Viewed – 10 February 2012  DVD

It would be easy to pass off many animated movies these days as simply more of the same, and although this likable entry has the same old themes, such as believing in yourself, fish out of water etc, it has enough comedy, lush visuals and all round ‘fun’ to make it worth your while.  Blu is a rare breed Macaw, who having been captured by poachers as a baby, soon becomes the pet of a young girl.  Over fifteen years they become inseparable.  Then one day a wildlife expert spots Blu and offers to take him and his owner to Brazil where he knows about a female Macaw, and if they hit it off, it could mean the saving of the species.  That is until a band of ruthless smugglers intervene.

From the guys behind the Ice Age movies, this is a vibrant and instantly enjoyable movie.  The voice acting, whilst nothing special adds personality, with Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway delivering the goods as the two Macaws.  The relationship between Blu and his owner is pretty much the same as that seen in other movies such as Bolt, and as a story, it’s fairly predictable.  Thankfully the gag factor is more hit than miss and the increasingly entertaining situations (with a memorable carnival chase) mean it never gets tiresome, and support characters like a rapping bird voiced brilliantly by The Black Eyed Peas’ Will.I.AM. and a salivating bulldog, brought more than a few giggles my way.  The Rio de Janeiro setting is also gorgeous and enhances the whole movie, meaning that all in all – this is one to see.

Verdict:  4 /5

Ice Age

Viewed – 03 January 2011  DVD

I’ll admit it.  I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to some animated movies.  At one stage when considering CGI-based animated fair, if wasn’t by Pixar (Toy Story, Monsters Inc), I would turn my nose up.  Despicable Me proved me wrong however, and so … very late to this one, we have a movie set at the dawn of a very cold winter.

The first thing I noticed was how uninspiring the animation style was, with the characters and scenery all having a plastic-like look to them.  Not the best first impressions, but then the story, that of a Sloth, a Sabre Tooth Tiger and a Mammoth who find a human boy and choose to take him back to his tribe, gradually began to pull me in.  You see, the boy was taken from his tribe by his mother fleeing a Sabre Tooth Tiger attack, and when the Mammoth and co find him, the Sabre Tooth secretly plots to lead them into a trap.  The Sloth was the comedy fodder here, and the different perils the group faced during their journey were certainly entertaining.  Yet the movie’s gentle tone felt a touch too ‘safe’ for me, and it wasn’t exactly laugh-out-loud funny (unless you’re three).  The plot also was nothing particularly different, but I did like how things came together at the end, with some nice twists.

As part of an ongoing franchise, I liked the characters and setting enough to want to check out the sequels … so that can’t be bad.

Verdict:  2.5 /5