Aug. 2, 2011
Voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Rodrigo Santoro, Will.i.am, Jamie Fox
20th Century Fox
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By Jayce O'Neal
CBN.com - Rio is a computer-animated story about the last two blue macaws on Earth. The movie takes us into the story of Blu, a male who is taken to Rio to mate with a female. At first their relationship is rocky, but they have to put up with each other because they are chained together. However, they eventually fall in love and together they have to evade the clutches of Nigel, an evil, slightly maniacal, cockatoo.
A colorful assortment of birds help keep two rare macaws out of danger while helping them also fall in love. The female blue bird is a free spirit, while the male is a bumbling braniac from Minnesota. At its core, this is a chase movie. The birds are constantly doing everything in their power to keep from being caught.
Visually, Rio is fantastic! It takes moviegoers to a locale that has not been explored too often for the average American viewer. Despite the fact that it was animated, Rio de Janeiro was a beautiful eye catching backdrop for the story.
Another plus was the diverse and talented cast. George Lopez, Jamie Fox, and Tracy Morgan were especially entertaining. Morgan and his drooling dog character, stole the show in his scenes.
If Toy Story, The Lion King, and The Land Before Time are in the elite class of animated films and Cars 2, Astro Boy, and Pokemon: The Movie are in the class of worst animated films ever made, then Rio would find itself slap dab in the middle. It is neither great nor dismal. It is mildly entertaining, but not original. It is a retread plot in an original location.
The biggest issue with the film is in its message. The primary message of Rio is follow your heart and ignore your brain. This is not a new message in American culture, but it can be a very devastating message if followed wholeheartedly. Human nature is fallen, so doing what we feel is best is not always the appropriate course of action. In Rio, parents might find that the message is not pronounced enough to sway them from watching the movie, but it is present throughout the film.
How I Rate It
Family Friendly: Rio earns a 4 out of 5 family rating. The language is clean and the plot is simple, but there is a very subtle message of “Let your guard down and party, party, party.” This is most obvious when listening to the soundtrack and when considering that the events in this film are all centered around Rio's famous festival, Carnival.
Degree of Excellence: This movie is humorous, lively, and mildly enjoyable to watch, but it doesn’t stand out. Rio gets a 3 out of 5 stars in degrees of excellence. It will get laughs, but won’t challenge Pixar for an animated Oscar.
Take Away: Rio is worth watching, but not memorable.
DVD Extras: Rio’s special features contain the traditional behind-the-scenes interviews and pictures, but the most educational aspect of the disc is "Explore the World of Rio", which allows the viewer to explore the four key aspects of Rio. The four major areas of Rio include the stadium, jungle, city, and beach. There are videos, pictures, key facts, and interviews that educate the viewer on Rio life and culture. The second disc does enhance the movie experience, but it will likely increase travel to Rio more than anything else.
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Dr. Jayce O’Neal is the author of Crazy Circus World and 100 Answers to 100 Questions Every Graduate Should Know. He also is a public speaker, and actor who enjoys cheering for his favorite sports teams while eating pizza with a fork. He likes to watch movies, visit amusement parks, and play board games. Dr. Jayce loves to be creative and encourage others to use their imaginations and their noggins. He has a Doctorate, two Masters Degrees, a Bachelor of Science, and a small trophy for perfect attendance in Sunday school from when he was nine. For more information visit: www.jayceoneal.com
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