Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Apr 5 2011Given that ‘Ice Age’ director Carlos Saldanha hails from Rio de Janeiro, we can only assume this new Blue Sky Studios 3D animation was a personal project for him – a chance to celebrate his hometown and drum up some tourism along the way. He’s made a fine fist of capturing the city’s landscape with its colourful favelas, lush vegetation, sunny beaches and that most iconic of landmarks, Sugarloaf Mountain. A shame, then, that the film is hamstrung by an uninspiring, tissue-thin story about a rare, domesticated macaw that doesn’t know how to fly.
An instantly recognisable Jesse Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The Social Network’) voices Blu, who has an easy life in Minnesota in the care of mollycoddling bookstore assistant Linda (Leslie Mann). But when bird expert Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) learns of Blu’s existence, he turns up to whisk him away to Rio for a mating session with Jewel (Anne Hathaway), the last remaining female of the species. Ordinarily, a scenario like this would make decent material for a wildlife documentary but really not a very exciting kids’ film – which explains the appearance of badass poachers who steal Blu and Jewel with a view to making a killing on the black market.
In the film’s favour, the 3D is crisp, richly realised and endowed with exquisite depth of field. But all that eye-candy counts for little when the jokes fall flat, the Latino songs lack lustre and the script is so ineffectual. ‘Rio’ isn’t totally devoid of merit – it could just do with a lot more zip and zing in its tail feathers.
Author: Derek Adams