Monday, 28 March 2011
We just happened to be in London this weekend as a family (that's us in the pic), so when the offer came in to go to a preview screening of the new animated kids film Rio, I said yes please.
It was very exciting to go to the Empire Cinema on Leicester Square, feeling very much like country mice in the big city. Inside it was crazy with Carnaval type samba dancers shimmying around fake palm trees, while face painters painted and balloon modellers modelled. It was loud, busy and manic and I was very, very pleased to get into the theatre and don our 3D specs.
In case you haven't seen the trailors, Rio features a blue macaw called Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) who can't fly. He's also the last male of his species and is brought to Rio to mate with the beautiful Jewel (Anne Hathaway), the last female blue macaw. Obviously things don't go according to plan, otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story (certainly not one suitable for children!)
During their adventures they meet funny birds Pedro (Will.I.AM) and Nico (Jamie Foxx), Luiz (Tracey Morgan) the drooling bulldog and the baddie Nigel (Jermaine Clement), not to mention lots of thieving monkeys.
The story is sweet (almost sickenly so with the perfect ending) and it's not jam-packed with laughs (although I did laugh out loud with the text message the monkeys sent and the stripping security guard with his gold pants). But what made me smile with my whole body was the music in the film. It was toe-tapping, infectious, booty-wiggling samba with fantastic dance routines by multi-coloured birds, all set against the beautiful backdrop of Rio de Janeiro.
I'm not normally a 3D fan (gives me a headached) but the 3D in this was incredible, particularly when some of the characters were racing through the favellas, while the flying scenes made my toes curl they were so effective (not a big fan of heights).
My kids enjoyed it, although my youngest didn't like some of the bits with the baddies. They liked the drooling dog. They would. They're boys. Anything gross is good. They rated it 8 out of 10, losing marks probably because they don't have their mother's desire to shake her groove thang whenever she hears samba.
Perhaps it was just because I'd sailed to Rio that the location had a special place in my heart, or perhaps deep down I just want to be a samba-dancing, bikini-clad, butt-shaking romantic. But this film, with its bright colours, beautiful scenery and general feel-good vibe made me leave thinking: "I loved that" even though when pressed I couldn't really say why.
Rio opens in cinemas on 8 April, just in time for the Easter holidays. Go to http://www.rio-themovie.co.uk/ for more details.