Blue Sky Studios is best known for their work on such films as “Ice Age,” “Robots,” and the recent “Epic,” but what is perhaps their best work, is the 2011 musical-comedy “Rio.”

 

Set mostly in Brazil and partly in Minnesota, this film concerns an anthropomorphic blue macaw, aptly named Blu. Blu is, apparently, the last male left in his species. With the last female being located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, an ornithologist convinces Blu’s owner to bring him to Brazil in order for them to mate and breed more macaws. The plot, however, thickens when Blu and the female macaw, Jewel, are stolen by smugglers, and the birds are forced to find their own way home.

 

Blue Sky is generally good at making images pop on screen, and in “Rio” they create an environment that is rich, lush, and filled with small details of visual delight. In the characters and the stunning backgrounds, the animation is nice looking, especially given the time of its release.

 

The voice performances are adequate, with the two leads coming from Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. Hathaway gives a solid performance, as she usually does, and Eisenberg channels the same geeky, awkward, out-of-place character that he plays in just about every live action film.

 

Supporting roles from will.i.am and Jamie Foxx are also a welcomed addition, especially during the songs — of which there are quite a few in “Rio.”

 

This film does not compare to the best films of Pixar or Disney. There is not the same mastery in storytelling and animation that exists in those film, but this is a worthwhile experience. It is funny, the songs are decent, and it is usually a good-looking film.

 

“Rio” isn’t going to change your life, but if you have the time, consider giving it a look.- 3/4

 

Have you seen “Rio?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments below, and find me on Twitter @TuckerPoikonen.