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  • 2011-04-21
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director:  Carlos Saldanha

In his latest film, the director of the “Ice Age” movies has created a film that’s markedly different from the exceedingly popular franchise that made his name. Oh, wait a minute. No, he hasn’t. He’s just replaced the snow with jungle and made exotic birds the central character. Well, people do say that recycling is good for the planet.

Blu is a macaw living a pampered existence with his human owner Linda after being removed from his native Rio by smugglers when he was a chick. His easy life is disrupted by the arrival of bird expert Tulio who tells Linda that Blu is the last male of his species. He must go to Rio and mate with the beautiful Jewel to continue the lineage. Reluctantly Linda takes Blu to the South American country to do the deed. But whilst there, Blu and Jewel are kidnapped by smugglers with the help of evil cockatoo Nigel.  Linda and Tulio frantically search for the lost birds as Blu and Jewel attempt to escape from their captors. For Blu, the phrase “It’s a jungle out there,” takes on a whole new meaning which will change his life forever.

There is nothing wrong with this film – the voice cast (including Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway as the avian heroes) are all good, the animation is colorful and the script peppered with one-liners. But it all seems so formulaic. The story has elements of such films as “Finding Nemo,” “The Wild” ( a surprisingly good animated feature that died a death at the box office) amongst many others whilst the animation reminds us of countless CGI films over the past few years. Indeed, there’s nothing innovative here at all and you almost feel a cynical “I wonder if we can get another franchise like Ice Age” mind at work here.

Of course, the film has been a big hit, released in time to keep the youngsters quiet during the Easter holiday. On that score, the film succeeds admirably. Just don’t expect anything special. 



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