Rio has probably some of the best animation I've seen in a while. This animation seriously matches up with Illumination studios and Dreamworks, and that's saying a lot from the people who made Ice Age, Robots, and Horton Hears a Who. The colors and lighting in this film really do shine and make this probably one of the most vibrant looking animated films I've ever seen, and in 3-D this film just looks incredible and just pops out. The animation and lighting for the musical numbers also pop and look just as vibrant and colorful as say Cats Don't Dance, or even some Disney movies like Oliver and Company.
Now in terms of animated films voice acting is one of those delicate things that has to be held with caution. Now animated films have done poorly in terms of entertaining me when it comes to the voice acting, *FLAME SHIELD* such as Happy Feet, with some of the most annoying singing voices and voices i've heard in an animated film. Or Hoodwinked Too Hood vs. Evil, which has probably the most obnoxious villain voices in the world not to mention one of the worst and most obnoxious animated film plots of all time. But thankfully, Rio doesn't fall in this category in the slightest, in fact without a lot of these voices, I couldn't see this film doing that well. Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Will. I. Am, Jamie Foxx, Jermaine Clements, George Lopez all do incredible jobs, and without these voice actors, the songs in this movie would be nowhere near as good as they were. Each voice was picked very well and just match these characters very well, unlike the Blue Sky movie Robots, which many of the voices just seemed to be picked due to how popular these actors were and not due to how well their voices suited the characters and were just flat out annoying and forgettable performances *CoughHalleBerry CoughPaulGiamatti.*
Now the musical numbers.....MY GOD!!! This movie has probably the best original soundtrack I've ever heard in a film in my entire life. The energy, the lighting, the vocals, they just are all blended together perfectly in these musical numbers and truly just match the environment in this film and just look and sound incredible. Special mention to my favorite song in the film being hot Wings done by Jamie Foxx and Will. I. Am.
The sheer look and energy put into this musical just show how much effort these animators put into this film and how much effort that Foxx and Am put into this song and how much fun they clearly had working on this. Also Anne Hathaway already being a great singer does a great job singing with Jesse Eisenberg who up to this point hadn't had little to no singing experience. The only real song I didn't like was surprisingly Nigels song, done by Jermaine Clements. The main reason I find this shocking being the fact that Clements is well known as being one of the lead singers in the duo singing group The Flight of the Conchords, and does have professional singing experience and has for a while, but his song just really annoys me and I don't really see much of a beat in this song. But other than that song these songs are the best I've heard in a film in a while if not of all time.
Overall Rio is like its music, beautiful, entertaining, colorful, and well sung. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who loves vibrant musicals or just fans of animation in general, you will not be disappointed.
Telling the story of a young Blue Macaw (unimaginatively named "Blue"), the film gets off to a promising start with a musical samba reminiscent of the Tiki Room at Disneyland, penned by famed Brazilian Sergio Mendes (you probably have to be of a certain age to have any connection at all to his hit making machine "Brazil 66").
We witness the capture of a fledgling Macaw who is transported for sale to Minnesota where he is taken in by a young girl. The scenes showing their bond and home life are very sweet and humorous, and it's only when the rest of the humans, especially the dorky Brazilian bird expert show up that the film loses a bit of luster.
What drives the story, as the bird expert explains, is that Blue is the last remaining male Blue Macaw and there is only one other of their species left - fortunately a female. This is a bit of a hard fact, and of course is totally glossed over in this feel good film aimed at the under 12 audience - to the point that the villains of the piece are buffoon caricatures who are nowhere near as vile as they should be. I imagine that after this film there was probably a rush at exotic bird stores as the little kiddies wanted a blue of their very own - similar to what happened when 101 Dalmatians was first released... which misses the point entirely.
However, social commentary aside, the film does have some nice points to it, including some hilarious characters - first and foremost a slobbering bulldog voiced by Tracy Morgan. The story also has a villainous bird, with a delightful upper crust Brit accent and a gang of small monkeys who rob tourists of their bright, shiny things. After introducing the monkeys the villainous bird tries to coerce their aid in finding the then missing pair of macaws. When the lead monkey, using a gold watch as a bling belt, asks what's in it for him, the bird snatches him up, high above Christ The Redeemer, and then drops him, casually drifting down as the monkey falls and asking himself rhetorically "gee, what could I offer you in return for your services?" Too funny!
Once the monkeys are on the lookout more hilarity ensues. When one spies the macaws, he whips out a stolen cell phone and texts back to the leader, who is sitting on another cell set to vibrate (uh huh, you got it). When he finally pulls out the cell phone he looks at the screen to see the text: "ooh, ooh, ah, ah" - gotta love it!
The climatic chase scene through Carnival unfortunately involves the humans, and while visually stunning, seems to go on a bit too long (odd in a film with barely an 80 minute run time) - and in the end, well.... What do you expect?
Of course you could do much worse as far as animated "kiddy" type films go, and I'm going to recommend this one for the humorous bits and the beautiful eye candy, though I'm still cringing at the lukewarm, feel good relationships between not only the macaws, but the girl and the bird expert - which fall in direct contrast to the more real, love/hate relationship between the Toucan (voiced by George Lopez) and his wife.
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Summary: When a cooped-up macaw named Blu leaves the confines of his birdcage behind for the tropical climes of Rio de Janeiro, he's forced to wing it and re-examine everything he knows about life -- and being a bird.
My Thoughts: "Rio is a cute, funny, charming film with a sweet love story. The character's are a lot of fun and so is the movie. The film is entertaining for kids and adults alike. Visually the film is quite beautiful with all the great colors floating through the movie. Great music too. Definitely one everyone can enjoy."
Blu: Yes. I can't fly, I pick my beak, and once in a while I pee in the birdbath!
"Join the party!"
Despite being a really good looking animated movie, I really didn't enjoy Rio all that much. When a movie is about 30% music and the music isn't that good, there's going to be problems. The voice cast left a lot to be desired. I did, however, like Eisenberg, Hathaway and Mann. But putting George Lopez's annoying voice in the movie was a horrible mistake. Then they compound that with an even more annoying Tracy Morgan, even if it is a small role.
The movie is way more annoying than it is funny. I could definitely tell when it was trying to be funny, but I only ended up laughing once or twice and those were chuckles at best. The movie has it's likable qualities, but never really sets itself apart from all the other animated children's movies. But it is sure t entertain kids, so I guess that's enough if you are a parent.