I went into this expecting to completely love it, which may explain why I was kinda dissapointed by it. Like others have said, it's not a "bad" film, but...
I thought that it actually got off to an extremely strong start. The opening sequence in Rio blew me away, and the one that followed effectively set up the relationship between Blu and his owner. Like Blu, she herself is more comfortable with captivity, choosing to interact with her pet bird more than she interacts with actual human beings. Add to that that they can't "talk" with each other, which made these scenes all the stronger.
Funnily enough, it was when the story kicked into gear with Blu and Jewel getting bird-napped that it started to fall apart for me. Was it just me, or did the bird smugglers come dangerously close to being ethnic stereotypes? I won't lie and say that they weren't kinda amusing, but the fact that the lead guy even had dreadlocks made things a little uncomfortable. I also found the fact that the "good" white characters were mistrusting of a boy of another color to be a little...odd. I know that they weren't intending to make them appear to be "racist" or anything like that, but it still struck me as unusual that they even had that in the movie in the first place.
And then there was the evil cockatoo. I thought that this character was going to be a hoot, and in a way he was, but perhaps he could've been more of one if the writers had actually played with his backstory more. I loved that he hated pretty birds because he was replaced by one on a TV show, but this was mentioned so quickly that it didn't really register. And his song was so short that it really didn't leave much of an impact at all.
Actually, most of the songs are like that. The thing about "Rio" that I was looking forward to the most ended up being the most dissapointing, in that all of the songs here are literally only about a minute long. And most of them end very abruptly, either interupted by a joke or a villain popping in. It's almost as if the producers were afraid that audiences wouldn't go for a musical, which is why they wanted to make the musical numbers as short as possible. But funnily enough, that's one of the things that they've been marketing the most about this film!
And then there was the story, which ended up repeating itself over and over again. The characters wander around the jungle, run into an obstacle, and then overcome with little or no trouble, with one of the pointing out every other minute it seems that Blu can't fly. Now, I know that we all walk into animated movies knowing that there will probably be a happy ending, but it would be nice if "Rio" could've created a little tension in that regard. Everything was so by the numbers here that the instant that Jewel and Blu parted ways in a huff, I knew that Jewel would get kidnapped, leading once again to the tired formula of the hero needing to rescue the heroine. Granted, that can sometimes work if done right, but here it felt like it was being done just because it had been done many times before.
Eisenberg just distracted me. It wasn't that he was bad or anything, but I just couldn't get "The Social Network" out of my head whenever he spoke. And this comes from someone who normally never gets that way about celebrity voices, and actually even enjoys them most of the time. I mean, it's not like I had any problems with Hathaway, who has done animation before and sounds natural (plus, she gets to sing a little, which is nice because she is very good at that). How come I had a problem with Eisenberg and not her?
I feel like I'm possibly being a little too negative here. As others have pointed out, the animation is really great. Blue Sky always has awesome visuals, and since "Rio" is their first CinemaScope feature, the colors sometimes seem to burst off the screen. The biggest treat was probably the parade, which featured huge crowds and had real "scope" to it, especially in 3-D.
I may like this movie more with a second viewing, when my expectations have been rightfully lowered. As others have said, it is enjoyable in its own right. But like its main character, I felt that it was content staying where it was, constantly getting its feet off the ground but rarely being able to achieve true flight.
Last edited by Dacey
on April 18th, 2011, 6:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift--that is why it's called the present."