7 05 2011


From the makers of Ice Age comes another fun, animated adventure about a number of colourful animals. The main character, Blue, has been pampered in Minnesota his entire life. When he and his owner suddenly discover that he is the last male Blue Macaw on the planet, they make the journey to Rio de Janeiro to begin the re-population effort.

rio movie review

Unfortunately, the last remaining female Blue Macaw, Jewel, is not as romantically inclined as Blu. While Blu sees humans as his protective parents, Jewel, having spent her life in the jungle, sees them as the ruthless villains who destroyed her homeland. All she wants to do is escape from the city and travel back to her native jungle.

Escape is not as simple as they thought: animal smugglers are willing to pay a high price for the rare birds. These villains also own a dangerous bird named Nigel (voiced by Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords), who will stop at nothing to recover the valuable assets.

Since it is Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, love is in the air. There are two romantic stories here: one, between Blu and Jewel, and the other between their respective caretakers. While Blu and Jewel are forced together to be the saviours of their species, the two owners fall in love through circumstance.

Rio is powered by its entertaining characters and the voice actors behind them. Blu is voiced by the distinctive Jesse Eisenberg, who accurately portrays the nerdy, awkward character. In contrast, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), is the confident go-getter.

A slobbering bulldog named Luiz (voiced by Tracy Morgan) steals the latter half of the movie. It’s hard not to laugh as he happily dances through the Carnival parade with a bowl of fruit on his head, narrating everything he does. Meanwhile,, of the Black Eyed Peas, even voices a minor character.

rio movie review

The key to an animated comedy is distancing the voice actors from our real-life image of them, and Rio accomplishes this fairly well. Rather than distracting from the characters, the actors complement their roles well.

If the characters don’t keep you entertained, the magnificent scenery will. As with any movie featuring Rio de Janeiro, there are countless shots featuring Cristo Redentor, the large Jesus statue which stands on the cliff above the city. A couple breathtaking sequences, like flying a hang glider over the city, or driving a motorcycle through the crowded streets, are especially memorable.

This scenery is highlighted by the animators’ vivid use of colour: between the humans and the birds, it seems like every part of the spectrum is featured.

Rio is predictable and light on depth, but it entertains through its fantastic scenery and amusing characters. All in all, a worthy follow up to the Ice Age series.