U – 96mins – Animation/Adventure/Comedy – 8th April 2011
Rio is an animation from the same people that brought us Ice Age and so it has a fair amount to live up to. It follows the tale of a blue macaw, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) who is bird-napped as a chick and smuggled into the USA to be sold. During the move though, he falls from the back of the truck and is found by Linda (Leslie Mann) who takes him in and looks after him.
The years pass by until Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), a extremely bird obsessed ornithologist pays them a visit and offers them a chance to come to Brazil as Blu is the last male of his species and the last female, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), resides in Rio. Blu (who cannot fly) has lived a sheltered, comfortable life with Linda and is all the more happy for it whereas Jewel is the stark contrast and longs to be free from the cage that restricts her as she has tasted freedom before. So when the two meet, the fun starts to happen.
First off, Blue is one happy bird with the animation and his characteristics reflecting that. You immediately like him and this feeling doesn’t fade with time. In fact each character has their unique quirks which enables the comedy to flow seamlessly. I was never gulping for air but the jokes are well written and non-stop with the movie certainly having its moments.
Rio, the movie, brings alive the carnival nature and flamboyant mood that one normally associates with Rio, the city, by including a couple of musical numbers into the story. Unfortunately they are not up to the standard of Disney- they are not very catchy or memorable. It’s more pop music and rap with Will.I.Am lending his talents to the vocals than the traditional song associated with animations. The background music however certainly get across the energy and vibrancy of Rio with plenty of samba flooding your ears from the off.
The visuals of Rio are impressive (though not quite as good as Rango) and during the flying scenes in particular the city and its surroundings are well captured with many of the iconic landmarks easy to spot. It probably helped that the director Carlos Saldanha was born and raised in the city and so was able capture the true feeling of the place that other directors would not have been able to.
Did this live up to Ice Age then? Very nearly and I wouldn’t mind watching it again to see how it handles a second viewing.
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