dir Carlos Saldanha
scr Don Rhymer
prd Bruce Anderson, John C Donkin
voices Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro,, Jamie Foxx, Jemaine Clement, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jake T Austin, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch
release UK 8.Apr.11, US 15.Apr.11
11/US Fox 1h36
Feathered friends: Blu, Jewell and Rafael

hathaway eisenberg mann
See also:
Rio 2 (2014)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Rio A lively South American beat infuses this colourful animated romp. The filmmakers make the most of the characters and settings without ever trying to teach us a lesson or make us cry. It's just great fun.

Blu (voiced by Eisenberg) is a blue macaw raised in Minnesota alongside a little girl Linda (Mann). Years later, bird-rescuer Tulio (Santoro) wants to take Blu back to Rio de Janeiro so he can mate with the last remaining female of the species, Jewel (Hathaway). But in Brazil, the courtship between Blu and Jewel gets off to a rocky start, not least because Blu never learned how to fly. And when smugglers steal them, they need a variety of locals (including Lopez, Morgan, Foxx and to help them escape from a menacing cockatoo (Clement).

The fast-paced story is both action-packed and very funny, with never a dull moment as the script combines thrills, comedy and romance. It's not hugely complicated, but the approach is fresh enough to keep us on our toes, and the characters are so engaging that we never want it to reach its predictable conclusion. Most enjoyable is the way the film really captures the spirit of Brazil; even the villains have a disarming charm about them as they obsess about football and go crazy for Carnival.

The animators flood the screen with bright colours and lively characters, including some exhilarating aerial sequences above Rio that really take advantage of the 3D, as do the madcap action scenes. The beach, favela and rainforest are each rendered with attention to detail. But none of this would be nearly as entertaining if the characters weren't so strong. And wonderfully attitude-filled voice work helps keeps us laughing.

Rhymer adds the same raucous inventiveness here as he did in Surf's Up, and whole film also feels tighter and smarter than Saldanha's three Ice Age movies. It's refreshing to have a movie like this that just aims to entertain us, leaving the moralising and sentiment just out of view (it's there if you need it) and letting the characters have enough spark that we enjoy spending time in their company. And we hope they'll be back for more adventures too.

cert u themes, some violence 27.Mar.11

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall