Fox's Blue Sky Studios has been milking the "Ice Age" franchise long enough. Now, they're ready to take flight, thanks to "Rio." This little birdie has soared at the box office, raking in roughly $296 million to date.
"Rio" is the story of Blu (voiced by "The Social Network" star Jesse Eisenberg), a dorky, completely domesticated bird, who just happens to be the last male macaw on Earth. However, he soon has to leave the confines of his Minnesota home and travel to Brazil to mate with Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and save the species. Needless to say, things go horribly wrong and he gets separated from his equally awkward owner (Leslie Mann).
Rio is certainly one big game of "whose voice is that?" Expect to hear the pipes of George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, will.i.am, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement (who is especially wonderful as the wicked Nigel), Wanda Sykes, and Jane Lynch. However, it's not so much about the voices as it is the color and the colorful music.
It's easy to see what you'll be in for with the film's opening number. It's one big, choreographed birdfest, with some seriously rump-shaking music. The songs aren't as memorable as a "Be Our Guest" or "Hakuna Matata." That said, the music and visuals are really where "Rio" excels, and should entertain the G audiences that the film is geared towards.
As far as the 3D is concerned, "Rio" is a mixed bag. That opening, the climactic Carnivale scene, and some of the moments that are seen in the trailer have the best "pop out" 3D moments. Besides a few of in-your-face segments, the film has really nice depth overall. It's wonderful in close-ups as well as aerial shots. That's the good news. Sadly, there are plenty of not-so great 3D elements, too.
First of all, there are a lot of moments in this movie that are moving way too fast. Birds don't slow down because they are in 3D, you know. During those harried moments, the 3D comes off a little blurry. The moments are fleeting, however. The real crime is that "Rio" falls victim to a common 3D problem where the tech tones down the overall color palette. Color is insanely important to this film; it's almost like its own character. It's not horrible, but there seems to be a really gorgeous movie in there somewhere. The 3D just seems to dampen that a bit.
Is "Rio" a great movie? Not really. However, it's not so bad, either. You could do a lot worse when it comes to kids' movies. That goes double for the 3D. Like "Toy Story," the 3D doesn't make this movie better; it just makes it slightly more enjoyable (and expensive!) for parents.