Remember when there were only a few studios putting out animated movies? Remember how good they were back then? Nowadays, every studio has an animation department because, although animated films are costly, their returns are usually enormous. But with quantity comes low quality, and it’s about time we parents took a stand for it. Just look at Disney’s Mars Needs Moms. On its fifth weekend at the box office, Mars Needs Moms ranked 33 with a total gross of only $20 million on a budget of $150 million. Ouch. If Rio sticks around the box office top 10 for long, I am going to lose faith in the moviegoing families of America.
The Ice Age films are the farthest thing from quality entertainment. Just like my 3.5-year-old daughter, I find them boring and unfunny. They leave us both completely disinterested. If the Ice Ages do the same to you, prepare for more cinematic trauma.
Stunt Casting – verb
1. to unfittingly and/or unnecessarily cast a (hopefully) well-known actor/actress simply for the purpose of being able attach his/her name to that production.
Example: Man, was Jesse Eisenberg a terrible decision of stunt casting as the lead voice in “Rio,” or what?! I mean, all that guy is critically known for is playing billionaire Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network,” so why would they think he’d make a great lead voice actor in a kid’s movie? It’s not like he was even stretching much to play The Zuck – he simply added two more layers of Michael Cera to pull of that character. He basically always plays the same whiny monotone kid in everything, which totally worked in “Zombieland.” But did you ever see “Adventureland?” I didn’t think so. – my point exactly.
Rio tells the boring story of unwittingly-named Blu (Eisenberg), a flightless house-trained rare Blue Macaw taken by his owner (Leslie Mann, Funny People) to a bird sanctuary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during Carnival to mate with Jewel (Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs), the last known female of the species. The night Blu and Jewel are supposed to mate, the sanctuary is raided by poachers who nab Blu and Jewel out of their love nest.
Fighting for survival and attempting to get back to his fragile owner, Blu sets off on an uneventful journey with Jewel that repetitiously consists of annoying samba musical numbers, them being chased and unfunny animal side characters. No joke. Musical number, chase scene, dumb characters voiced by will.i.am and Jaime Foxx, repeat. Same-sounding musical number, another chase scene, dumb character voiced by Wanda Sykes, repeat. Yet another samba musical number, a scene where Blu and Jewel are chased by goofy monkeys, and an even more annoying character voiced by Tracy Morgan, repeat. A blaring loud Carnival samba song, a low-speed Carnival float chase, the only fitting voice actor in the cast brutally killed in a chase, the end.
There are only three entertaining things to Rio:
1. Blu’s owner makes a reference to the fact that every song in the movie sounds the same.
2. If you know Angry Birds, there is a great visual gag using their birds.
3. Spoiler! The only good voice in the cast belongs to Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords). Additionally, the only good song in the film is sang by him and the only reason it is good is because it is more like a Conchords song than a Rio samba.
Don’t you dare go see this movie. There is absolutely no reason why Rio should do better than Mars Needs Moms. If you see it, I guarantee you that you be stuck like a sucker friend of mine who made a similar mistake and is now forced to have Beverly Hills Chihuahua playing on a repeated loop in his house. Just don’t do it.
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox