The shadow of Pixar, the ingenious studio behind animated classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Wall-E, falls heavily over every other Hollywood animation outfit, including Blue Sky which hit big with the Ice Age trilogy and is releasing the new feathery fable Rio. Blue Sky's new film follows the adventures of Minnesota-based macaw Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and his journey to Rio de Janeiro to find the only remaining member of his species. Shot in digital 3D, the movie is getting mostly positive reviews from the critics. But does it reach the great heights of Pixar? (Watch the trailer for Rio.)
It's up there with Pixar's classics: Rio is leagues ahead of the studio's Ice Age movies, says Roger Moore at the Orlando Sentinel, and is "the first Blue Sky movie that could be compared to the best of Pixar." From its "dazzling animated digital 3D" to the witty script, wonderful cast and "rump-shaking" samba tunes, it "delivers delights like few cartoons this side of the Golden Age of Disney."
"Movie review: Rio"
Copying Pixar isn't the same as rivaling it: Rio will excite no one, says Al Alexander at GateHouse News, except Pixar's lawyers who will surely recognize it as the "rip-off" it is. "Just change the species from fowl to fish and you have Finding Nemo." And Pixar's Up arguably inspired a "sentimental montage" about growing old with a life partner. If only this "bland" concoction was as original or witty as either of those movies.
"Rio is a carnival of color, but it never takes flight"
It's no Pixar, but it's still pretty great: This movie is "at the high end of the Blue Sky quality scale," says Richard Corliss at TIME, but falls short of being a "Pixar-level masterpiece." Nevertheless, it's entertaining enough to "keep kids enchanted and their parents engrossed." If you don't go in expecting Toy Story 3, you "should have a blast."
"Rio: Birds of a fabulous feather"