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Rio - Blu-ray Review

{2jtab: Movie Review}

Rio

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2 stars

Splashy but predictable and a wee bit uninspired, Rio will certainly keep the kids in check but adults looking for something a bit more out of the unusual will have to go elsewhere.  It’s from the makers of Ice Age – and while that might garner some attention from media-starved kids – you get exactly that from its story and its jokes.  Animation is all the rage these days and Rio is part of the reason; it doesn’t take the best of scripts to make them serviceable only a whole slew of voice talents.  Unfortunately, Rio is the bottom of the barrel in what we’ve grown to expect from animation.

Blu (perfectly voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) is a rare macaw.  Since he grew up in Minnesota with his owner Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann), Blu does not know how to fly nor does he know anything about his species.  He’s perfectly content with his book-store domestication.  One day, a Brazlilian ornithologist named Tulio (voiced Rodrigo Santoro) pays the book store a visit and convinces Linda to bring Blu to Rio so that he can mate with his female blue macaw Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway).

Let the adventure begin…sort of.

Blu and Jewel, of course, are kidnapped by a vicious gang of bird smugglers, headed by Marcel (voiced by Carlos Ponce) and a cannibalistic cockatoo named Nigel (voiced by Jermaine Clement).  Together, the two macaws make there grand escape and encounter all manner of foul creatures – including Rafael (George Lopez), Pedro (will.i.am), Nico (Jamie Foxx) and a bulldog (Tracey Morgan) – as they try and survive and learn how to fly in the streets of Rio.

Blue Sky has delivered a remarkable scenic location.  It’s vibrant and full of wonderfully rich colors and beautiful vistas.  The opening song-and-dance number is spectacularly realized with gorgeous effects and crisp candy-coated colors.  It certainly prepares you for the adventure of a lifetime, yet it can’t deliver anything beyond surface three-second dazzlement and awe.

The film exists only to be.  It’s a by-the-number routine.  There’s nothing – not even a hint of meaning – bubbling up from beneath its surface and that is a shame.  It bursts with color and flavor and, yet, can’t score a single thrill from its blah-blah-blah storyline.  Granted, no one expects or wants Citizen Kane from an animated feature, but this sucker is beyond soulless.

{2jtab: Film Details}

RioMPAA Rating: PG for mild off color humor.
Director
: Carlos Saldanha
Writer: Don Rhymer and Joshua Sternin & Jeffrey Ventimilia & Sam Harper
Cast:
Karen Disher; Jason Fricchione; Sofia Scarpa Saldanha; Leslie Mann; Kelly Keaton
Genre: Family | Comedy | Animated
Tagline:
He's going to the wildest, most magical place on earth ... home.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Yes. I can't fly, I pick my beak, and once in a while I pee in the birdbath!"
Distributor:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site:
www.rio-themovie.com
Release Date: April 8, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 2, 2011

Synopsis: Set in the magnificent city of Rio de Janeiro and the lush rainforest of Brazil, Rio centers on Blu, a rare macaw who thinks he is the last of his kind. When Blu discovers there's another — and that she's a she — he leaves the comforts of his cage in small town Minnesota and heads to 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. 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. Rio brings together a menagerie of vivid characters, a heart-warming story, colorful backdrops, energizing Latin and contemporary music, and family-friendly song and dance.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Rio

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 2, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (as download); DVD copy; BD-Live; Mobile features
Playback: Region Free

It’s a gorgeous looking 1080p transfer. Blues are sparkling and inviting and greens are life-like and pure. Beautiful patterns ignite the screen with a fury the script can’t keep up with.  Shadows are strong and the picture retains a clear depth. In a word, this puppy is spectacular looking. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is full of energy and offers a rich, clear and dynamic soundtrack for the film.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Housed in a case that comes with a slipcover, a DVD copy, and a digital download of the film, Rio is all set for families on the go.  There is no commentary which isn’t a surprise due to the lack of narrative depth, but there an abundance of kid-friendly supplemental materials for any bird-lover.  One deleted scene shows just how storyboards were utilized with the film and the interactive tours are pretty fun.  There is a standard making-of or behind-the-scenes vehicle that looks at the actors and what they brought to the feature and hip little number about the score.

It goes as follows:

  • Deleted Scene - Fruit Stand (2 min)
  • Explore the World of Rio (interactive)
  • Saving the Species: One Voice at a Time (25 min)
  • The Making of Hot Wings (8 min)
  • The Real Rio (9 min)
  • Boom Boom Tish Tish: The Sound of Brazil (14 min)
  • Carnival Dance-o-Rama (interactive)
  • Welcome to Rio Music Video (2 min)
  • Tiao Cruz - Telling the World Music Video (2 min)
  • Rio de Jam-eiro Jukebox (9 min)
  • Postcards from Rio (interactive)
  • Trailer (2 min)
  • Nigel Mashup (2 min)
  • Exclusiive Clue Video (00:30)
  • Theatrical Trailer (3 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}

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