Saturday, May 28, 2022 |
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With great joy, I once again walked into my local cinema to see a movie I knew nothing about (well, I knew it was animated). I hadn’t heard of “Rio” until I phoned Kukui Grove Cinema and they told me it was a kids movie from the same studio that made “Ice Age” (Dreamworks). I remember I loved that film and Dreamworks is the second best animation studio in the world, one step behind Pixar, the landmark creator of “Toy Story.” I arrived at the theater and gazed over the poster, quickly realizing “Rio” will be good. It is voiced by by Oscar-Nominees Anne Hathaway (“Rachel Getting Married”) and Jessie Eisenberg (“The Social Network”) in the lead roles and wonderful support from Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx (“Ray”) and one of today’s funniest comedians, George Lopez (“Lopez Tonight”).
The plot is simple: Blu (Eisenberg), a domesticated macaw bird from small-town Minnesota, is introduced to the fiercely independent Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and they embark on an adventure through Rio de Janeiro. Surrounding the love story is an interesting twist of social messages about how man treats nature and how people treat each other. The film kicks off with a cartoon that takes a small jab at global warming — all in good fun, nothing serious about this film. The film is made for 3-D viewing, so some scenes use tactics that don’t serve the movie. I won’t get into the 3-D debate, since on Kaua‘i we don’t have that option.
This movie is a rare gem where you get amazing animation, wonderful voice-work by actors you usually identify for their looks or performance and you get a layered screenplay. This film follows a trend started by “Shrek:” kids’ films being for all ages and having layer upon layer of subtext in the cartoon. Which brings me to the thought, are these cartoons or animated feature films? Were cartoons only short because they didn’t have $50 million budgets? I’m amazed to see how far animation has come. “Rio” never draws attention to its style (other then 3-D tricks) and manages to reference films like “The Wizard of Oz”, “On the Waterfront” (in a really cool way) and even draws upon old Hollywood musicals of the ‘30s and ‘40s. I was really amazed to see the artistry behind this film.
“Rio” is a comedy, drama, animated musical; not many films can bring together those elements so well. I recommend this film to everyone (it’s a great movie for a date). I enjoy doing this section because my Dad goes with me to each movie, so I get father-son time and I get to share my love of movies with you. The community experience of the cinema is what we must cherish, because it may be swallowed one day by the Internet. That’s all for me, I’ve given my seal of approval and will “See you at the movies.”
• Paul Booth is a film producer/director/historian and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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