Friday, April 15, 2011

Rio 3D - 2 1/2 stars

I went in with low expectations, and I was still disappointed. The songs are flat and lifeless. Not that the songs are the most important part of the movie, but if you are an animated movie and you are going to have musical numbers, especially if the opening credits are set to a big musical number, your songs better not suck.

Jesse Eisenberg voices Blu, a rare baby macaw who can't fly. He is captured by smugglers, put in a truck, and driven to North America. The box he is in falls off the truck somewhere in Minnesota, and a nice brainy girl (short hair and glasses) adopts him.

Cut to 15 years later. The nice girl, whose name is Linda (Leslie Mann) runs a book store (of course) and the two are best of friends. He gives her the fist bump when she offers it, and they even brush their teeth together. So adorable.

One day a scientist from Brazil shows up. Apparently Blu is the last male of his species, and luckily the scientist has a female. He would like to take Blu do Brazil so they can repopulate the species. At this point, the movie gets sad for a minute. I assume he wants her to give Blu to him, and she would remain behind, because she is conflicted about whether to give in to his request. But then suddenly she is in Brazil with Blu and the scientist. So apparently he was offering to bring her as well, which means basically a free vacation to Brazil. Why did she even have to think about this? Of course the movie doesn't mention this. Did he pay for her plane ticket and hotel?

Anyway, Jesse Eisenberg does a good job of acting like Jesse Eisenberg, meaning he is always awkward and uncomfortable, especially when he meets the female macaw, Jewel (Anne Hathaway). He is ready to make with the sexy time, but she just wants to escape from her cage. She doesn't want to be anyone's pet. Blu can't understand this, because he likes being Linda's pet.

Before they can escape, they are stolen from the lab by smugglers and chained together. They soon escape, but because Blu can't fly, Jewel can't fly either. They want to get away from each other, but first they have to find a way to break free of the chain.

It's no big surprise that they eventually fall for each other. One problem is this isn't set up very well. At no point before meeting Jewel did Blu express any interest in finding a mate. I think it would make the audience root for them to get together a little more if they had any idea that Blu actually did want to hook up with Jewel.

There was a scene where Blu and Jewel are riding together on a cart, and the animals around them start making music to try and set the mood, hoping that they will kiss. During this scene, all I could think of was how much better the music was in The Little Mermaid, since they were ripping off the 'Kiss the Girl' sequence.

I won't complain about the fact that none of the animal's voices are South American. But I will complain about how many celebrities lend their voices to this movie. I complain about this a lot, I know, but I am tired of seeing the poster, trailer, or opening credits and seeing a list of high profile actors. There was a time when the voice actors were not mentioned above the title, because they weren't celebrities. They were talented voice actors. Now, all through the movie I keep trying to figure out who is doing what voice. It gets distracting. I don't think the movie would be any less successful if less famous actors voiced the parts. Kids don't go to animated movies based on who does the voices. However, I will say I enjoyed Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords. His musical number was the only one I mildly enjoyed.

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