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Rio Clipped

Twentieth Century Fox hosted a lavish event Friday on the lot touting RIO, the latest animated feature from Blue Sky Studios, opening April 15.

Twentieth Century Fox hosted a lavish event Friday on the lot touting RIO, the latest animated feature from Blue Sky Studios, opening April 15. Director Carlos Saldanha presented several clips joined on stage by co-stars Anne Hathaway, George Lopez and Jamie Foxx along with music legend Sergio Mendes, who contributed some of the zesty music.

The dream project by Brazilian-born Saldanha is about a rare blue macaw named Blu (voiced by SOCIAL NETWORK'S Jesse Eisenberg), who is the last male of his kind and whisked away from Minnesota by scientists to Rio to mate with a female macaw, Jewel (Hathaway). However, Blu can't fly and the two birds are immediately put in jeopardy when pursued by poachers and their villainous cockatoo, Nigel (Jemaine Clement). Along the way, Blu and Jewel are befriended by a wise Toucan (Lopez), a yellow canary (Foxx), among others.

RIO offers a boisterous and colorful complement to the popular ICE AGE franchise and, judging by the sneak peek, beautifully captures the look and music of the famous Latin American city. And RIO moves to its own rhythmic beat, always in perpetual motion like a bird in flight or scurrying for its life -- and is tailor-made for 3-D.

Afterward, Saldanha told AWN about the principal challenges of scale and performance: "There was always a question when we started making the movie, 'Can we make birds expressive without making them extremely cartoony?' Because I want people to recognize the birds but I want the animation to be subtle or good enough that we can capture their [physical] essence and their personality. And also for us, this was the first movie where we had to animate humans. We've done it a little before on ICE AGE, but never with any talking and acting and dancing, so it was a big thing for us. And, besides, building a city is not an easy thing to do. We had to build the whole thing and populate it with everything."

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