Surfer Girl.....Thanks you've been great.
Chris Wedge and the guys behind Ice Age, Despicable Me and now Rio are vastly becoming the adorable handmade counterpart to Pixar. In comparison to Pixar's sweeping scope and ever expanding ambition, Wedge and co's films are a less spectacular but charming, often in their own folksy way. Rio is possibly the most visually opulent film these guys have done, making Rio itself a lovingly rendered carton wonderland, as vibrant as any make-believe animated reality. And while the film itself is more just kind of OK, generally being a little saccharine and bland, its a fun enough spectacle you can kind of relax on the uninspired core.
The plot sees Blu, a domesticated macaw, get sent to Rio so restart his species with A bird voiced by Anne Hathaway, except they get hindered by some bird smugglers and some on the run hijinks ensues. Blu himself is the kind of socially awkward, nerdy hero that seems to have consumed every form of film-making, and its getting a little tired now. I'm not saying get rid of the nerds, but it would be nice to see a different kind of protagonist once in a while. I miss confidence, man. Anyways, Jesse Eisenberg does what you'd expect him to do, Hathaway is suitably winning but the film is somewhat inevitably stolen by Jermaine Clement's villainous Nigel, with the Flight Of The Concords actor giving a nice, sardonic vibe to what is otherwise a world of bright lights and optimism. And considering this is a kids movie and all, I'd like to see some cynicism bouncing around. How else will kids learn. How?
The script is kind of a mess, with some awkwardly shoehorned in songs that feel a little forced, kind of in that early nineties way where being a musical is a contract stipulation, narrative organics be damned, and all of a sudden people would just burst into song. That kind of happens here. Hey, Rio is an inoffensive, lovingly realized adventure that you could pretty much watch with the sound off and equally get your money's worth, Its the kind of film I have no particular problem with, yet have no particular engagement with either. Perhaps because I'm a grown ass man, and not some Ritalin pumped pre-teen punk. Though I was once, and back then I reckon I would have liked it, with some blatant reservations and doubts. Because I was awesome.