Movie Review: Rio (2011)

Hi guys!

Last weekend we had an opportunity to go see the new Dreamworks Animation movie Rio at the theater. We didn’t see it in 3D simply because it wasn’t playing in 3D at the time we wanted to go. But good old 2D CGI animation works just as well in my book, so I can’t say I was disappointed.

Rio is about Blu (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network and Zombieland), a blue macaw living in small-town Minnesota with bookstore owner Linda (Leslie Mann, Knocked Up and Funny People). When ornithologist Sylvio (Bernardo de Paula) comes from Rio de Janeiro and tells Linda that Blu is one of the last of his kind, he implores her to fly to Rio with Blu to see if Blu and the last known blue macaw female would be compatible and possibly keep the species alive.

Of course, when Linda and Blu get to Rio, things aren’t quite that cut and dried. When Blu meets Jewel (Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs and Get Smart), sparks fly but not quite in the way Sylvia and Linda might have hoped. When a boy breaks into the facility to steal the rare macaws, Blu and Jewel have to work together to survive…

Honestly, this movie was cute and probably one of the better animated features from Dreamworks. I don’t think it quite has the emotional pull of the first Ice Age movie and doesn’t come close to Pixar’s Up or Wall-E, but it was fun. The addition of Jamie Foxx (The Soloist and Dreamgirls) and Will i Am (The Black Eyed Peas) as birds Nico and Pedro was fun as they sang many of the musical scenes in the film. And George Lopez (TV’s Lopez Tonight and the George Lopez show) as the toucan Rafael and Tracy Morgan (TV’s 30 Rock) as the slobbering dog Luiz added quite a bit of humor as well.

Beyond that, though the movie was very colorful and cute, I just don’t get the fascination. That said, I don’t know that it matters. The target audience was families and my wife and daughters loved the film. So I’ll count it as a partial success.

The animation was smooth and gorgeous, so that wasn’t my problem. And the characters seemed to have good chemistry together. I just wasn’t all that sucked in by the story I guess. It was very family friendly however and had a number of positive messages.

According to IMDb, it’s already made nearly $40 million domestically in its first week, so I would expect it to quickly earn a profit on its reported $90 million budget in the next few weeks domestically and abroad.

If you have kids, Rio is a fun way to spend an hour and a half at the movie theater together. Have fun and let me know what you think!


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Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland 3D (2010) – or does everything need to be in 3D??

Alice in Wonderland iPhone wallpaper
Image by xploitme via Flickr

Hi all…

Yes, I went gaga over the 3D effects in James Cameron’s Avatar. And I loved the 3D world of Coraline. But does everything need to be 3D?

Last weekend I went to see the new Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Michael Sheen, Mia Wasikowska, and many more. And yes, I liked the movie. I think it has a great message for girls and boys alike to have the courage to follow your dreams and not bow to the whims of the pressures of parents, peers, or society at large.

Depp was great as the truly mad Mad Hatter. Stephen Fry’s voice for the Cheshire Cat was spot on and I think Alan Rickman as the voice of the perpetually stoned Blue Caterpillar was divine casting. Add to that the fact that Carter and Hathaway as the Red and White Queens seemed to really dig into their roles and the unknown quantity of Wasikowska who did a great job through the movie as an older Alice finding her way in the world and you have a great movie that should hold up to repeated viewings.


That said, I don’t understand why the heck it needed to be in 3D. Did Disney really need the extra $3 per ticket for 3D glasses?

And somehow it’s managed to make $400 million worldwide in two weeks at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo, $208.6 million of that is domestic, meaning a whole lot of people have sprung for $3 disposable 3D glasses.

But why? Watching the film, really only one scene (the one in the trailer where the Hatter rolls two bolts of cloth towards the audience) stood out as being 3D. That really wasn’t worth an extra $3 for the ticket for me.

Add to that the bizarre looking animation every time Stayne got on or off his horse and I was left really scratching my head.

Honestly I think I might have enjoyed it more without the film being in 3D. I guess that’s what I’m getting at.

And the fact that there are so many more movies coming out this summer in 3D for no apparent reason just makes it seem like a gimmick to get more people spending more money at the box office, which kind of skews all the box office $$ for me since you’re paying more for a ticket from the start. How to Train Your Dragon, Clash of the Titans, Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3, and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore are on the 3D bandwagon for the next few months… Most of them are for kids and they’ll like the gimmick, but why Clash of the Titans?

Do we really need all this 3D? I don’t think so. I hope the fad wears off soon and we get to watch some good movies and not wear those dang glasses!

What do you think?


p.s. Look for Avatar to find its way to DVD soon:

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