Rio (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 31, 2011 by Dennis Amith
“Rio” is a highly enjoyable animated film for the entire family! While “Rio” features fantastic PQ, AQ and many special features, fans of “Angry Birds Rio” will definitely want to pick up this Blu-ray release for the special extra levels code as well. Fans of both “Rio” and “Angry Birds Rio” will no doubt love this Blu-ray release! Definitely recommended!
Images courtesy of ©2011 Twentieth Century Fox Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Rio (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)
FILM RELEASE DATE: 2011
DURATION: 96 minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox
RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2011
Directed by Carlos Saldanha
Story by Carlos Saldanha, Earl Richey Jones and Todd Jones
Screenplay by Don Rhymer, Joshua Sternin, Jeffrey Ventimilia, Sam Harper
Produced by Bruce Anderson, John C. Donkin
Music by John Powell
Cinematography by Renato Falcao
Edited by Harry Hitner, Randy Trager
Casting by Christian Kaplan
Set Decoration by Melanie Martini
Jesse Eisenberg as Blu
Lesllie Mann as Linda
Wanda Sykes as Chloe
Jane Lynch as Alice
Rodrigo Santoro as Tulio
Jamie Foxx as Nico
Will.i.am as Pedro
Anne Hathaway as Jewel
George Lopez as Rafael
Captured as a young bird from the wild, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network) is a domesticated Spix Macaw living thousands of miles away from his homeland, Brazil. When his human owner Linda (Leslie Mann, 17 Again) discovers that he is the last male of his kind, they head south to Rio de Janeiro to meet the only other female. But it’s far from love at first sight between the socially-awkward, flight-challenged Blu and the fiercely independent, high-flying female, Jewel (Anne Hathaway, The Princess Diaries). Shortly after Blu’s arrival, the two rare birds are captured by greedy animal smugglers and find themselves lost in the Brazilian rainforest. Unexpectedly thrown together, they embark on a hilarious and clumsy adventure where they learn about friendship, love, courage and spreading one’s wings to fly.
Filmmaker/animator Carlos Saldanha has brought success for Twentieth Century Fox with the various “Ice Age” films and while the films have been popular for FOX, many companies are quite competitive when it comes to theatrical films and when it comes to marketing, especially for a big budgeted animated film, you need all the push you can get.
And Saldanha’s “Rio” (budgeted at $90 million) will definitely need that heavy marketing push.
With probably one of the most ingenuous collaborations in recent memory Twentieth Century Fox’s tie-in with video game company Rovio, the creator of the immensely popular mobile game “Angry Birds”.
Prior to the film, millions of people all over the world got their chance to play “Angry Birds Rio”, a mobile video game which has been downloaded over 10 million times.
With a successful tie-in with the game and bringing buzz to the animated film, “Rio” went on to make $476 million dollars in the box office. A successful hit and Twentieth Century Fox and Rovio are back again, teaming up for a Blu-ray and DVD release (set for Aug. 2nd) which not only comes with the film on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy but also has 15 bonus levels for “Angry Birds Rio”.
“Rio” begins with a blue macaw which was smuggled from Rio de Janeiro to Minnesota and by accident, a crate containing the bird falls in front of the home of a young girl named Linda.
Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann, “Knocked Up”, “17 Again”, “The Cable Guy”) would eventually grow up along with her blue macaw named Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”, “Zombieland”, “Adventureland”).
Linda has always protected Blu but one day, while working at a book store, a Brazilian ornithologist Tulio Monteiro (voiced by Rodrigo Santoro, “300”, “Che”) comes and tells Linda that he needs her help and explains that Blu must be taken back to Rio because it appears his species is nearly extinct and needs Blu to mate with another Macaw in order to preserve the species.
At first Linda is against it but she knows that for the better good of Blu’s species, going to Rio may be a good thing. And sure enough, Linda and Blu along with Tulio pack their bags and go to Rio.
While visiting the aviary, Rio makes friends with a cardinal named Pedro (voiced by Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am) and a yellow canary named Nico (voiced by Jamie Foxx, “Collateral”, “Ray”, “Dreamgirls”). He also meets the macaw that he is to mate with, a light blue macaw named Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway).
At first Blu, thinks that he is to mate with Jewel but Jewel needs Blu to help them escape from the aviary and go back to the wilderness. But the two end up fighting, while Linda and Tulio think the birds are actually planning to mate.
But what they don’t know is that here is a boy named Fernando (voiced by Jake T. Austin, “Wizards of Waverly Place”, “Hotel for Dogs”) and his Cockatoo named Nigel (voiced by Jemaine Clement) are working for a group of smugglers led by Marcel (voiced by Carlos Ponce), a once popular performer on TV who has vowed to capture and smuggle exotic birds because he was replaced by a parakeet on the program.
But fortunately, both Blu and Jewel are able to flee from the smugglers and end up in a jungle where they meet a toucan named Rafael (voiced by George Lopez, “George Lopez”, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”).
Meanwhile, Fernando, the boy who stole Blu and Jewel, after being cheated of the profits he was expecting to get from Marcel, he regrets what he has done and goes to Tulio and Linda and wants to help them find the birds.
As Blu and Jewel spend time with Rafael, Rafael teaches Blu how to fly and also how to survive in the jungle, meanwhile Marcel sends out Nigel, the evil cockatoo to do what it takes to capture the macaws and so Nigel has hired mamoset thieves to capture Blu and Jewel.
Will Blu and Jewel be safe in the jungle and will Linda and Tulio find Blu and Jewel in time before Marcel and crew get their hands on them?
“Rio” is presented in 1080p High Definition and is presented in widescreen (2:40:1). As one would expect from a film that takes place in the jungle and many colorful birds being featured throughout the film, “Rio” looks absolutely vibrant on Blu-ray. Colors galore! Wonderful detail on the feathers and beaks of the birds, backgrounds and details of rocks to the buildings and even the interiors of the homes look great.
If there is one word to describe the picture quality of the film, that word would be “colorful”. Expect to see many colors pop throughout the film and for the most part, be content with its awesome picture quality!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Rio” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English descriptive audio 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 5.1 Dolby Digital.
The film contains a lot of ambient noises that sound fantastic coming through the surround channels. It’s one thing to have samba musical sequences that sound crystal clear and lively coming from your home theater as there is good use of instruments from surround channels. Front and center channels showcasing the dialogue and music is also crystal clear.
But the film does showcasing excellent ambiance and overall “Rio” has a pretty solid lossless soundtrack!
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.
“Rio” comes with the following special features:
- Angry Birds Rio Trailer – (1:25) Trailer for “Angry Birds Rio”.
- Angry Birds Rio: Nigel Mashup – (2:17) A video featuring Nigel holding the Angry Birds captive.
- Angry Birds: Exclusive Clue Video – (:29) Featuring a video on how people can obtain things online via a code.
- Deleted Scene – Fruit Stand – (1:30) A deleted scene (via sketches) with the voice acting.
- Explore the World of Rio – An interactive tour of Rio (featuring sights and sounds).
- Saving the Species: One Voice at a Time – (24:49) A featurette on the voice acting fr the film, featuring interviews with the cast and behind-the-scenes look at them recording those scenes.
- The Real Rio – (9:31) A featurette on how the filmmakers toured Rio as research for the film and the things they got from visiting Rio.
- The Making of Hot Wings – (8:02) A featurette on Will.i.am and Jamie Foxx recording their scenes for “Rio”.
- Boom Boom Tish Tish: The Sound of Brazil – (13:30) Featuring interviews with Diretor Carlos Saldanha, film crew and also with Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown.
- Carnival Dance-o-Rama – Dance lessons courtesy of the characters from Rio.
- Welcome to Rio Music Video – (1:37) A music video welcoming people to “Rio”.
- Rio de JAM-eiro Jukebox – (8:34) Featuring easy access to the musical sequences from “Rio”.
- Taio Cruz – Telling the World Music Video – (1:55) A short music video featuring Taio Cruz.
- Postcards from Rio – Create your own custom Rio postcard.
- Theatrical trailer – (2:26) Featuring the theatrical trailer for “Rio”.
“Rio” comes with a slipcover case but also flyers to access the Rio “Coloring with Blu” app and a secret clue for one to unlock 15 new Rio levels on “Angry Birds Rio” via iPhone, iPad or Android. “Rio” on Blu-ray also comes with a DVD and Digital Copy edition of the film.
There was no doubt in my mind when news broke out that Twentieth Century Fox would be collaborating with Rovio for “Rio” that the film would be successful.
It hasn’t really been done before but its a true testament how the games “Angry Birds” on iPhones, Android cell phones and iPads have captured so many people’s attention. My family is absolutely addicted to the game and even to this day, they continue to play “Angry Birds”, “Angry Birds Seasons” and “Angry Birds Rio”.
And for my son and my nephew, because of the tie-in with Angry Birds, before “Rio” was shown in theaters, it’s all they talked about. They had to see “Rio” and they had to play “Angry Birds Rio”.
So, the collaboration between Twentieth Century Fox and Rovio was fantastic and it’s one thing to say that because the film is from the creators of “Ice Age” that the film would be a success but lately, animated films are becoming much more competitive and even the big studios have had significant misses as of late for films that they would have expected to be a blockbuster hit.
The thing is that with today’s economy and the many animated films that are available, the animated films need some major marketing push beyond fast food “Kids Meals” and the fact that “Angry Birds Rio” is still at this time a continuing game that introduces new gameplay and levels every few months, “Angry Birds Rio” is here to stay for now.
So, it was no surprise that “Rio” did succeed in the box office, it was an incredible collaboration.
And sure enough, Twentieth Fox and Rovio has done it once again for this Blu-ray release. Not only do you get the Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy, there is also “Angry Birds” content and also a code to get 15 new levels for “Angry Birds Rio”. In fact, prior to my reviewing this Blu-ray release, once the title came up and Angry Birds was shown on the menu, my son and nephew went crazy and wanted to see all the “Angry Birds” content first.
So, once again, good timing on both companies parts of collaborating once again to grab that “Angry Birds” demographic.
With that being said, the animated film was definitely fun! Jesse Eisenberg did a great job at providing the voice of the awkward Blu and Anne Hathaway is just a wonderful actress period and she does a great job voicing the role of Jewel. And you also get quite a bit of talent participating in this film such as George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Will.i.am, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, Leslie Mann, Jake T. Austin, etc.
The story is fun and enjoyable, colorful and vibrant on Blu-ray. Also, the audio is wonderful with the music and the use of the ambiance of the environment of the jungle and Rio.
And as for special features, there is a good number of them on Blu-ray but while they are not necessarily long, the addition of the “Angry Birds Rio” extra levels is a significant plus for the millions of hardcore fans of the game. So, it gives people an extra incentive to purchase this Blu-ray release.
Overall, “Rio” is a highly enjoyable, family fun animated film! The Blu-ray release is absolutely jam-packed and “Angry Birds Rio” fans are definitely going to want to pick up “Rio” on Blu-ray.
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