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The Dream Machine --- The Imagination of the World Wide Web
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When a cooped-up macaw named Blu leaves the confines of his birdcage behind for the tropical climes of Rio de Janiero, he's forced to wing it and re-examine everything he knows about life and being a bird. Sound familiar? Whether or not you watch a lot of animated features, it should sound extremely familiar. This is essentially the same recycled story that we've seen numerous times, but with different animals and in a different setting. If you're looking for anything original, you aren't going to find that here. However, what Rio does correctly is remain light for the entire movie. This is most certainly an animated movie for primarily children. I don't see very many older audiences getting very much out of this one. The comedy isn't nearly as quick or witty as the competition from other studios' animation departments. I can imagine younger viewers enjoying the breezy comedy, but I found this to actually be a bit dull at times. I never laughed during this, I suppose it's because the comedy isn't aimed towards my age demographic. The film references a lot to the relationship between Rio and his owner, Linda. I would have liked if the filmmakers explored the relationship between them a little bit more. From beginning to end, Rio uses material in a bunch of other animated movies and it never feels like it's able to stand on its own. I simply never found myself attached to any of the characters on screen and didn't care very much for the plot to begin with. I'm sure that young children will enjoy Rio for what it's worth, but the screenplay isn't going to keep older viewers hooked. The cast is definitely impressive with a large amount of big-named actors. The voice acting from everybody is solid.
No matter how many animated feature films I see, the visuals will never stop surprising me. Rio has impressive digital work. The detail seen in the background, the landscapes, and the birds are impeccable. There are times that with these animated films that I forget I'm even watching an animated movie. Rio flows with perfect animation as it never misses a beat when it comes to the technical side of the motion picture. The audio quality is exceptional, as well. The surround sounds are constantly active, whether they're giving atmospheric effects or sounds from offscreen action. The dialogue is never difficult to hear as it's always loud and clear. Rio boasts a beautiful visual department. It's just a shame that the entire movie couldn't be as bright and colorful as the digital work.
The biggest issue that I have with Rio is the fact that the story isn't very interesting as it has been told too many times before. It doesn't try too hard to put a spin on anything to make it stand above the rest. Instead, it simply blends in with every single other animated feature with this plot. Even the impressive cast couldn't save the ultimately disappointing screenplay. I found the overall movie to be a bit boring as I didn't care for any of the characters and wasn't very amused by any of the humor. However, the technical portion of this film is truly perfection. Perhaps the filmmakers should have been more concerned with the script and a little less worried about the visual department. Rio is recommended for younger audiences, but older audiences should look elsewhere for his or her fill on animated features.