When Blu, a domesticated macaw from small-town Minnesota, meets the fiercely independent Jewel, he takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro with this bird of his dreams. With the voice talents of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Will Iam, Jamie Foxx and Tracey Morgan.
I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, when the title suggests that it is from “the makers of Ice Age” I suddenly conjured up all the annoyances I had with those movies and expected Rio to be another attempt at cheap laughter for children. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only do I adore birds, especially exotic ones, I also love timeless children’s films and there was only a slight indication that Rio was stuck in a particular decade. The animation was amazing, as we have grown to expect from animation companies, Blue Sky Films really outdid themselves with this one though, the emphasis was not on realism but on vibrancy and colour. An exciting atmosphere was created inside an already existing place (Rio De Janeiro) and it shone through every frame. Animation studios nowadays know exactly what is cute and Blue Sky Studios developed some extremely adorable characters that were subtle and funny as well. The story was devoid of typical stereotypes and it didn’t take itself too seriously by overemphasizing it’s moral.
The film is set during Carnivale, an absolute crazy party that happens each year in Rio, normally conjuring images of public drunkenness and riotous behavior, represented here as a fun and joyful event that is experienced by all manner of life in Rio. I found that setting the film during this time made the film enjoyable to me and the occasional song was not a bother at all. Animated films nowadays usually still have musical elements to them, although the films are not entirely musicals anymore, they will have an occasional song that corresponds to the action. The songs in Rio are a direct result of Carnivale and represent the joy of the people and never seem out of place. The inclusion of hip hop\RNB stars Jamie Foxx and Will Iam, was strange at first but their character’s development was completely innocent and even gave children new ways of tackling Hip Hop slang without getting a clip behind the ears from their parents.
Every child in the cinema was enjoying themselves, there a little bit for everyone. There weren’t many adult references, which I liked because adults can still enjoy a children’s film without having to place something in there that is presumably too naughty or intelligent for their children, they can enjoy a film simply because it is done well. I had a mother sitting next to me and she was giggling along with her children at the silly little birds and didn’t look like she was burdened to be there. Rio was cute and clever, silly and absurd and it was very well produced. A simple movie to take the kids to and save yourself from having to explain to them the intricacies of it’s moral message. Take your family to see it, it is a family movie through and through but be warned, Rio will do for exotic bird sales what Toy Story did for merchandise.
I give Rio 3 Stars out of 5
(Not sure what PG “for mild off colour humour” means but the content seemed G rated to me.)
Rio is out in cinemas 7th of April 2011