Monday 4 April 2011

Rio review

Rio (U, 96 mins)
Director: Carlos Saldanha
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Parrot Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) is taken from his home in the rainforest and ends up by accident in snowy Minnesota where he’s raised domesticated and flightless. But he’s the last blue macaw of his type, and so an ornithologist takes him to Brazil to mate with the last remaining female, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), only for the pair to be kidnapped by poachers. The only reason Rio would appear to exist (aside from the obvious financial incentives) is to showcase its bright and colourful, samba-infused exoticism. Did its makers just see Up and think South America looked like a good place to stage a cartoon? Because underneath its surface polish, it’s thematically empty, with nothing to distinguish it from every other run-of-the-mill animated effort that’s more about noise and spectacle than a story worth telling. The search round Rio de Janeiro to get Blu and Jewel back comes complete with stale one-liners and frantic action, but is light on laughs and excitement. Voicing Blu, Eisenberg is good value, nicely parlaying his Zombieland nebbishness, and Jemaine Clement shines as the cockatoo baddie, even getting to do a Conchords-style number, sadly the only highlight among a small collection of forgettable and superfluous songs.

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