- Directed by Carlos Saldanha
- March 22, 2011 (World Premiere) / April 15, 2011 (North America)
- Blu-Jesse Eisenberg
- Jewel-Anne Hathaway
- Nico-Jamie Foxx
- Rafael-George Lopez
- Luiz-Tracy Morgan
- Nigel-Jemaine Clement
- Linda Gunderson-Leslie Mann
- Dr. Túlio Monteiro-Rodrigo Santoro
- –Jake T. Austin
- Marcel-Carlos Ponce
- Armando-Davi Vieira
- Tipa-Jeffrey Garcia
- Alice-Jane Lynch
- Chloe-Wanda Sykes
- Eva-Bebel Gilberto
- Lead Marmoset-Francisco Ramos
A Spix’s macaw is kidnapped by animal smugglers while in Rio de Janeiro as part of a breeding program to save the species.
Rio is a fun and bouncy film with currently great CGI animation and fantastic music. I have made no secret of my feelings on how poorly CGI ages in animated films but after ten years this is still presentable. The music is catchy and very danceable. They catch the vibe of the Rio Carnival and it sounds like the music of a party.
The story of Rio focuses on Blu who is a sheltered Spix’s macaw that has spent most of his life in Moose Lake, Minnesota (it IS a real place) but eventually finds himself in Rio in an attempt to save his species. This is apparently a real thing as the Spix’s macaw is no longer found in the wild.
Blu is rather happy with his owner Linda but when placed in a habitat in Rio with a female Spix’s named Jewel it is a case of love at first sight. It’s a clash of personalities stories with Blu preferring his sheltered life of cookies and hot chocolate in Minnesota with Jewel preferring to live free in the wild.
Aside from the romance between Blu and Jewel, there is a romantic subplot involving Jewel’s owner Linda and a Brazilian ornithologist named Túlio who sets up the trip. They even get a cute orphan by the end named Fernando.
The main villain of the film is Nigel, a sulphur-crested cockatoo who is a former Brazilian television star replaced by a Parakeet. This caused him to have a strong hatred for “pretty birds.” While he is owned by humans who are animal smugglers, he’s clearly the one in charge as he does most of the legwork and Marcel’s henchman fear him.
There are a handful of other characters that Blu and Jewel encounter along the way. There is a toco toucan named Rafael that helps get Jewel and Blu closer. There are best friends Pedro and Nico. And Blu and Rafael are helped by a bulldog named Luiz.
Rio moves rather briskly. It feels shorter than its 90 minutes which is a good thing because at no point does it really drag. The story keeps a steady pace and there’s no real downtime. Everything keeps moving the story towards the conclusion. They are short and to the point with their setups of plot elements.
I won’t call this film great but I will call it very entertaining. Dialogue is good and the jokes land pretty well. Nothing is sidesplitting but you will get more than a few laughs when watching.
At first the romance between Blu and Jewel is a little forced. Honestly he is just way too much of a loser at the beginning for anyone to find attractive. It isn’t until he has an icebreaking moment with Jewel that things become a little more believable.
Rio is a fun bit of animation aimed at kids but still enjoyable enough for adults to watch. Pop it in for yourself or with your family. Either way you will enjoy your time. I say give it a watch!