Rio is a beautifully rendered film that is made more spectacular with its 3-D effects. While clearly designed to delight children, it also provides plenty of pleasure for adults through its character development and clever turns of phrase. The boy-meet-girl story is told on two levels: the two rare birds -- one from the city and one from spectacular Rio -- and the two adults -- a shy, but knowing, woman who owns the city bird and a smart, but nerdy botanist who has re-located from the States to Rio in order to study the colorful birds found in the rainforest. The samba rhythms keep the music from becoming cloying and, in fact, add some fine touches.
One of the movie's best features is the menagerie (literally) of second fiddles and bit players who waddle or fly --sometimes awkwardly and other times with soaring grace. It's a cartoon, so most of the good guys are genuinely good, while the bad guys might as well be wearing black hats because their evilness is so totally transparent (even when they're pretending to be good guys). But it does bring up a good point about the illegal poaching of rare birds from the rain forests and the willingness of wealthy clients to buy them despite threats of species extinction. Rio shifts into darker color schemes when it enters the lair of the bad guys, so in case you missed the point of where bad vs. good is occurring, the film makes it perfectly clear. The villain bird is a conniving liar who always looks like he needs a bath and flies awkwardly. He's a total contrast with the good hearted birds who are both colorful and beautiful to watch
But the movie's strongest feature has to be the music, which beats with a Brazilian heart throughout the film, and provides the opportunity for some spectacular dancing numbers. My only proviso is that the film pays some obvious tribute to Disney pictures such as Lion King in its biggest number (again, Lion King comes to mind). But the numbers are well-done so you quickly forget that it's all been done before, and concentrate instead of the colorful birds and the heart-warming story. Another highly successful element of the film is its portrayal of the Carnivale parade with its gorgeous animated floats and gyrating dancers moving to the rhythm of Rio.
I saw the film in 3D, and the effects were both excellent and subtle enough to keep the film from falling into overdone 3-D cliches. It's worthwhile wearing the glasses to see this one. have a feeling that you wouldn't miss 3-D if you only purchase the 2-D Blu-Ray, but once you've seen it in 3-D there's simply no going back. On my projector/screen combo, Rio was bright and beautiful with memorable moments throughout. And since the samba beat was the glue that held it all together, a good sound system really pays off.
We never see anyone heading for the gym, but the heroine is in remarkably good physical condition for a gal from Minnesota who runs a barely successful pet store. But, honestly, who cares about such details. It's a fun movie and I can't wait to show it to my grandchildren.