The director, Carlos Saldanha, collaborated on the "Ice Age" trilogy. What he has developed here has tons of atmosphere and, less helpfully, tons of over-plotted chaos disguised as a story.
Rio will not set your heart afire, although its low-level consciousness raising about illegally smuggled animals is nice. Mostly, it's brightly colored fluff, but then, it's supposed to be.
Some live-action films set in exotic locales can be so atmospheric and picturesque that viewers walk away feeling as if they've taken a short vacation. "Rio" accomplishes this feat, which must be a minor miracle for an animated movie.
The only thing surprising about this lackluster animated production is that it attracted an A-list voice cast. But that's how things are today when even mediocre animation can be a big draw.