Carl the Critic: Reviews "Rio"
Carl the Critic: Reviews "Rio"
Experience/Expectations: I feel that Pixar's trend of Oscar TM winning films has come to an end, or at least I hope it has. I love Pixar films, they fail to make bad movies but ever since "Ratatouille" Pixar has won every Oscar TM for Best Animated Feature. This year I feel confident that "Rio," an animated feature by Blue Sky Studios the same people that made "Ice Age," will give Pixar's "Cars 2" a run for its money. I was not sure what to expect (I usually don't when it comes to animated films) but "Rio" was an even better movie that "Rango." Although that's not saying much, let me assure you that compared between the two, "Rio" is the equivalent of every single Pixar film ever made so far (without counting "Cars 2" because that hasn't come out yet.) It is the best film of the year so far, with hilarious gags, beautiful and fluid animation with intricate textures and colors, a beautiful and rhythmic score that made all the adults and kids in the theater dance, and the story was original.
Story: A blue macaw has been taken from his home in Rio de Janeiro, and is found in Minnesota by a sweet little nerdy girl named Linda. From that moment on they grew to love each other and the macaw, who is cleverly named "Blu," becomes more and more domesticated. Many years after he was found, a man named Dr. Barbosa, a bird crazed ornithologist, who tells Linda that "Blu" is the last male of his kind and that he must come to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil so they can repopulate the species. But there is a problem which is clearly introduced, Blu can't fly, he was too domesticated. Eventually Linda agrees and so they go to Rio where conveniently the great celebration of Carnival has just begun. When Blu meets his soon to be mate "Jewel," a free spirited bird who hates cages with a heart burning passion that can't be expressed in words, they are kidnapped by a gang who have an evil cockatoo named Nigel. But eventually Blu and Jewel escape but are chained together and meet some strange, samba loving birds who help them get free of their chains and try to help Blu learn to fly, and approach women.
Critique: I'm calling it right now, if Cars 2 gets an Oscar TM for best animated feature I will sorely be disappointed. It is quite clear that "Rio" is a work of pure artistic genius, and deserves the award. It felt like watching "Lion King," with the beautiful music, animation, choreography (well as much as an animated movie can be credited for) and the meandering story structure. There is a clear change in character from a nerd bird who can't fly to a not so much but still sort of nerdy birdie who can fly (it's not a spoiler because this happens every time in animated movies, an animal needs to gain the ability to do something its species is suppose to be able to do, and then after a life changing event it finally achieves that ability.)
Is it cliche? There are certainly some cliches but they are mostly minor things that have nothing to do with the main conflict. And if it did it was because it works with the story. There are some monkeys that have no purpose in the film except for brief comic relief, and the animation of Luiz the dog was kind of disgusting, he kept drooling out rivers of saliva which might make some people a little bit squeamish. But I fell like those are minor things and besides, the kids don't care if the dog is drooling a lot, to them drool is cool.
The voice acting was brilliant, I never knew Will I Am could act as good as he did, God knows that everything else he did was either mediocre or minor, but his role in "Rio" was one of my favorite parts of the film. I did feel that Jesse Eisenberg was trying a little too hard at being the geeky character he usually is, but even he was amazing (and I never knew he could sing.)
Overall: Boy oh boy, this is a movie not to miss. It is original, beautiful, musically rhythmic, and a work of pure genius. I have to give it a 9.6 out of 10, it is one of the best times you'll have at the movies no matter what age you are.