Time to SALSA!!!!
Rio is the place of l'amour. A place of exotic wonders and fantastic sites. The place where the forbidden dance of Salsa can be proudly hailed. Indeed, one could truly say that Rio is a dream paradise. Rio can be a wonderful place full of exotic wonders, and the chance to embrace true love. Or is it? From the creators who brought you "Ice Age", comes a brand new animated comedy about a rare domesticated macaw named Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), who finally meets the bird of his dreams. Unfortunately, Blu and his new girlfriend, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), are kidnapped by poachers, who wish to sell them to the highest bidder. Now, with nowhere to go, Blu and Jewel must escape from the poachers before it's too late. I would say more about the story, but I don't want to give away too much. However, what does transpire from here is an epic animated adventure that the entire family will fall in love with.
Sure, it's predictable and tragically cliched. Hell, I'll be the first to admit that the love story for this film seems like it was ripped off from "Lady and the Tramp" from Disney. You know, the one about the rugged street dog falling in love with a sophisticated house pet. Unfortunately, with the minor exception of the gender reversal, "Rio's" love story kind of seems set up the same way. Sure, there's a few scenario changes here and there, but the love story about two animals being from two different worlds that hate each other, then fall in love seems a bit over done if you ask me. As I said before, "Rio" won't win any points for total originality, as it's still fairly cliched and predictable.
Then again, what animated kids film isn't these days? The important thing about a family film is that it's enjoyable enough to where both adults and kids can watch it. Where an adult won't feel bored out of their minds watching a bunch of kiddie crap, but rather entertained with a lot of clever humor that's still sensible enough for kids to pick up on as well. That's basically what you want from a family animated film, and "Rio" delivers on it perfectly.
Although to be fair, "Rio's" emphasis on the main character, Blu's, point of view does add a lot more focus to the film than Disney's "Lady and the Tramp." Blu is just another domesticated house pet, who enjoys living his cushy life with his master, Linda (Leslie Mann). Never yearning to branch out on his own, and he can't even fly. The metaphor that "Rio" uses for Blu's lack of flight capability is quite brilliant and subtle. Obviously, his lack of flying capabilities shows the viewer that Blu has lived a very sheltered life, and doesn't know how to fend for himself. This is apparently more obvious as the movie plays out, as Blu's flight capabilities is really a metaphor for Blu's freedom. His social independence if you will.
Of course, let's not forget about the animation that was simply beautiful in this movie. Everything from how the feathers moved to how beautiful the beaches of Rio was captured, it was all simply too beautiful to watch. Although I would hardly say this film contains better animation than "Rango", it still does contain a lot of impressive visuals. If you can afford to see it in 3-D, then I would highly recommend it. If not, then the animation is still very well designed.
As for the voice acting, there's really not much more I can say. Other than "Rio" probably has some of the most amusing side characters ever conceived in an animated movie; thus that has to count for something. Although I will say that I loved the chemistry between Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway, as their romance kind of reminded me a lot of Woody Allen's brief love affair in "Antz."
Overall, I would have to give "Rio" a three out of four. It's not the best animated film out there, but it's definitely one of the most entertaining by far. Definitely a treat if you can see it in 3-D.