Blame it on 'Rio'— Another 3D Kid Flick

For the record,   I enjoy childrens’ movies, and all the more so if they are in colorful 3D, as this film was.   ‘Rio’ is brought to us by the producers of Ice Age, and even begins with a short subject about  Skritch the Squirrel, and how he was personally responsible for the inter-continental divide.   This idea was more creative, (in terms of a story line)  than the whole of the movie Rio,  but more on that in a moment.

Let’s start with the basics.  The movie is G rated (not many of those out there these days), and lasts  an hour and 36 minutes.  It brings in some musical heavy hitters to produce the score, and more—- Will. I. Am,  Jamie Fox,  Sergio Mendes.  The film is visually beautiful and idea of a film of this sort in colorful Rio during Carnival was a good idea.  The film lasts for an hour and 36 minutes which seems the limit these days for children’s movies.   There is no scatalogical language or really much of anything that could be seen as offensive, so it is safe for the whole family.   I enjoyed hearing again Mas Que Nada one of my favorite Brazil 66 songs, and there is one good Will, I.Am  hip hop number, and we have a chance to find out that Anne Hathaway has a pretty nice voice (we already knew Jamie Foxx did).     But this is about as far as I can go with positive remarks.

This movie,  even at an hour and 36 minutes has boring stretches and lacks story telling, much humor, or any memorable one liners.  Nor does it have any nods in the direction of the adults in the audience.  It is an on-going string of sight gags and chases.   Somebody get a better script writer—– please.

This movie has none of the panache of a Tangled, or a Despicable Me or the charm of a Ratatouille.   The premise of the movie is alright—- domesticated blue Macaw is taken to Brazil to mate with only other existing Cerulian bird,  but there is theft, there are chases, and frankly far too little Brazilian music and Carnival.   Blu (voiced surprisingly enough by Jesse Eisenberg of  Social Network fame) is a nerd of a bird who has never flown, and has been pampered to death by his owner.  He has to come out of his shell and comfort zone for anything at all to happen in this movie of consequence.   I will leave to your imagination whether it does or not.

There is also poor editing at the end of the film.  After a dramatic rescue scene we suddenly move ahead to a closing scenario much later in the story line with little or no explanation of how we got there.   Oh well— maybe they were hoping we wouldn’t notice amidst all the 3 D and beautiful colors.    But here we have another case,  not unlike the movie Avatar,  where the technology and ‘cinematography’ or CG is so seductive and visually alluring  it apparently is expected and  made to carry the burden of a weak plot, poor story telling, completely forgettable dialogue, no decent one liners or zingers.  You get the picture.   This movie is not worth $9.00 or more just to see some 3D effects.     There is a difference between an innocuous and harmless movie that has nothing objectionable, and one that actually entertains, and occasionally even has some bright ideas.

Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview Part 3
Man Shoveling Snow in Lexington while Break Dancing
Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview, Part One
Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview, Part 2
  • Dan S

    I totally agree with you on the tediousness of this film. My 6 year old enjoyed it, but she is very forgiving when it comes to movies with talking animals in them. While Jesse Eisenberg impressed me with his work in “The Social Network,” I found his voice annoying in “Rio.” As for Anne Hathaway’s singing talent, she had already firmly established her skills in previous films such as “Hoodwinked!” and “Ella Enchanted.”

    I was very disappointed that there weren’t more “song and flight” numbers, as they were the most entertaining parts of the film. Especially the nod to Busby Berkeley at the beginning. I actually thought that this might have the makings of a great movie when I saw that, but then the dialogue started and all hope was lost.

    By the way, the name of the saber-toothed squirrel in “Ice Age” is Scrat, not Skritch.

  • Jon Coutts

    Yes indeed. Rio was horrible. I never would have thought 3D could be so quickly boring. My kids were even bored.

  • terry fry

    I realized that 3D was a waste when I got my copy of Avatar on blu-ray and watched it. I saw a movie that was brighter and more colorful than the 3D version and know how 3D didn’t improve it. If you wan to know a film editor’s viewpoint on it here’s a link to that:

  • Brian Roden

    At least Rio gave us a new themed version of Angry Birds for our smart phones.

  • ben witherington

    How smart can it be when a phone squawks. If you ask me its for the birds :)


  • Ryan Collins

    I think it will be difficult to find a better kids movie than Tangled in the near future. I know that sounds weird coming from a manly-man, but I have to admit that I get a little jolly when my daughter wants to watch Tangled…even for the second time in a day. Haha!

  • ben witherington

    I agree. It’s very good.