Posted on 10/11/12 06:58 PM
Rio is a rather childish entry into the animation department, that lacked any qualities that could make it an "instant classic" among the genre. I realize that calling an animated film "too childish" doesn't exactly sound like an insult to the film, but in a post-Pixar world I've come to expect a bit more maturity from animated films. Still, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't feel like tapping my feet to the beat of the music in the second half of the film.
Given its Latin setting, this film had a lot of potential that it only somewhat lived up to. I can only imagine the possibilities this could have had if Pixar was at the helm. The poor animation quality (most noticeable in the human characters) is occasionally distracting, but luckily the exuberant, vivid colors made up for it - and the Brazilian beats only help. The scene when Blu and Jewel first take flight above the city of Rio de Janeiro is as breathtakingly beautiful as its seemingly low-budget animation quality allows.
Some of the voice acting is quite good. I'm not exactly a fan of Anne Hathaway or George Lopez, nor am I a fan of Tracy Morgan but I think they did a good job with their voice work. However, Jesse Eissenberg seemed like a strange pick for the lead. I liked him in The Social Network, but he doesn't seem to have the vocal charisma to work well as the lead. In a way, I guess, his awkwardness did fit the personality of the character he was portraying.
Despite its shortcomings in its maturity and originality, the vibrant colors and catchy songs make for a fairly entertaining children's film. I enjoyed the second half considerably more than the first, which is the half that matters most. I can't imagine this going down as a classic like Toy Story or Beauty and the Beast, but Rio is still a colorful animated treat, full of fun beats and a wonderfully Brazilian vibe.