Review: Is Rio More Than Just Madagascar In Brazil, Or Does It Offer Something Completely New?

The latest film from director Carlos Saldanha (Who previously created the successful Ice Age franchise) might impress visually, but is it more than just a stuffed ensemble of popular actors put together in a formulaic plot? Have we already seen all this in animated movie before?
The movie follows a Spix's Macaw name Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), who is a very shy bird whose been living in a cage, in a book store, in Minnesota for fifteen years. He still doesn't know how to fly or live in the wild, and is basically spoiled by his owner Linda.
Soon a research scientist named Tulio comes to the book store after seeing Blu through the window, and informs Linda that Blu  is actually the last male Spix's Macaw in existence, and in order to save their species he most come with him to Rio de Janeiro to reproduce with the last female Spix's Macaw; Jewel (Anne Hathaway).
While a bit sceptical at first, Linda agrees to let Blu go to Rio as long as she goes too. But once they arrive, an Blu meets Jewel, the last thing on her mind is to reproduce, and rather wants to escape. She soon gets her wish when smugglers capture Blu and Jewel with help from their own cockatoo Nigel. Jewel helps Blu escape the smugglers, and then the hunt for them begins. Now Blu and Jewel need help from friends they meet along the way including Rafael (George Lopez), Nico (Jamie Foxx), Pedro (, and Luiz (Tracy Morgan) to get back to the shelter and away from the smugglers.

Each character is funny in their own way, and each voice actor brings some of their own personality into them. Jesse Eisenberg,, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez and Tracy Morgan all make the characters so lively and fun that it distracts you from the cliche plot. Unfortunately, Anne Hathaway isn't as unique and interesting as the other characters, and feels a bit flat in comparison to the others.
The plot is very special at all really. It's basically the same plot we see in a ton of kids films these days; two birds hate each other, forced go on a journey, make new friends along the way, get stopped by mean bad guy, learn to like each other, main bird must overcome fear, etc. It's all pretty predictable, but what makes it feel so different is the interesting combination of characters (Which aren't cliche) and the wonderful setting.
You might hear a lot of people saying this movie has great visuals, well believe them. It one of the most colorful animated films I've seen (The last one being Sony's Surfs Up) and the animated version of Rio De Janeiro is spot on. The films able to capture and display all of the culture that the real Rio contains, especially by including the famous Carnivale, and mixing it in so that it plays an important role in the plot.
The movie did feel very short though, and it felt like everything was just rushed and solved at the end, and it was hard to understand how everything was settled so fast. But really this is a kids movie, and now child will actually analysis that. The movie has a lot of of funny moments (And they're surprisingly REALLY funny) and there's a lot of jokes that only adults will get, which keeps them reeled in as well.

The verdict here is that Rio is a great fun movie to catch with your kids this Easter weekend, and while it doesn't really offer much different in plot, it's vibrant characters and setting make up for most of it. If you have kids you should definitely check out Rio.

I give Rio 3.5 out of 5 stars:

Here's the trailer for Rio:

What did you think of Rio? Are you going to see it?