Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Produced by: John C. Donkin; Bruce Anderson; Chris Wedge
Screenplay by: Don Rhymer; Joshua Sternin; Jeffrey Ventimilia; Todd R.Jones; Earl Richey Jones
Story by: Carlos Saldanha
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg; Anne Hathaway; George Lopez
Music by: John Powell
Cinematography: Renato Falcão
Editing by: Harry Hitner
Studio: Blue Sky Studios
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release date(s): April 15, 2011 (US)
Running time: 96 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English; Portuguese
Budget $90 million
Right now the song that’s playing inside my head is the title track from the animation film Rio: “Let Me Take You to Rio” by Ester Dean & Carlinhos Brown, a nice and peppy hip-hop/R&B number.
As for the film, it’s like a huge, pink candyfloss that we were so fond of when were kids. It’s overstuffed, it’s colourful; you pop it in the mouth and it vanishes. But it’s fun as long as it lasts. The bursting colours make up for the run-on-the-mill concept, and pace. That, and Ann Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg voice-over chemistry as the ‘chained-together birds.’
(I don’t know, somehow I have problem with films where the human characters and animals characters talk, and at equal wavelength. Thankfully, however, in Rio the animals do the talking among themselves, not with their human counterparts.)
Blu is a Spix’s Macaw who was smuggled from the jungles to Brazil when he was a baby to Minnesota, where he was found and raised as a friend by geeky Linda. Now, Blu cannot fly, but is happy with his life. Appears ornithologist Tulio, who claims that Blu is the only surviving male of his species and he needs to go to Brazil to mate with the only surviving female, a feisty free bird, Jewel. And after the song, “Let me take you...”, its Brazil and the carnival and rain forests, and smugglers, and a juvenile criminal, a wicked Cockatoo called Nigel, and assortment of other colourful birds, a cute bulldog, and vehicle races, and a flight above the city of Rio de Janeiro — well, the whole deal.
It’s fun actually, even if everything is predictable — two antagonists going through a series of misadventures to fall in love with each other.
And what a nice soundtrack!... “Let me take you to rio, rio/ Fly’o the ocean like an eagle/ And when can chillin’ like a zebo, a zebo/ Oh oh oh oh oh, na na na...”