Blu-ray Review: Rio (2011)

Related Review:
Rio 2 (2014)

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Eye-poppingly gorgeous CG animated feature from Fox Ice Age franchise creators Blue Sky animation is given the luxurious Blu-ray high definition treatment for this charming fish-out-of-water (or domesticated-bird-in-the-sky) flick Rio.

Sunny family fare, Rio centers on a rare Minnesota macaw (Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg) that’s persuaded to fly south to Brazil along with his adorably mousey bookish bookshop owner (voiced by Funny People’s Leslie Mann) in order to mate with the last exotic feathered creature of his kind and save their species’ line.

Although slightly underwhelming given its predictability in plotline once we venture to new terrain, Fox’s family film is otherwise infectious. Comprised of Pixar cuteness and Dreamworks’s Madagascar-inspired dance fever via a penchant for getting funky at the drop of a computer-drawn hat in several sequences, Rio is sweet, snappily paced, refreshingly wholesome thanks to its large avoidance of crass scatology or a need to be so pop-culturally referential that it’s dated by the time it hits disc.

Amazingly crisp, clear and clean in is visual presentation, while I’m sure it’s an absolute stunner in 3D Blu-ray so if you’ve got the technology then flaunt it by all means, the 2D version is so superlative that it puts the drab, lifeless color scheme and cold, hard lines of Disney’s recent Mars Needs Moms release to shame.

As a love letter to Brazil – complete with a celebration of Carnival -- Rio plays like a kid-tested, film geek approved CG animated and certifiably tragedy free Black Orpheus replacement for the preschool set in its commitment to setting. And furthermore, considering the selection of an unexpected starting location via my old stomping grounds of Minnesota, the creativity just keeps on coming and is particularly evident throughout in its unwillingness to adhere to traditional gender stereotypes in animated movies.

An antidote to princess-centric damsel in distress storytelling that’s overly-reliant on hero’s journey motifs, Rio helps differentiate itself from usual fare and avoid parroting previous hits like Disney’s affable Beverly Hills Chihuahua, by going against what’s expected with the decision to make Anne Hathaway’s beautiful Brazilian bird the wiser, experienced alpha to Eisenberg’s earnest newbie wimp male.

Text ©2011, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.