The action is eye-poppingly colourful in Rio, the latest animation hi-jinks from the creators of the crazy-clever Ice Age. This tuneful treat features a rare blue macaw that has ended up as a pet in small town Minnesota. Unexpectedly, a Brazilian ornithologist shows up with an offer to take both Blu and owner Linda down to Rio de Janeiro so that Blu can be bred with the only surviving female blue macaw, thus saving the species from extinction. Linda reluctantly agrees and flies to exotic Rio, only to have both Blu and his prospective mate, Jewel, birdnapped by despicable black marketers. The resulting storyline — which cuts between the macaw duo’s wild adventures once they escape and the frantic efforts of Linda and the ornithologist to track down the missing birds — is a savvy mix of comedy, thrills, and a touch of amour . . . both avian and human.
Although Rio falls short of being classic, it has lots to recommend it, from the vividly hued look of the animation to the effective character voices (courtesy of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, and Tracy Morgan). A couple of the elaborately choreographed set-pieces are little more than routine, but the flight-challenged and unworldly Blu has a nice character arc to navigate as he struggles to win the respect of the fiercely independent Jewel. And there is lots of funny business on hand, courtesy of crazy bird sidekicks, a gang of thieving monkeys, and a ripely villainous cockatoo who almost steals the show.