Published on April 7th, 2011 | by Kitty Catastrophe0
Rio tells the story of Blu, a rare macaw living in Minnesota who turns out to be the last male of his species and as such is brought to Brazil in order to get acquainted with Jewel, the last female. The pair get off to a rocky start and a gang of villainous poachers throw a spanner in the works when they kidnap the birds. Jesse Eisenberg voices the domesticted Blu in the nerdy and endearing manner that seems to be his default setting (apart from The Social Network, where he was nerdy and kind of a dick), while Anne Hathaway plays Jewel, all fiesty and independant and such.
There’s great colour and scenery going on in the film and while the story is cute and all, it’s quite predictable and doesn’t really manage to outshine the huge amount of recent animated features. There are a few good jokes scattered throughout, but it does feel like it’s a kid’s film first and foremost, as opposed to a kid’s film that keeps adults entertained on another level, which seems to be something that Pixar in particular have perfected over the years.
Saying all that though, it does have one enormous thing going for it. That thing happens to be the voice of the tremendous Jemaine Clement. He provides the voice for Nigel, an evil cockatoo that delights in tormenting the captured birds and performs a truly superb villain song to rival that of any Disney bad guy. His song was actually the best part of the film, not least due to such genius lines as “I’m unwashable / Unrinsable / Like an abandoned school / I’ve got no principles.” Other supporting characters and comic relief include Tracy Morgan as a slobbery bulldog and Jamie Foxx and will.i.am as a pair of streetwise Brazilian birds. However the presence of will.i.am served only make me worry that we were always just seconds away from the cast bursting into a Black Eyed Peas song (They didn’t. Bullet dodged).
While the “stunning 3D” is once again completely unnecessary, it’s not an altogether bad way to spend 90 minutes, but it does fall short of the bar that’s been set spectacularly by the likes of Toy Story and Up.
Even if you have no interest in going to see this film however, I urge you to search for “Rio Nigel’s Song” in YouTube anyway. Trust me, that particular scene is genuinely great.