CHICO & RITA blu-ray review

UK Region B blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.85:1

Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio, LPCM 2.0

Subtitles: English









Chico & Rita is the best animated film (for adults) I’ve seen in 2011. I loved Puss ‘N Boots too but that’s just your typical Hollywood CGI animated film for kids (and I know I will love the upcoming Tintin animated film). Chico & Rita is a unique animated films for adults, so it will not win Best Animated film at the Oscars, but it will also most likely not even get nominated at all. I don’t think the Oscars have nominated an R-rated animated film yet and I think they will stick with “G and PG rated ones” for now with their closed-minded selections.

Chico & Rita, directed by the respectable Spanish director Fernando Trueba (he directed Belle Epoque) is a simple story of two lovers from Cuba. Chico is a piano player. Rita is a singer. They play in jazz clubs in 1948 Cuba and New York, They meet, have sex, fall in love, break up, meet up, have sex (full female nudity), and so on. It’s a simple and touching story because it’s well-written and the movie is full of exciting music with animated cameos of famous musicians such as Chucho Valdes, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Chano Pozo, Tito Puente, Ben Webster, and Thelonious Monk. The movie is also very exciting – it’s not just a bunch of characters playing music all the time. There’s an impressive filmed car chase and, even more impressive, is a catfight with Rita being totally nude. I think it’s the first animated cat fight I have ever seen.

The animation is the star of the film. This is one of the few animated movies I’ve seen that captures the most realistic movement of a woman. There have been tons of animated movies that have tried, but something was always off. The secret to what was done in Chico & Rita was that they actually filmed the movie with real actors and the animators just captured all those realistic movements and expressions – a really amazing job. Another amazing point about the animation is that this movie literally renovated Cuba to its peak times of the late 40s. The filmmakers traveled to Cuba and took tons of photographs of areas of Cuba that were falling apart. In the movie, they renovate all those pictures to the way those areas used to be in the late 1940s. It’s as if the filmmakers totally restored Cuba.

The UK blu-ray is totally satisfying. Colors pop. Detail stands out – the image is as crisp and detailed as the animation can be when put onto the blu-ray format. The Spanish DTS-HD 5.1 (with some English dialogue when the characters go to New York) is practically perfect as well. Dialogue is clear and the music sounds amazing. You will want to play this movie loud! The English subtitles are perfect as well.

The extras are just the ones that we would want – a commentary, a trailer, and an in-depth making of the film. I don’t know what else they could have added? I guess some people would want an English dub for the film but this movie isn’t for kids, so just pretend this film is an R-rated foreign film.

Chico & Rita is not only an original-looking animated film, it’s also a really touching love story with great music. I highly recommend this film!

(UPDATE: Wow, the movie actually got nominated for an Oscar. This was an unexpected surprise!)

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