Rio Carlos Saldanha

Rio Carlos Saldanha
This spring's wildly successful entry into the cute talking animal derby, Rio travels to Rio de Janeiro to bring to life the story of two rare blue macaws, Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway). Living in domesticated comfort, Blu never learned to fly, while Jewel is all business, constantly looking for a way to break free of her human-constructed life of bondage. Blu's equally neurotic human companion, Linda (Leslie Mann), and a Brazilian nutty professor (Rodrigo Santoro) endeavour to bring the two together, the last of their species, to mate and live happily ever after like birds of a feather. If anything, Rio illustrates how technically adept computer animated movies have become. Even on the small screen, the vibrant detail is readily apparent, bringing both a colourful realism and tactile feeling to the work, while at the same time being mindful of the traditional saturated cartoon style. It's clear that the filmmakers spent a great deal of time capturing the nuances of setting and movement. Unfortunately, for those looking for more than just eye-candy, Rio falls short. The characters are hopelessly cartoon-y, and the bare-bones story, with Blu and Jewel looking for a way to remove their Defiant Ones-style leg chain, exists secondary to the whiz-bang set pieces. The film sets up its opposites attract love story and peppers the sidelines will ancillary animal characters, each with one goofy distinguishing personality trait, all trying to bring the two birds together. The film's major issue is the encroachment of man upon wildlife, but it's dealt with in a wishy-washy way, evoking none of the adult subtleties that the Pixar crew are so adept at. The double-disc set is generously loaded with bonus features, including several kid-paced making-of featurettes, an interactive map of Rio de Janeiro and interactive samba lessons that will likely have seven-year olds entertained for hours. Considering the volume of material, Rio is, at the very least, a formidable babysitter. (Fox)