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    April 7, 2011


    RIO (U)

    Genre: Animation/Comedy/Family
    Release Date: 7 April 2011
    Running Time: 97 minutes
    Distributor: 20th Century Fox
    Director: Carlos Saldanha
    Screenplay: Don Rhymer, Joshua sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, based on story by Carlos Saldanha
    Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann, Jake Austin, Rodrigo Santoro, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan

    Plot: Set in the magnificent city of Rio de Janeiro and the lush rainforest of Brazil, the comedy-adventure centres on Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), a rare macaw who thinks he is the last of his kind. When Blu discovers there's another - and that the other kind is a she - Blu then leaves the comforts of his cage in a small town in Minnesota and heads towards Rio. But it's far from love at first sight between the domesticated and flight challenged Blu and the fiercely independent, high-flying female, Jewel (Anne Hathaway). Unexpectedly thrown together, they embark on an adventure of a lifetime, where they learn about friendship, love, courage, and being open to life's many wonders.

    Review: If you are a fan of Angry Bird, probably you should check this out. The birds are now in revenge (well not technically speaking) against the poachers and avian smugglers, a reality in our world where thousands of species are threatened over our greed. So the sweet revenge, Rio is the fist animated flick from Blue Sky Studios since 2009's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Rio is a birdie story and like its title, it is all set in the city of Rio de Janeiro, a city we most probably familiar more for its samba and endless parades and carnival. Sure, it is a kiddo movie but how an adult like me sees it. Read on to find out more about Rio.

    Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) who is one of a rare species of a Spix's Macaw (critically endangered in reality), who is a resident at a bookstore in Moose Lake, Minnesota, and the last male of his kind. Blu has never tasted much of the life in the wild but he always get the uppermost treatment from his owner, Linda (Leslie Mann). He is pampered with hot chocolate marshmallow, lives comfortably with human for all these years but the unfortunate reality is that he cannot fly.

    When scientists learn that another macaw was spotted in South America and that the macaw, Jewel (Anne Hathaway) is female, Dr Tulio (a bird scientist) takes him out of Minnesota and send him to Rio de Janeiro to meet her. While there, he learns to confront his fear of flying in order to win her heart. Along the way, they get kidnapped by poachers to sell them to get a fortune. After they escape, they try to avoid the thieves and their pet cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement), with the help from Rafael (George Lopez), Luiz (Tracy Morgan), Linda (Leslie Mann), Flora (Wanda Sykes), Fernando (Jake T. Austin), Pedro (will.i.am) and Nico (Jamie Foxx), with a bottle cap for a hat.

    Now, here comes the review. Hats-off for the Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha, for his visionary to create yet another mesmerizing and colorful extravaganza movie that sets in his home town of Rio de Janeiro. In the past, we have seen many of his films like Robot or Ice Age trilogy but Rio could possibly be one of those movies that deserved recognition for his skills. I can't think off another director who is more suitable for this job. Been a Brazilian, his familiarity succeeds in bringing the audiences to settle down well with the movie. They are taken into a world of wonder - a place with spectacularly alive, engaging and possibly not a single soul will not in the end, fall in love with the majestic and rendered landscapes of the Brazil rain forest and the streets carnival.

    Not so much can be talked about its premise because it is an animation that aims for the family with kids. Children are most likely to be able to accept the movie for its straight-forward and mildly hilarious story that makes more senses (read Hop!). The plot takes in a lot of awareness for species conservation, the picturesque the reality in our nature as well as the kaleidoscope the life in Brazil. For such elements, Saldanha tries to infuse a lively Southern American-Samba beat with those realities. The end result is a satisfying movie that works pretty well because the audience will be able to see more vibrants of colors and souls on its characters, story and humors.

    The characterization in this movie is pretty much loud and solid for an animation standard. The characters are variety and interesting, yet possess believable and adhering bond. Imagine this - Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, an 'imaginary' oddly-macaw-couple that charms with witty lines and workable chemistry in the movie. Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Pedro (Will.i.am)'s presences in the movie is thoroughly fun and a sooth to the ears when they start banging out or whispering musics in the air. George Lopez's character as Rafael works solidly as the motivator and guide to the pair.The ensemble of casting is just excellent. Rio does not need to try so hard to impress the audience, yet it is uniquely able to charm the audiences naturally, not by forceful of trying to be funny.

    Rio is a pure entertainment that proves to be an effective animation for family fare. Rio contains some of the best landscape of vibrant characters, colorful extravaganza of cinematographic explosion of Rio de Janeiro and believable story to back its up. It is not a Pixar production, yet it fills in emotional journey that packs in with a lot of fun and wild riddance on the unlikely adventure. Rio is simply great!

    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.5
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