Rio (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) is a macaw, but not just your standard, run of the mill macaw. No, Blu is a very rare blue macaw, so rare that he is believed to be the last of his kind. Despite his rarity, he was found in rather common circumstances, then nurtured and raised by Linda (Leslie Mann). He was alone and abandoned, but now Blu has a wonderful life as the best friend of Linda, though a domesticated lifestyle. Blu never even learned how to fly, but since he is safe and happy, he doesn’t mind. His calm life is disrupted however, when a scientist locates a female blue macaw and sees a chance to revive the species. Linda agrees to let Blu venture to Rio, where he can meet the female and give his kind a future. Of course, things don’t always go as planned, especially when some criminal types hatch a plot to nab the rare birds. Can Blu overcome his domesticated ways and learn to let his wild side loose, or will this be the end of the blue macaws?

As a fan of the Ice Age series, I was interested to see Blue Sky Studios’ latest animated release, Rio. While I didn’t think Rio was a bad movie, I wasn’t dazzled. The visuals are impressive, with vivid colors and fluid animation that really makes you sit up and take notice. You could easily just get lost scanning the visuals for all the little details, which might be a good thing in this case. Rio is not as balanced as the Ice Age films, which means kids will enjoy it, but adults probably not so much. The writing seems to be focused on quick, forgettable jokes at the expense of the characters, none of whom are well developed. I don’t think I will recall scenes of Rio or his friends like I do Scrat or the rest of the gang from Ice Age, for example. Another issue is Jesse Eisenberg, who is miscast and really drags down the movie. He is passable in live action because of his awkwardness, but that is lost in this format and he seems really out of place. While Rio isn’t one of Blue Sky Studios’ best efforts, it does deliver brisk entertainment that younger audiences will enjoy, so it is a worthwhile children’s release.

Video: How does it look?

Rio is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen. This movie has some beautiful visuals and this transfer ensures all of them look excellent for your home theater. The colorful animation really shines here, with vibrant colors that pop right off the screen and contrast that is dead on. The rich hues sparkle thanks to the accurate black levels, which also helps make sure detail remains as high as possible. And detail is impressive, as depth is remarkable and even the smallest touches are crystal clear. This is a dynamic, eye popping effort, simply terrific work.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack isn’t going to be outdone by the visuals, as it provides a robust audio treatment that is a lot of fun to experience. The music plays a large role in the sound design and the tunes sound great here, with a lot of surround presence that really brings them to life. While the music is powerful, it doesn’t dampen the other elements and that is good news. The surrounds also make sure the world of Rio sounds alive, from subtle cues to more powerful moments. The dialogue is strong as well, with crisp vocals that never suffer from any kind of issues. This release also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

In addition to a DVD version of the movie and a digital copy, there are a few other supplements to be perused. Several featurettes focus on the sound design, with two music videos to round out the sound portion. A half hour of cast interviews can be also be enjoyed, as well as a brief EPK style promotional featurette. This release also includes an interactive map of Rio, a guide to the various dances from the movie, a deleted scene, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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