did so so well that it completely rolled right over a potentially great sub-story that could have brought the science hype to a perfect boil. In the movie, Flint is the errant mad scientist son trying to save his sardine town and inadvertantly makes food weather while Sandy is the weather channel intern who gets sent to the island right as the weird food weather starts happening. It turns out that Sandy, who was sent for being so very perky and nice, was actually a meteorology nerd growing up and that she chose to stop wearing her glasses and let her hair down to become socially accepted. Flint puts her glasses back on and likes her as a fellow hot science nerd, but then makes the mistake of ignoring the warnings of her science when his own mad science begins to roll out of control, thereby stunting her nerd-ful self-actualization. And even though Sandy goes on to help save the day with Flint, she still winds up in a backseat role and is never redeemed by her science in the face of those who made fun of her.
The film could have been a much more positive role for all young people seeing science if it had not just shown science as the province of a crazy dude and rather shown the benefit of including the female nerd's scientific expertise as equally valuable. That being said, Flint's habit of narrating his actions ("Planning! Welding! Wiring!") was pretty awesome, and it does not detract from my urge to wear a full-length cape at the lab bench sometimes.
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