Making its debut on home tvs via the magic of premium cable this weekend was last year’s animated flight of fancy, “Rio”. Brought to you by the creators of “Ice Age”, the film features celebrity voicing courtesy of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Will.I.Am, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan and Jemaine Clement.
It tells the story of a Blue Macaw (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg), “Blue”, who was raised in captivity as a pet. When it’s discovered that he’s one of the last remaining birds of his species, he’s returned to Brazil with the intention of mating him with a female Blue Macaw (Anne Hathaway) who is currently held in captivity.
Of course, she’s not too keen on the idea. Nor is she fond of being held in captivity. So it’s not long before the mismatched couple are on the run… With one major problem.
“Blue” can’t fly.
“Blue” was captured in the wild as a chick and brought to Minnesota to be sold as a pet. Raised indoors, he never had need to learn to fly.
When a South American bird expert convinces Blue’s owner to bring him back in order to repopulate the species, it seems a safe enough proposition. Yet poachers are after the rare and valuable birds, and Blue and his arranged mate, Jewel, are soon birdnapped. The duo manage to escape, but find themselves in quite a predicament. They’ve been chained together at the ankles, and Blue is forced to confess that he can’t fly. Chased by the poachers, and separated from Blue’s owner, the two have a lot to deal with in the jungles and city of Rio… Including each other.
What ensues is well done piece of animated fare. Between the aerial sequences, the colorful jungle/South American setting and the high calibre animation, “Rio” is visually impressive. Big, bright and bold. It’s also filled with musical numbers and action sequences, as so many animated features are.
“Rio” is loaded with celebrity voices, and Will.I.Am and Jemaine Clement both helped create songs for the film. It comes across, too, the songs are unmistakably theirs. I particularly enjoyed Clements’, it was very reminiscent of his “Flight of the Conchords” work. But all the voices are very good, Tracy Morgan is totally credible as a slobbering bulldog, an Eisenberg is the perfect choice to portray the neurotic Blue.
I don’t know that “Rio” will ever be mentioned as one of the shining examples of the genre… It’s not all that “deep”? I guess, if such a thing can be said about an animated movie? It’s relatively light, let’s just say that. But it was still gorgeous to watch, and very entertaining.