alifeenchanted: (light the night like the fourth of july)
Dreamfinder ([personal profile] alifeenchanted) wrote2012-03-03 07:22 am
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RIO Review

RIO came out in 2011. It's the story of a blue macaw named Blu, (Jesse Eisenberg), who has lead a domesticated life, being brought to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to meet Jewel, (Anne Hathaway), the last of his species. This caused some uproar among Pixar diehards, who said the idea was stolen from Pixar's since-shelved project, Newt. However, while Newt seemed to be a straight-up odd couple romance with a surprisingly heavy focus on breeding, RIO is, first and foremost, a story about finding one's true self. (Besides, the timing of the movies suggests that RIO and Newt would have been, at best for Pixar, being worked on at the same time, before either project was publicly revealed.)

But regardless, here is a quick, down and dirty look at what does and doesn't work in RIO.

WHAT WORKS:

The characters. Key to any movie is the characters, and RIO overs a wide selection of lovable losers and scamps. Each 'good guy' is endearing in a different way, though none so much as the lead, Blu -- Which, really, is as it should be. Blu is an awkward but good-hearted "nerd bird", and the type of character most of us have felt like at some point. The free-spirited, sassy Jewel is also quite likeable, while the supporting cast of Rafael, (George Lopez), Pedro, (will.i.am), Nico, (Jamie Foxx), and Luiz, (Tracy Morgan), are all quite amusing and simply cute. The humans are surprisingly endearing, as well, for a movie where the focus is on our fine-feathered friends. Linda and Tulio, (Leslie Mann and Rodrigo Santoro), are adorably geeky bird lovers, and Fernando, (Jake T. Austin), is a precious orphan boy who's hard not to love. Finally, we have our villains. While the main human villain, (Carlos Ponce), is fairly standard stuff, he's still definitely someone who's easy not to like. He also has a standard pair of dumb lackies (Jeffery Garcia and Davi Vieira), who don't bring much to the table in terms of threats or laughs. The real villain, though, is the deliciously heartless Nigel, a cockatoo and former telenovela star, brought to life by Jemaine Clement with nothing short of brilliance, which leads us to...

The cast. It's really a brilliant mix of voices, and for all the celebrity voice casting the movie uses, it doesn't suffer from it. Basically every single actor brings real emotion and wonderful comedic timing to the table. This includes a (surprisingly?) brilliant job by Jake T. Austin, who, really, works far better when playing an actual character than a wacky gag. I'm looking at you, Disney Channel. Granted, it is Eisenberg and Clement who really steal the show, but not so much that they overpower the rest of the cast. (And of course, when it comes to music, Jamie Foxx shines. Speaking of which...)

The songs. From a fun Brazilian beat that opens and closes the movie, to a hip-hop number by will.i.am, to a love song by Jamie Foxx, almost (see below) every song sung by the characters is a hit. Likewise, with the exclusion of the somewhat dull and lyrically gross "Funky Monkey", the additional number on the soundtrack are also stellar. The songs are incredibly memorable and catchy.

Blu's story. Blu's reconnection with his homeland of Rio is wonderfully told and well-paced. It's a story about getting out of your comfort zone to find out who you're meant to be, and it hits all the right marks for that.

The humor. Well, sometimes. It's hit or miss, but there really are some golden lines in there... Most of them belonging to Eisenberg or Lopez.

The secondary love story. Linda and Tulio's romance is sweet and believable, and leaves one feeling like they could watch a whole movie about that story even without the birds.'
The visuals. Between beautiful colors, adorable character designs, and lively animation, RIO has a lot to offer in terms of eye candy.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK:

The main love story. Blu and Jewel's romance doesn't seem to develop naturally at all, and it's hard to see them growing to care for each other. The pacing is forced, as well.

The villain in-depth. As wicked as Nigel is, his backstory leaves much to be desired, and his song is awkwardly unfunny when clearly trying to be. A creepy villain song, which is at least reached in the closing lyrics, would have been more fitting.

The humor. Again, it's hit or miss, and some of the jokes are just a little too obvious and simple.

The monkeys. Honestly, they feel like an extra, unneeded appendage. The movie probably could have been written without them, and scenes featuring them feel distracting ad out of the blue.

OVERALL:

Check it out. RIO is a fun, cute movie that's probably worth your time if you can get over the clunky handling of Blu and Jewel's romance. Even if most of the film doesn't win you over, the visual treat you're getting will insure it's not a waste of time.