The technicalities of producing the simplistic animation are arguably more interesting than the film itself. Although it is an animated film, the filmmakers actually filmed everything with real actors and props (including but not limited to 1940s cars, old architecture, musical instruments etc) and then either used them as basis for the animation (how the actors moved for example) or actually traced over them. This gives the film a strangely realistic fluidity (which, might I add, is stunning Blu-ray) that might not have been attained had it just been pure animation without using real life to base it off of.
Ultimately I can say I admired Chico and Rita more than I actually enjoyed it, marvelling at the “how did they do that?” animation which evokes a peculiar sense of realism instead of being truly invested in the key characters and their troubled relationship. Indeed a slice of Cuban life and its integral musical scene – whether you’ll enjoy it will probably depend on whether that is really your thing to begin with.
Not exactly a wealth of special features but along with the obligatory audio commentary and trailer, there is a pretty lengthy 27 minute making of documentary that focuses on everything from the recording of music and the forming of the characters to all the hard work that went into the animation (apparently around 200 animators worked on it!). Nothing spectacular but certainly worth a watch as a companion piece to back up the film.
Although the Blu-ray release doesn't sport any extra features over the DVD, this is one surely worth spending the extra few bucks on. The bright colours and fluid motion of the animation benefit from the upgraded picture of 1080p, really giving it that extra eye-popping colourful look that was surely the filmmakers intention as part of them immersing you in this world. Also the music, which plays a crucial role, definitely benefits from the superior sound quality.