Rio appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Expect a stellar transfer here.
Sharpness was excellent. At all times, the movie exhibited virtually flawless definition, without a hint of softness on display. No signs of jaggies or moiré effects materialized, and edge enhancement didn’t appear. I also failed to discern any print flaws in this clear presentation.
With most of the action set in Rio – and during the extravagant Carnaval, as well – one would anticipate a dynamic palette, and that’s what one would get. The colors were vibrant and bright at all times, as they showed eye-popping vivacity. Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows appeared smooth and well-defined. This was an absolutely killer image.
While not as strong, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 worked fine for the movie. The soundfield tended to focus on the front speakers, though the rear channels kicked to life at times. These occurred mostly during the occasional action scenes; we got good movement for vehicles and all the bird flight on display. Otherwise, the nearly omnipresent music showed nice stereo dimensionality, and the track gave us a positive sense of place and involvement.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed concise and crisp, while music offered good range and clarity. Effects were also accurate and full, as they represented different elements well. I thought the track lacked the scope to be more than a “B”, but it seemed more than adequate for the story.
The Blu-ray comes with a decent set of supplements. We get one Deleted Scene. Entitled “Fruit Stand”, it runs one minute, 29 seconds and show Blu and Jewel and Rafael as they sample local fruits. Presented in storyreel form, it’s a watchable scene but nothing memorable.
For something interactive, we go to Explore the World of Rio. This gives us a map and lets us go to four different locations: “City”, “Jungle”, “Stadium” and “Beach”. Each of these provides a mix of options: “Video”, “Photo”, “Director Insight” and “Trivia Fact”.
How does this work? When you click on any of the four locations, you’ll see the icons for the different options. Click on these to learn more. The breakdown: “City” gives us six trivia facts, two photos, three videos, and one Director’s Insight, while “Jungle” goes with five trivia facts, two photos, two videos, and one Director’s Insight. “Stadium” throws in six trivia facts, one photo, one video and one Director’s Insight, and “Beach” finishes with six trivia facts, two photos, two videos and one Director’s Insight.
What content do these offer? Within “Trivia Facts”, we learn more about the Brazilian people and culture and locations. The “Videos” depict travelogue-style footage of Rio, and the “Photos” show the same kind of material. In the “Director’s Insights”, we hear from filmmaker Carlos Saldanha, producer John Donkin, actor Rodrigo Santoro, and cinematographer Renato Falcão. They tell us a little more about the various Brazilian locales. “Explore” won’t give you a detailed glimpse of Rio – and the format makes it slow-going to wade through all the material – but it does recap the topics fairly well.
A few featurettes follow. Saving the Species: One Voice at a Time goes for 24 minutes, 49 seconds and offers notes from Saldanha, Donkin, Santoro, lead animators Lluis Llobera, Paul F. Diaz, Patrik Puhala, Amila Puhala, Scott Carroll, Jeff Gabor, Pete Paquette, Brian F. Menz, and Nick Bruno, producer Bruce Anderson, and actors Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Jake T. Austin, Carlos Ponce, Jane Lynch, Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, and Jemaine Clement. The show looks at cast, characters, performances and animation. It hits on a lot of good notes and becomes an engaging, informative piece.
During the eight-minute, two-second The Making of ‘Hot Wings’, we hear from Saldanha, Foxx, Donkin, animation supervisor Galen Tan Chu, and actor/music producer Will.i.am. We learn a bit about the song and production number found in the film. It’s a fluffier piece than “Species”, but it has some decent notes.
Boom-Boom Tish-Tish: The Sounds of Rio goes for 13 minutes, 30 seconds and features Saldanha, Donkin, Anderson, Chu, executive music producer Sergio Mendes, and senior animator Mika Ripatti. The show examines the movie’s music and dance sequences. This isn’t exactly an in-depth piece, but it throws in a reasonable amount of facts.
Finally, The Real Rio lasts nine minutes, 31 seconds and includes info from Morgan, Foxx, Saldanha, Donkin, Anderson, Clement, Hathaway, Falcão, Santoro, Chu, Eisenberg, and art director Thomas Cardone. This follows the film crew’s research trip to Brazil and attempts to keep the movie true to those locations. I like the footage from the jaunt and think we get a good look at the flick’s attempts at authenticity.
When we go to Carnival Dance-O-Rama, we find a tutorial. You pick the movie characters you like and follow the steps to dance along with them. I’ll not actually do this, but if it floats your boat, have fun! (Note that the dance steps are different from one character to another, so there’s a lot of replay value here.)
After this we find two Music Videos. “Welcome to Rio” is simply a montage of movie clips set to the closing credits’ tune. Taio Cruz’s “Telling the World” isn’t much more interesting; it mixes film snippets with shots from the studio. It does attempt to have characters interact with Cruz, but this is a token effort, so it’s a forgettable video.
You can access different movie songs via the Rio De Jam-eiro Jukebox. It lets you choose from the flick’s five tracks and jump straight to them. It’s just a glorified form of chapter search.
Under Postcards from Rio, we can make our own creation. It lets you pick from a mix of elements to generate a postcard. It runs a little on the clunky side but can be fun.
To capitalize on the mega-popular game, we get a few features under Angry Birds Rio. A trailer (1:32) introduces us to the theme, while a “Nigel Mashup” (2:17) shows a Rio scene reanimated to include some Angry Birds characters; that makes it mildly amusing. Finally, an “Exclusive clue Video” (0:28) gives you a code to enter when you play the game; it’d mean more to me if I’d ever done so.
The disc opens with ads for Hoodwinked Too!, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and Ice Age: Continental Drift. The Blu-ray also tosses in the trailer for Rio.
A second disc offers a DVD Copy of the film; this appears to be a full retail version of the release. A third platter contributes a Digital Copy of Rio which will let you transfer the movie to a computer or portable viewing device.
While Rio has all the elements to become a fun animated adventure, it never comes together in a satisfying way. Despite its vibrant settings and situations, it ends up as a surprisingly flavorless and generic film. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals along with good audio and a decent – though superficial – set of supplements. I’ve seen worse animated comedies than Rio, but I’ve seen better – a lot better.