Rio is a 3-D animation feature from the makers of the “Ice Age” films. Set in the magnificent city of Rio de Janeiro and the lush rainforest of Brazil, the comedy-adventure centers on Blu, a rare macaw who thinks he is the last of his kind. When Blu discovers there’s another – and that she’s a she – he leaves the comforts of his cage in small town Minnesota and heads to Rio. But it’s far from love at first sight between the domesticated and flight-challenged Blu and the fiercely independent, high-flying female, Jewel. Unexpectedly thrown together, they embark on an adventure of a lifetime, where they learn about friendship, love, courage, and being open to life’s many wonders. RIO brings together a menagerie of vivid characters, a heart-warming story, colorful backdrops, energizing Latin and contemporary music, and family-friendly song and dance.
“Rio” is a remarkable visually breath-taking adventure with vivid colors and plenty of action. There is some humor too that the adults will appreciate along with the kids. A lively opening sequence kicks it off with a peppy song about Rio and a bird’s tail shaking to the rhythm. Then we are transferred to a snowy scene somewhere else and we see a “Not Rio” sign. Another example of the humor takes place in a scene when we have Linda, Blu’s owner, speaking to her mother by phone and she tells her she can’t visit because who would take care of Blu? “Mother, they don’t have kennels for birds”, she says. The voice work is fantastic and features Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann and George Lopez.
There is a lot of fantasy violence with a lot of it taking place between the birds and humans but there is nothing graphic or gratuitous. The plot of this adventure in Rio de Janeiro and the lush rainforest of Brazil is that Blu, totally happy with his owner Linda in Minnesota, learns there is one other rare macaw which survives in Rio and a bird expert named Tulio comes to enquire about taking Blu to Rio to mate with Jewel, the strong-willed and talkative female macaw. Soon this unlikely pair faces adventure and danger and slowly begin to form a bond that by movie’s end is more powerful than either of them could have imagined. The humor continues throughout including a moment I really liked when a bat is exposed to the sun and says painfully in his best Bela Lugosi voice, “Oh, the light!”
The movie features Blu’s goal to learn to fly because, unlike Jewel, he can’t. We won’t plot spoil but we will just say there is even character growth in the film. The themes of loyalty and giving someone different a chance are nice themes. We are pleased to recommend this movie for all ages and we gladly award it our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal. Head to Rio this weekend; it’s only as far as your local theater.