“Rio” is the latest animated adventure from Blue Sky Studios, creators of “Ice Age.” With that said, make sure you’re on time because before the movie starts, there’s a 2-minute “Ice Age” short with Scrat the Squirrel & is ever-elusive nut. It runs a stunning parallel to one of my childhood faves, Wile E. Coyote(Super Genius) & The Roadrunner.
This story comes from the imagination of Carlos Saldanha. He directed and or co-directed all the ‘Ice Age’ films. Rio de Janeiro is his hometown. Knowing that, you’ll see many layers of visuals only a local boy would know & implement into the frame. Whether it’s ripe, colorful fruit at a local Farmer’s Market or gritty backstreets where suspect deals are made in shade. The city, countryside & energy of “Rio” is beautifully animated throughout the entire film.
The story revolves around Blu, a Minnesota homebody Macaw who thinks his purpose is to sit in his cage & live off the fat content of his hot chocolate. The last thing Blu wants or needs is an adventure. Blu is grounded, literally. He will not even attempt to fly. That’s the heavy hand Blu was dealt, but he’s ok with it.
A scientist named Tulio travels to Minnesota to inform Blu’s buddy & owner Linda that he’s the last male of the species. To make things right in nature, he’s gotta take Blu back to Rio to meet Jewel, (Anne Hathaway) the only surviving female. You do the math.
The main characters soon find themselves in the heart of the jungle. There’s plenty of help along the way from Rafael the Tucan (George Lopez) Nico, a soda pop cap wearin’ canary (Jamie Foxx) Pedro, a cardinal (will.i.am) & Luis the bulldog (Tracy Morgan). “Rio” kicks in with elaborate musical numbers & kids will eat it up. I did like the villain, Nigel the Bitter Cockatoo (Jermanine Clement). He’s over sized, scruffed up & wasn’t to be trifled with in the least.
And the end of the day, what’s Blu’s purpose? What’s the message? What I took from this is….fly & be free. You might be scared to death, but there comes a point in your life when you’ve gotta say ‘what the heck’ & jump out of the nest, whatever that nest may be in your life. There were a bunch of kids at the screening I attended. They simply loved it. One kid was so upset, he began kicking, screaming & crying because he didn’t want the movie to end. He wanted his new friends back on the screen. That’s the most real & honest review you should consider. “Rio” was made for him.
“Rio” is Rated “G”
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Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, will.i.am, Tracy Morgan, George Lopez, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Leslie Mann, Jermanine Clement, Rodrigo Santoro
Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Release Date: April 15, 2011