Director: Carlos Saldanha. Screenplay: Don Rhymer. Producer: Bruce Anderson and John C. Donkin. Original Music: John Powell. Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Will I am, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro and Jemaine Clement. Running time: 95 Minutes. Age restriction: Family.
Rio is about a rare blue Macaw that was found and raised by a shy bookstore owner Linda (Leslie Mann). After 15 years both bird and owner had forged a very strong friendship, pretty much each others only companion. To say Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) is domesticated would be an understatement; he acts more human than most people and has quite the flair for mathematics, although his calculations could not bring him so far as to actually fly.
One day an ornithologist (scientist who studies birds) convinces Linda to bring Blu to Rio, Brazil so that Blu could save his species by mating with the last female of his kind. The female in question is a strong willed, fiercely independent macaw named Jewel (Anne Hathaway). True to Macaw nature Jewel can bite and claw her way through any difficult situation and uses these abilities to try and escape the cage she was put into. Before Blu and Jewel can become properly acquainted they are kidnapped by poachers and their evil pet Cockatoo Nigel. As luck might have it Blu can open cages and the pair escapes together, not by choice but by the necessity of being bound together by a steal chain. Through the aid of some feathery friends they set of to find someone who can set them free from the chain.
In my opinion the main theme of the movie is trust, Blu has to trust is heart so that he will be able to fly, Jewel has to trust that humans are not all bad and throughout the movie Blu and Jewel must trust that Rafael (George Lopez) a Toco Toucan bird will be able to remove the chain and set them free. Another theme that was very prominent is of course friendship, I especially liked the two buddies Pedro (Will I am) the red-crusted Cordinal and Nico (Jamie Foxx) the small yellow Canary.
Director Carlos Saldanha, known for Ice age, discussed the entire movie with an Ornithologist from New York’s Bronx Zoo to know the exact structure, anatomy, movement and mannerisms of all the bird characters and it really shows in the movie. Although I feel the 3D aspect of the movie did not really contribute to the movie itself, I did enjoy the Carnival scene with all the glitter bits flying everywhere; that made me really enjoy the 3D, also the 3D effect made the vibrant colours of the birds and plants really pop.
I agree with nzherald.co.nz that the music and dancing really brought life to the movie under the guidance of executive music producer and Brazilian music legend Sergio Mendes. Mixing contemporary sounds and artists such as Will.i.am and Jamie Foxx with more traditional Brazilian sounds worked well; the music was infectious; it enhanced the story and moved it along.
Verdict: All in all it was a very funny and heart warming family movie, not to be missed if you have kids or are still very much a kid at heart.
Rio is out in theatres now and is available in 3D in select venues.