Film: ‘Rio’; Voice-overs: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Jamie Foxx;
Director: Carlos Saldanha; Rating: ****
There’s an old saying which goes: when in Rio, do as the Rio birds do – have fun. Well, it’s not an old saying, but a new one you’ll conjure up after watching the fun, uplifting, 3D extravaganza of this animation feature that is worth every penny and second spent.
Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), a macaw, is as domesticated as any pet can get. So much that despite being 15 years old, he has never flown, been cared for as he is by his loving master Linda (Leslie Mann) in a small Minnesota town. After being convinced that he is the only male surviving bird of his species, Linda takes him to Rio to mate with a female.
The female macaw Jewel (Anne Hathaway), is a fiercely independent bird that cannot stand captivity or humans. The two get captured from their research facility by a poacher and the two, chained together, will have to rise to the occasion if they want to be what every creature should be — free.
Director Carlos Saldhana is one of the veterans of modern American animation, having directed one of animation’s biggest franchises – ‘Ice Age’. And like the three ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Robots’, this film follows a set pattern. Yet, despite this, there is a comfort in the cliche and nowhere does the film slack or get boring.
And like any animation film that has stuck to your memory, this one is filled with an entire spectrum of sidekick characters who not only provide popular entertainment and oodles of cuteness and laughter, but also take the story forward. There are a host of such characters, their idiosyncrasies and animation moments that will have you rolling with laughter.
Thus while you have a nasty evil bird, with the capacity to scare even naughty monkeys, you have a cute, drooling bull dog and a little bird Tweety wearing a cap.
And the best characteristic about the humour is that it is not conscious of itself. The wit and humour from writer Don Rhymer, who has written the delightful and truly different ‘Surf’s Up’, is sharp, knowing when to tickle the funny bone and the spectacular 3D effects, instead of drawing attention to itself, help the cause of this delectable film.
The voice-overs leave nothing to complain. Yet, it is Jemaine Clement as the evil bird Nigel who steals the show with the cold brutality of his voice.
We thus have another winner from Fox Animation Studios. At the end, you can almost imagine what the sequel would be – the search of a child matching ‘Finding Nemo’ meeting the journey of ‘Ice Age’. Now that is a delight worth waiting for.