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In Rio de Janeiro, baby macaw, Blu, is captured by dealers and smuggled to the USA. While driving through Moose Lake, Minnesota, the truck that is transporting Blu accidentally drops Blu's box on the road. A girl, Linda, finds the bird and raises him with love. Fifteen years later, Blu is a domesticated and intelligent bird that does not fly and lives a comfortable life with bookshop owner Linda. Out of the blue, clumsy Brazilian ornithologist, Tulio, visits Linda and explains that Blu is the last male of his species, and he has a female called Jewel in Rio de Janeiro. He invites Linda to bring Blu to Rio so that he and Jewel can save their species. Linda travels with Blu and Tulio to Rio de Janeiro and they leave Blu and Jewel in a large cage in the institute where Tulio works. While they are having dinner, smugglers break into the institute and steal Blu and Jewel to sell them. Linda and Tulio look everywhere for Blu, who is chained to Jewel and hidden in a slum. Meanwhile, Jewel ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nothing new, but look at that breathtaking scenery. Wow!
Rating: *** out of 4.
I usually don't like movies like RIO, mainly because they always end up being rehashes of previous movies; unless your talking Pixar, there's very little to no new things in animated movies nowadays other than their exquisite looks. So when I saw a special advanced screening of RIO a few days ago, my expectations were low, enough for me to expect that the film will fail. But hey, what a surprise! It's pretty good actually. So RIO ain't a new masterpiece-it's not at all much different with any Dreamworks or Blue Sky Animation effort that comes out every given year- but it was fun. The kids at the screening had a ball with it, but I can also hear older teenagers and adult audiences chuckling along with them. And I'm up there with them.
The story isn't something you haven't heard before. Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) is a rare Blue Macaw raised in Minnesota by the bookish Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann). But being the last male of his species, Blu is requested to leave his Minnesota homeland and shipped to his real birthplace, in Rio de Janeiro, where a female of the same species is being kept in captivity. Blu doesn't warm up easily to the impetuous Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway), and certainly a rare bird such as her being kept in captivity like that doesn't help. It also doesn't help that Jewel wants to escape and Blu, being a total "housebird" and all, can't fly.
But what it lacks in a fresh new idea it more than makes up for in lively execution. This movie is just amazing to look at, boasting one of the most gorgeous looks of any animated movie since some of the Pixar films and the occasionally bizarre but lavish-looking BEE MOVIE. It may even be more beautiful since this is exactly what it wants to be and not much else. Director Carlos Saldanha, who helmed two ICE AGE sequels, and the rest of the crew have done just that. The eye-popping visuals are the moneymaker and one of the few films to come out once and a while that is worth paying extra money to see on 3D. Once again, the 3D ain't something groundbreaking, but it's exactly what comes to mind when thinking of 3D; the visuals are pristine and dynamic, with flying scenes that are just breathtaking to watch. I could almost feel the wind as a glider glides past the Christ the Redeemer statue. Rio itself looks gorgeous, from the "Carnival" parades to the look of it during the nighttime scenes are just beautiful. If nothing else, it's a virtual tour of a beautiful portrait painted by Saldanha and his animators. The voice cast ain't bad either. Eisenberg is hilarious, and granted he'll be doing these kind of work sometime soon. The real standout is Jemaine Clement (from FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS), who lends an irresistible bad guy charm as a cockatoo named Nigel. Hathaway, George Lopez, will.I.am and Jamie Foxx all fulfill their roles perfectly.
RIO ain't much new, but at least I enjoyed it for what it is. And I wouldn't mind going back to it during its official release and wallow in the dazzling scenery again. Here's a movie meant to be done (and seen) on 3D.
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