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Raphael, voiced by George Lopez, Blu, voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, and Jewel, voiced by Anne Hathaway, are shown in a scene from ’Rio.’

ap photo

A lot of passion and feeling clearly went into “Rio,” the 3-D animated adventure from Carlos Saldanha, who devised this story as a love letter to his Brazilian hometown.

It’s strikingly gorgeous and bursting with big images and vibrant colors. And the use of 3-D is surprisingly thrilling.

The whole film has tremendous energy, especially in the snappy banter and screwball antics between Jesse Eisenberg, who voices a cerulean macaw named Blu, and Anne Hathaway, who voices Jewel, the free-spirited bird who is his destiny. Eisenberg and Hathaway clash convincingly. It’s essentially one long chase, with the usual romantic-comedy friction that will, of course, turn into love.

A baby Blu was abducted by smugglers who raided his jungle home to sell him and other beautiful birds illegally in the United States. He got lost en route and fell into the loving hands of a nerdy, small-town girl named Linda. The two forged an amusingly inappropriate bond and are enjoying a comfy, co-dependent existence. Linda (voiced as an adult by Leslie Mann) has domesticated this bird to the extent he makes his own breakfast and enjoys hot cocoa with marshmallows, but he never learned to fly.

One day, a scientist, Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), arrives to inform Linda that Blu is the only male left of his species. They must travel at once to Rio de Janeiro to allow Blu to mate with the last female of the species, Jewel.

This first date doesn’t go as everyone hoped. Blu and Jewel hate each other. Then they’re captured by more smugglers, with help from a diabolical cockatoo named Nigel, voiced by Jemaine Clement, a menacing hoot.

They must break free so Blu can get back to Linda and Jewel can enjoy independence. That they’re chained to each other — and Blu can’t fly — sets up plenty of slapstick and elaborate mad dashes.

Nothing deep or heavy – just a good time and great escape.

review

What: “Rio”

Starring: Voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway and Jemaine Clement

Directed by: Carlos Saldanha

Running time: 96 minutes

Rated: G

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