Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Kate del Castillo
Animation | Adventure
8 April 2011
20th Century Fox
Rio the 3D animated film which is all set to launch in April 2011 Fly on with the adorable macaws from RIO is a story of a nerdy macaw who leaves the comforts of his cage in small town Minnesota and heads to Rio de Janeiro. He embarks on the adventure of a lifetime, learning to open himself up to all that life has to offer along the way. Rio is an upcoming 3D animated movie, the comedy-adventure centers on Blu, a rare macaw who thinks he is the last of his kind.
When Blu discovers there’s another and that she’s a she he leaves the comforts of his cage in small town Minnesota and heads to Rio. But it’s far from love at first sight between the domesticated and flight challenged Blu and the fiercely independent, high-flying female, Jewel.
Unexpectedly thrown together, they embark on an adventure of a lifetime, where they learn about friendship, love, courage, and being open to life’s many wonders. Rio brings together a menagerie of vivid characters, a heart-warming story, colorful backdrops, energizing Latin and contemporary music, and family-friendly song and dance.
There is nothing especially ingenious about the story of Blu, a domesticated macaw who has never learned to fly. This home bird is voiced, however, by Jesse Eisenberg, Oscar nominee (The Social Network), the funniest neurotic in town and an indication of the film-makers’ desire to go with quality. Blu thought he was the last of the macaws, but then is taken to meet his female counterpart Jewel (Anne Hathaway), unhappily captive down in Rio de Janeiro. These birds may be of a feather, but their introduction isn’t promising: he’s twitchy and timorous, she’s a feisty miss who wants out of her cage. Then – caramba! – the pair get kidnapped by lowlife smugglers, make an escape and fall into the busy whirligig of life that is Rio at Carnival time.
From its opening bird chorus in the jungle to the swooping aerial shots of the city, the film bewitches the eye with its movement and colour. It’s always on the go, yet never seems to be trying too hard. In a zippy supporting cast there’s much to enjoy in the matchmaking toucan, a serenading canary (with a bottle-top for a hat) and a gang of thieving monkeys, whose chief wears a gold wristwatch around his waist, like a prizefighter’s belt. The wild card, though, and the best reason to see the film, is the villainous cockatoo Nigel, voiced with delectable malice by Jemaine Clement. Nigel, an ex-soap opera star who lost his role years ago to a younger, prettier parakeet named Patricius (“a common Paraguayan name”), now wears the furious, dishevelled look of a bird with a grudge.
His story comes out in a wonderfully droll song, co-written by Clement, that brags of his unregenerate wickedness: “I’m a feathery freak with a beak/ A bird murderer/ You think you’re better than me?/ I never heard of ya. ” I’d watch the whole thing again just to hear him loftily dismiss the monkeys and their stolen bling: “Your burgled baubles bore me. ” George Sanders couldn’t have said it better.
The story settles into well-worn grooves as the two macaws, chained to one another by the ankle, reach for a more lasting bond amid the chaos. Yet even when the invention droops its high spirits never flag, and the leads – Eisenberg in particular – charm us all the way to the finale. No, not Pixar standard yet, but Rio will more than do for now.
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