Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Rio – 96 min - G

Wow! This is A first for The Fat Samurai – a review of an animated movie. I truly enjoyed this film from many aspects: story, animation and performance. The performers did a wonderful job of bringing depth to the characters. This movie gets a green light from me. If you are looking for a family movie that everyone can enjoy, take them down to Rio. Well, the movie Rio not the actual Rio, Rio. The actual Rio might be great but the movie is cheaper and closer.

In Rio, macaw Blue (Jesse Eisenburg) and his owner Linda (Leslie Mann) are approached by Ornithologist Dr. Barbosa (Gracinha Leporace). Dr Barbosa tells them Blue is the last male of his kind and they need to take him to Rio to mate with Jewel (Anne Hathaway), the last blue macaw female. They head to Rio but along the way Blue and Jewel are bird-napped. With the help of some local birds (voiced by Jamie Foxx, Will i Am, and George Lopez) they adventure across Rio to get back to safety.

Walking up to the booth and being informed that the next movie is Rio took me by surprise. I thought, “this should be interesting”. I have enjoyed animated movies in the past but since I have started really looking at movies for this blog I have observed so much more of the creation process. Reviewing an animated movie seems harder to me. I don’t just focus on whether it was a good story or how it made me feel, I look at films from a production standpoint. How a movie was performed and filmed are important to my review process. I spent most of the time watching this film with my ears, I enjoyed what I was seeing but I also focused on not just what was being said but how it was said. I think that most people who see a movie like this don’t truly realize how hard it is to sell a performance with just your voice. The cast was well chosen for the different feel of each of the characters they were portraying. Typically they complete all of the voice acting first and then have the animators create the scenes. This speaks volumes to how the animators created a life like image based on the mannerisms of the creature they are modeling infused with the actor’s inflection and performance.

The animators did a great job of modeling the movements of the birds. All of the characters in this film were done really well. Everything was does with such attention to detail, the smallest things helped give this movie a life-like feel. I did see this movie in 3D and they did a good job of not overdoing the in-your-face novelty that you sometimes see. I liked how they made some of the subtle things in this movie show in different layers. The scenes that took place in the jungle also benefited from the 3D effects. There were two scenes that I really appreciated the 3D, one was during the parade and I felt like the confetti was going to fall on me and in the long swooping scenes of flight over the landmarks of Rio de Janeiro.

This is the part of the blog that I usually talk about the crew, and how they shot the film, but in this case I am way out of my league. I have never really thought how much an animated movie also relies on camera placement and lighting. Even those elements are still very much a part of this process. It was hard for me to think of this movie like that. The Director Carlos Saldanha has brought us the Ice Age movie so this kind of film is nothing new to him. He has several people on his previous films working on this movie as well, so they do work well together. The sound track to this movie was also very catchy, I did want to go get a copy of it and many movies don’t movie me to get the sound track.

So the question I have for you on this post is what animated movie made you cry, This movie did not have any moment that made me cry but I know that Toy Story 3 had a few tear jerking moments as well as Cars, I know I know some stupid animated cars made me cry. When Lightning goes back at the end to make sure the king finished his last race. Snif, Snif gets me every time.


Wudmeister said...

I haven't seen Rio yet, but want to. My daughter just made me watch Tangled, which she didn't want to see originally but loved it enough to make me watch it on DVD.

With respec to your Cry comment... there were NONE that made me cry... I'm a guy fer Crissake...but those that... made me "ahem", shift in my seat and swallow hard quite a few times would include, Mulan, Toy Story 3 and the start... yes the "start" of the movie "UP". Amazing start to an animated film. Wow.

Fat Samurai said...

OOOOOO good point on UP, that one got as well.

Wudmeister said...

ok... two more... (had to get home and look at my plethora of movies) The end of Monsters Inc,
"Kitty!!"... and the end of Lilo and Stitch "...Family... is small... and broken, but good. Yes. Is Good."

BTA Jonathan said...

Monsters Inc. When Boo left to go back home, I admit, a tear or two welled up.