Movie Review — “Rio” 3D

Now here is a movie to which I must confess I have a prejudice — I am a small parrot owner!  As such, I can state with much delight that the parrot characters in the story are “spot on,” with some exaggeration you would expect for a cartoon, of course!  One such exaggeration, the varied facial expressions, is extremely well-done and by no means spoils the essentially “natural” look of the birds. This essentially natural but not “photo realistic” style, which is retained for most of the characters and the environments of the story, works so well that the climactic Rio Carnival Parade at the end is convincing, colorful, and exciting.

The story is not complicated . It involves a male parrot who is a rare species of Macaw named “Blue,” whom we see as an adorable baby being trapped in Brazil and being brought to America, where he is raised by his loving owner and best friend, Linda.  Blue and Linda find out that Blue’s species will go extinct if he doesn’t mate with the last remaining female of his species, named Jewel, who lives in Rio.  Accordingly, Linda takes Blue with her to Rio to find Jewel, but Blue is kidnapped by a couple of bungling smugglers, and the rest of the story involves the adventures Rio and Linda go through trying to be reunited and to find Jewel.

The catch is that Blue, having led such a pampered life, never learned to fly!  Enormously funny scenes revolve around this flaw, and the background environment of Rio in Carnival season provides excellent opportunities for silliness, as well as for artistic uses of 3D.

Although nowhere near enough, there are some uses of negative space – the 3D space between the screen and the audience.  3D Director Jaymie Wilkinson allowed beaks and heads to venture slightly through the window positioned at screen distance. Thankfully, the complex scenes, along with the well-paced action that gives the audience time to adjust stereoscopically between shots, provide satisfying 3D effects throughout the film, climaxing with a colorful chase through the Carnival parade near the end.  However, as with “Gnomeo and Juliet,” there are opportunities for intimate use of negative space that are missed, although I seemed to find the close-ups more satisfying in “Rio” than in most other 3D films of recent vintage that I have seen. .

Perhaps more importantly, this is a sweet, riotously funny, visually satisfying 3D film, propelled not only by lively characters, well-written dialog and action, but also by occasional songs that, while perhaps not overly memorable, contribute to the overall mood of festivity that permeates the story.  Unless you hate birds, I think you’ll enjoy this film!  I recommend it highly as a “good fun” performance suitable for the entire family, or even for adults alone.

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