Business rating: 2 stars
Voice cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, will.i.am.
What’s Good: The amusing story; the characterisations of the birds; the animation and cinematography.
What’s Bad: Although cute, the screenplay lacks rib-tickling humour.
Verdict: Rio makes for light entertainment.
Loo break: Not really!
Watch or Not? Definitely go for it. But do not expect a laugh-riot.
Blue Sky Studios’ Rio is the story of a blue macaw bird that goes on an adventure and finds the courage to fly, for the first time in his life.
Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), a domesticated blue-coloured macaw from small-town Minnesota, has spent his life in luxury with his owner, Linda (Leslie Mann), and has never had the need to fly. But when Fernando, a bird researcher from Rio de Janeiro, tells Linda that Blu is probably the only male bird of his species left alive and that it must mate with a female blue macaw, Linda agrees to take Blu to Rio. Scared and hesitant, Blu faces Jewel (Anne Hathaway), the female macaw. But even before they can get to know each other, they are captured by poachers. Linda and Fernando are unaware of the birds’ fate till the next morning after which they start looking for the birds on the streets of Rio.
On the other hand, Blu and Jewel manage to escape from captivity with the help of two other birds, Pedro (will.i.am) and Nico (Jamie Foxx). They even give the poachers’ evil Cuckatoo, Nigel, a slip. But now the macaws are chained together and must make a long and arduous journey to the mountain top in Rio to meet one Louiz, who can break their chain. While Jewel is extremely impatient to be free, Blu can’t fly at all. Jewel teases Blu as he is a domesticated bird. But Blu, unaffected, continues to take her taunts as he wants to get back out of the wild as soon as possible and find Linda. Also, slowly but surely, Blu starts falling for Jewel.
Does Blu manage to reunite with the owner? What about the bird poachers? Does Blu learn to fly? Does Jewel fall in love with Blu?
Story and Screenplay – Rio Movie Review
Rio, coming from the creators of Ice Age, is a cute film but falls short in the humour department. The film has all the ingredients of a good animation fare: lots of funny characters, an appealing story, good music and even a few action scenes. But Don Rhymer’s screenplay is linear and the primary conflict of the story – that Blu can’t fly – has not been exploited to the hilt. However, it must be added that the film provides for fair entertainment and will appeal to audiences of all ages. The animation is top notch and so is the beautiful recreation of the streets and slums of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s annual carnival festival, as the backdrop of the action scenes, also adds ample colour and glitz to the second half.
Voice Cast – Rio Movie Review
The voice-acting is top notch. Jesse Eisenberg (as Blu) is excellent. Jesse indeed excels in roles of nervous humans (or birds). Anne Hathaway (as Jewel) is also good. Jamie Foxx (as Nico), will.i.am (as Pedro), Leslie Mann (as Linda) and Jake T. Austin (as Fernando) provide able support.
Direction – Rio Movie Review
Director Carlos Saldanha manages to maintain the swift pace of the narrative, which is in turn helped by a very good background score (by John Powell) and a couple of peppy songs (by will.i.am and Sergio Mendes). Cinematography, by Renato Falcão, is visually appealing.
The Last Word
All in all, Rio makes for a good watch. Expect it to do fair business at the Indian box-office.