Fair fly­ing fowls

is a re­lent­lessly pre­dictable but other­wise per­fectly okay kids’ flick, writes Don­ald Clarke

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

YOU KNOW WHAT this is like al­ready. In the same way that, by 1945 or so, the movie fan had some idea what to ex­pect from a mid-qual­ity west­ern, the con­tem­po­rary mul­ti­plex habitué has a mea­sure of the ad­e­quate dig­i­tal an­i­ma­tion. Talk­ing an­i­mals? Check. Pass­able songs? Yes. Un­nec­es­sary 3D? You bet. There’s not much to com­plain about (though I’ll give it a go), but there’s not much to write home about ei­ther.

Rio, Fox’s lat­est en­try to the genre con­cerns the ad­ven­tures of a rare macaw named Blu. Trans­ported to the cold Amer­i­can mid­west as a child, Blu grows up in a nice book­shop (A nice what? Ask your dad, ju­nior) as the com­pan­ion of a spec­ta­cled young lady. One day, a South Amer­i­can or­nithol­o­gist turns up and ex­plains that, be­ing vir­tu­ally the last of his species, Blu must be brought back to South Amer­ica to breed. Jewel, his po­ten­tial part­ner, turns out to be sassy and un­will­ing.

Worse things hap­pen. Evil bird smug­glers kid­nap the pair and – chained to­gether like Madeleine Car­roll and Robert Donat in The 39 Steps – Blu and Jewel are forced to make their way to safety through the harsh jun­gle. Yes, the film­mak­ers have seen Find­ing Nemo.

If you were in a mood to get agi­tated, you could com­plain about the film’s su­per­fi­cial take on Rio de Janeiro’s un­der­class (though di­rec­tor Car­los Sal­danha is from that city). One of the sub­sidiary char­ac­ters, a youth in a Brazil foot­ball top, comes across like a soft­ened, sen­ti­men­talised ver­sion of a City of God tear­away. The de­pic­tion is not ex­actly of­fen­sive, but this is hardly the place to ad­dress Brazil’s con­tin­u­ing prob­lems with so­cial in­equal­ity.

Ev­ery­thing else will do well enough. Gen­tly an­thro­po­mor­phised, the avian char­ac­ters are no more an­noy­ing than those in the av­er­age US rom­com. As you might ex­pect from a par­rot with Jesse Eisen­berg’s voice, Blu is con­stantly strug­gling with his in­ner nerd. As you might ex­pect from a crea­ture that sounds like Anne Hath­away, Jewel is dogged with a ten­dency to­wards perky pro­lix­ity.

Will they get to­gether at the end? Oh, you know what to ex­pect. You al­ready know ev­ery­thing you need to know about this so-so fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.