A movie that I was skeptical on seeing at first has worked its way into my heart as a new favorite. Carlos Saldanha wrote a storyline well-known to all, but with many new facets audiences may have never scene.
‘Rio’ captures its audience right from the start: with an up beat, bouncy musical number, the opening sets the tone of entertainment for the movie. Being set in Rio de Janeiro, there is never an end to the use of color. Species upon species of birds fill the screen showing the audience every color palette imaginable.
Immediately the audience is captivated in the story the main character, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) has to share. The audience witnesses the hardships in the beginning of Blu’s life, instantly creating empathy for the blue macaw that is almost tangible. Upon meeting his best human friend (not owner), Linda, Blu’s life starts looking up — only he is taken out of his normal environment and taken halfway around the word to a small snowy town in Minnesota.
Finding out that he is one of the last of his kind, Blu is taken back to his original home in Rio to meet and have relations with the last female blue macaw, Jewel (Anne Hathaway). While in Rio de Janeiro, Blu and Linda are taken on the adventures of their lives — that they never could have had in Minnesota. Being back in Brazil introduces the audience not only to the plethora of colors ‘Rio’ exhibits, but also the music that seamlessly captures the mood of each scene.
Using mostly Samba music, ‘Rio’ allows the audience to enter the world of Brazil and have a good time doing so. Even when things get rough, the music doesn’t disappoint. With fast-paced chase scenes, solemn arguments and even the renowned parade of Carnaval, the score of this show never misses a beat.
Not only is the music flawless in ‘Rio’, the computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the film is brilliant. Being a stickler for great animation and a long-time Disney fan myself, I always thought 20th Century Fox was lacking in the animation department. However, in ‘Rio’, the CGI was not generic: each character had his or her own walk, swagger, lip movement, wing flapping, even blinking was individualized, giving each character of this film their own distinct personality. Proving Fox knows a thing or two about4 animation.
The characters’ personalized animation added to the voices each star depicted. Jesse Eisenberg, most recently thrown into the mainstream for portraying Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The Social Network’, has just the right amount of geekiness in his voice to depict how awkward Blu is among not domesticated birds. Anne Hathaway creates a tad bit of a snobby, uppity tone with Blu and along with the other characters, and didn’t sound like her typical Princess Mia self. This change isn’t bad for Hathaway, just surprising and is a different role than she typically plays.
George Lopez is his normal funny man self, with his well-known raspy voice being the input of advice to Blu and Jewel in the movie. Will.i.am and Jamie Foxx have the role of the comedic relief and also create many of the up-beat songs for the score.
With everything skillfully done in ‘Rio’, it’s kind of disappointing to know it fell into the trap of the 3D fad. Many movies are being solely filmed in 3D — with no option of seeing the film sans the dorky glasses. Although some scenes, like the hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro or many of the flying scenes create outstanding 3D effects, many a scenes in the film didn’t need the extra animation — or an extra $2.50 per ticket.
Despite having to shell out extra cash to see this film, ‘Rio’ was brilliantly concocted. Its cast, score, animation, usage of color, etc. recreates a classic story of friendship and love while maintaining its originality. ‘Rio’ is one film you should fly to the theater to see.