Rio Movie Review: 3-D Flick Soars

April 15, 2011

While the animated 3-D movie Rio debuts in the U.S. today, internationally, the film thus far has taken off, after an opening last weekend in 72 foreign markets that garnered a $55 million haul. Not bad, eh? Check out my review of Rio below.

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Typically I’m not overly impressed with 3-D movies. But with three kids who have over the years begged and pleaded to see all the latest animated films in 3-D, I find it hard to say no. I go and for the most part am slightly disappointed in the effects. If I’m gonna pay more, I better be wowed. I always end up with a killer headache, too..heh. This time around, though, it was different. Very different.

From the folks who brought us the Ice Age films, Blue Sky Studios does an ahh-mazing job with their 3D animation set in the lush rainforest of Rio de Janeiro. We begin in the forest where right away you are enamored by the vivid colors of the assorted birds flying happily throughout. One baby bird in particular watches in envy, as he doesn’t know how to fly. Suddenly smugglers capture several of the birds, whisk them away in cages, including the baby bird, and they are en route to Moose Lake, Minnesota. While on the truck, the box that carries the baby bird falls off and lands in the street. A little girl named Linda happens upon the box, finds the baby bird inside and takes him home. She names him Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg). We see Linda (Leslie Mann) grow up over the years, (along with Blu) and now as an adult she is the owner of a bookstore where they also reside.

Tulio, a bird scientist from Rio de Janiero, arrives at the bookstore and reveals to Linda that Blu is the last known male macaw of his kind and must mate with a female in order to carry on their species. The only problem — the female is in Rio, of course. So, off to Rio they go. Little do they know that an adventure awaits them. Blu is introduced to Jewel (Anne Hathaway), who is kept in captivity at the shelter where the scientist works. We learn right away how fiercely independent she is, and could care less about Blu. The two birds end up getting kidnapped by Fernando, a young homeless boy, who brings the birds to the poachers. Nasty cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement) is in on it too, as he was already at the shelter under the ruse that he was sick. Blu and Jewel are chained together, which presents a problem since as I said earlier, he can’t fly. They do end up escaping from the smugglers, and the remainder of the movie follows the two as they embark on an adventure throughout the jungle, hoping to lose them entirely. Linda and Tulio, meanwhile, set out to find them. Fernando sees a flyer that Linda has put up regarding the birds’ kidnapping, feels guilt laden and decides to let them know about the smugglers’ plan.

Along the way, Blu and Jewel meet Rafael (George Lopez), who tells them that Luiz (Tracy Morgan) is the guy, or should I say bulldog, who can detach the chain that binds them together. Off they go to find him, but because Blu can’t fly it sets up for some funny scenes as he makes attempts to flap his wings and take to the air, but to no avail, even with Rafael’s tutelage. They stumble upon Pedro ( and Nico (Jamie Foxx), whom Blu had met previously, and those two left me laughing, smiling, and bouncing to the beat. And yes, I am going to download the soundtrack.

The rest of the movie is predictable, so we’ll leave it at that. Like I said, this time the 3-D was different for me, I was very much impressed, especially with the flying sequences and chase scenes. The vibrancy of the beautiful colors (the birds, the forest) splashed across the screen really took my breath away. Oh, and the Carnivale shots — beautiful! Gotta give thanks to the director, Carlos Saldanha, for paying tribute to his birthplace. Rio has now been added to my travel bucket list!

Eisenberg and Hathaway are surprisingly perfectly voiced for their macaw counterparts, and with a strong supporting cast, this 96 minute movie was quite enjoyable. Take your family, you will NOT be disappointed!

If you happen to catch the film this weekend, leave me your comments. I want to know what you thought of it!

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Photos: Adriana M. Barraza/Apega

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2 Responses to “Rio Movie Review: 3-D Flick Soars”

  1. 1
    Mandi Says:

    I feel like Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg would have pretty babies in real life too!!! :)

  2. 2
    Stacy Says:

    Looks so cute, gotta go see this one now!