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Blu-ray Review: ‘Rio’

The “Rio” Blu-ray release features a two-disc set consisting of a Blu-ray disc and DVD, along with some digital download materials.

Aptly set in Rio de Janeiro, this 96-minute 3D animation is helmed by Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha, also the man behind “Robots” and the “Ice Age” films. The filmmaker shows love for his hometown with this movie project that showcases the fun and festive culture of the Brazilian city.

Filled with dazzling imagery and contagiously fun music, “Rio” tells the story of two macaws, the last exotic birds of their kind, as they escape from animal smugglers in Rio. The domesticated Blu and the fiercely independent Jewel set off in an adventure and they meet many other animal friends and foes along the way. The voice cast features many known names including Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Will.i.Am, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, and George Lopez.


With the film’s strongest points being its eye-candy colors and grand musical numbers, its Blu-ray version looks really gorgeous on screen. On a visual standpoint, the transfer reproduces such a spectacular color palette filled with a variety of bright and beautifully saturated colors. From this South American city’s carnival atmosphere to its rainforests, things look very vibrant, sharp, and detailed.

The festival costumes, extensive foliage, and individual hairs and feathers of the different animal characters turn out impressively three-dimensional even in 2D format. The inky blacks are always pleasantly deep, especially in the night and dark interior shots. The contrast and shadow gradation are well-preserved throughout the movie. There are no compression issues nor post-processing artifacts ruining the film’s spectacular high-definition imagery.


This animated flick showcases many catchy tunes and immersive musical numbers. There is a consistently energetic and dynamic feel to the sound elements, giving the audience a highly engaging viewing experience. The entertaining sound delivers a clear, rhythmic, and bumping mix. The entire motion picture offers convincing ambience, distinct bass presence, dynamic surround detail, entertaining effects, and lively voice performances. This Blu-ray also provides audio options in English, Spanish, and French.


Keeping up with its feisty sound and visuals, this Blu-ray release is bursting with special features from video clips and pictures to factoids. These materials include the animated short “Scrat’s Continental Crack-up,” “Deleted Scene – Fruit Stand,” “The Real Rio,” “Saving the Species: One Voice at a Time,” “Nigel Mashup,” and the movie’s theatrical trailer. There are also interactive features like “Explore the World of Rio,” “Carnival Dance-O-Rama,” and “Postcards from Rio.”

The disc’s music-related bonus items include “The Making of Hot Wings” with Will.i.Am and Jamie Foxx, “Boom Boom Tish Tish: The Sound of Brazil” with Sergio Mendes, “Welcome to Rio Music Video,” “Telling the World Music Video” with Taio Cruz, and “Rio De Jam-eiro Jukebox,” which allows users to go directly to this animated flick’s musical numbers. There are also live extras available including “Live Lookup” for IMDb, “Exclusive: The Acting Animators,” and “Pocket BLU,” which allows Wi-Fi transfer of the film’s digital copy and exclusive downloadable bonus features to mobile devices. The disc also offers the “Angry Birds Rio” content for computers, tablets, and mobile phones. The movie’s subtitle options are available in English and Spanish.

Final Thoughts

“Rio” may have storytelling flaws, but it is sugarcoated by incredibly fun sound and imagery. Its gratuitous sensory overload makes it a fine popcorn flick filled with that boost of Brazilian spirit. Amidst its mediocre narrativw, its audio-visual splendor, workable voice work, and pop-culture hipness still make it a pleasant family movie for its target market.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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