When Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, meets the fiercely independent Jewel, he takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with this bird of his dreams.



Rio is a pure formula picture and there are many elements have been in other films, such as Blu being taken from the wild as a chick, the animosity between Blu and Jewel and we all know where it is going to lead, the story of Nigel having a tragic past and being rejected, etc, etc…. But formula does not have to be bad and when done right it can easily lead to an enjoyable film for all the family. Director Carlos Saldanda certainly made a fast paced adventure with a great amount of velvet colour. There is a more old-fashion feel to it, like Disney films and its copycats in the 90s. Pop-culture references are toned down and there are a few musical numbers which is rare in CGI animated features. The animation itself has a similar look to Pixar’s particular the human characters, though Túlio looks very similar to the main character in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The animation of the parrots climbing is particularly well done and true to live to anyone who has ever own one.

However, everything else about the film either left something to be desired or was executed improperly. The finale seems to be wrapped up so quickly. It’s been building to this moment right here for an hour and a half. For everything to culminate so hastily followed by an even faster epilogue made it all feel very rushed. Rio also doesn’t take the necessary steps to build foundation into your emotions either. Every time it touches on a heart wrenching moment for one of the talking animals we’ve grown attached to, it seems like it jumps back to silly shenanigans too quickly for it to make any sort of impact on you. Eisenberg oozes apprehension and trepidation with every line as the cowardly dork, Hathaway packs gusto as the spunky foil against Eisenberg, and Foxx have perfect comic timing playing off each other’s lines, and Clement chews up his great one-liners with menacing glee you may be keen to know that he also co-wrote the song “Pretty Bird”. Their chemistry is palpable from start to finish, and their exchanges throughout the film are nothing less than spirited and lively.But a lot of the energy in “Rio” is visual, courtesy of Saldanha’s eye for detail and aptitude for action. The animation of each one of the characters, lead or supporting or even extra, is exceptional, their respective characteristics distinctive and inspired. The colours- unlike the duller, wintry landscapes of “Ice Age”- are dazzling and vibrant. And most of all, the action sequences best appreciated in 3D- a flight over Rio with a panoramic view of Guanbara Bay, a narrow escape over the rooftops of the favelas, and the climactic finale through the crowds at the city’s annual Carnivale festival- explode with vigour and verve reminiscent of that in the city’s signature samba music, whose Latin rhythms add generously to the film’s oomph.

The Blu-Ray comes with a DVD and Digital Copy to make this the complete entertainment package. The A/V Quality sports a reference quality 1080p transfer that is easily one of the best of 2011. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track is pretty robust, but the soundtrack is all over the place. It’s either too loud during action or too soft during dialogue. The rest of the special features range from deleted scenes, featurettes and related EPK stuff that shows you how Blue Sky has raised up under their own power to become a CG Animation powerhouse. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.



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