Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), a flightless macaw, is living the good life in Minnesota with his owner and best friend, Linda (Leslie Mann). An awkward Brazilian named Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) interrupts their cozy world requesting the two return to Brazil with him to a bird conservatory. Tulio’s goal is for Blu to meet feisty blue-feathered Jewel (Anne Hathaway), another macaw, so the two rare birds can keep their species from going extinct. Timid Blu and Linda head south for the winter where adventure awaits. With the vibrant colors and sound of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival in the background of this fun animated film, RIO is an amusing story that the entire family can enjoy.
My first encounter with the characters of RIO was when I played the Angry Birds Rio App on my iPad. Being a bit flighty, I did not realize the connection between the App and the movie so I felt really smart when I finally put the two together from the start of the movie. All of my favorite characters from Angry Birds Rio are present, including the monkeys I love to hate. Which, in the film, the monkeys add some of the better comical relief so now when I fling the birds toward those laughing monkeys while playing the game I feel a teeny bit of guilt.
Some of the best moments in the film are with the supporting characters. One of my favorite characters is the villain cockatoo, Nigel (voiced by Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Concords). There are great songs throughout the movie and I’m thankful the filmmakers put Clement’s voice talents to work for Nigel’s solo about being bad. Way to own it Nigel! Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Pedro (wil.i.am) as the super fly street birdies have a nice chemistry and provide fabulous one-liners and musical moments. I wish that they would have played a lot more wil.i.am’s Drop It Low song as a single line does not cut it in my book. I want more Drop It Low! Without missing a beat, the filmmakers did a tremendous job capturing all the rhythm and sounds of Brazil that can be heard throughout the movie.
George Lopez’s toucan, Rafael, is a solid character and Tracey Morgan’s slobbery bull-dog has some great bits too. The fight between the birds and monkeys is brilliant, especially the moments leading up to their throw-down. I found myself laughing out loud when I saw the text message between the monkeys. Funny stuff.
All the praise for the supporting characters and music aside, I cannot say that I was over the moon in love with this cartoon. I did not really like Anne Hathaway as the voice behind Jewel. For some reason I was hoping for a Brazilian accent and something less ‘perfect’ sounding. Her song was fine but it didn’t get me shaking my tailfeather like the others. Eisenberg did a good job sounding like a bookworm but I think I preferred the scenes with the supporting cast more than his love interest. The macaws did not hold my attention as they were intended to do as lead characters. RIO will entertain but it is not on the top of my animated features list.
Video (Widescreen 2.40:1): Great picture for all the vibrant colors of Rio de Janeiro.
Audio (5.1 DTS HD Master Audio): Audio was perfect for all the musical numbers and beats.
Deleted Scene: Fruit Stand (1:29): A drawing of a deleted scene that was wisely cut.
Explore The World of Rio (1:01:03) An interactive map where you can explore all that Rio de Janeiro has to offer. Everything from the Beach, City, Jungle, and Stadium is featured on this map. You can really spend a lot of time going through all of the items within each location.
Saving the Species: One Voice at a Time (24:49): A look into the voice acting combined with the animation process. Also includes interviews with the cast and animators.
The Making of Hot Wings (8:02): wil.i.am talks about the music making process for the song. We also see the interaction with Jamie Foxx and wil.i.am and hear how all of the filmmakers loved watching the two work together.
Boom-Boom Tish-Tish: The Sounds of Rio (13:30): Director Carlos Saldanha walks us through the sounds, beats, and rhythms heard throughout the movie. I really enjoyed this segment seeing all of the musicians collaborating and freestyling the music featured in the movie.
Carnival Dance – O – Rama (10:58): Get ready to shake your tail feather! Choose Blu or one of his friends and learn their dance moves. Or choose Samba Line to dance along with the whole gang! I learned some sweet new dance moves from this feature…
Welcome to Rio Music Video (1:37)
Taio Cruz – Telling the World Music Video (1:54)
Rio De Jam-eiro Jukebox (8:34 ) Five of the songs featured throughout the motion picture.
Postcards From Rio This feature allows you to create your own postcards from RIO. You can capture moments from your favorite scenes and transform them into a postcard.
The Real Rio (9:31): The filmmakers, cast and crew all praise Rio de Janeiro for being a visually striking city. Director Carlos Saldanha highlights the trip of taking the art directors to all of the locations in the movie to make sure the film is authentic. This feature sort of felt like you were watching someone else’s home movies.
Again – I will announce my displeasure of no mention of the Drop It Low song anywhere on the special features. EVERY OTHER SONG in the movie is highlighted and featured but not this one. SIGH.