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A movie directed by Carlos Saldanha

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Colorful, Rhythmic And Great Fun For All Ages

  • Apr 2, 2013

Unlike industry moguls Pixar and DreamWorks, Blue Sky Studios hasn’t been quite as versatile in their subject-matter when it comes to pumping out computer generated animated feature films.  Most people are aware of their ever-growing Ice Age franchise but do keep in mind that these are the guys behind Robots, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, the forthcoming Epic and Charles M Shultz’s long overdue Peanuts CG film.  In short these guys have certainly been keeping busy!

Amidst all of these projects, Blue Sky released Rio back in 2011; a vibrant piece that forever silenced naysayers who claimed the studio didn’t have access to the incredible color pallets of the competition.  Costing an estimated $90-mil, Rio comes in at a runtime of 96-minutes and wears an appropriate G-rating.

The story follows Blu, a wild-born domesticated blue macaw thought to be the last of his breed, taken from Rio de Janeiro and then deposited in Minnesota only to head back to Brazil when an ornithologist believes that a potential mate has been secured in the wild.

On an existential level there’s some ironic tragedy in the concept of removing a wild animal from nature, domesticating it so that it is completely dependent upon human care, then returning it to the wild where it’s unable to perform such basic survival tactics as fly but not to worry, Rio is a lot more about having fun then it is environmentalism agendas (thankfully).

Add to this some well casted voice talent: Jesse Eisenberg as Blu; Anne Hathaway as his love interest Jewel; Jamie Foxx and as a streetwise and musical canary and cardinal duo; George Lopez as a local toucan; Tracy Morgan as a slobbering bulldog; and Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords” fame stepping in as the villainous cockatoo Nigel.  The casting is flawless in their respective roles and add a great deal of energy to the visuals, which in case I haven’t mentioned, are crisp, bright, and bouncy.

The opening musical number, featuring a rainbow stream of various birds of paradise in choreographed flight sets the tone of things to come.  While the film flirts with the concept of being a dedicated musical, I am pleased to report that the music here does nothing but add to the party-like vibe of the affair.  Everything from some original salsa-flavored tunes to Lionel Richie’s “Say you, Say Me” to one of Jemaine Clement’s hilarious rap numbers (straight out of his book as the character Hip-hop-opotamus).

Separating this from a strictly talking-animals affair however is the brilliantly intertwined B-story involving Blu’s adopted mom Linda and said ornithologist (the nerdy but goodhearted Tulio) falling for one another as well.  Had I been charged with the job of naming this film, I believe something like “Of Nerds and Birds” would have been in order.

In all I found Rio to be a magnificent entry into the competitive CG market from Blue Sky, perhaps their strongest, most fleshed out to date in fact.  I’m apparently not alone in this assessment either as a sequel (Rio 2) is on Blue Sky’s release schedule for 2014 (smack dab between Epic and Peanuts).   An interesting side note- it’s oft rumored that Rio was actually responsible for Pixar having cancelled a film they were putting together called “newt” due to plot similarities.  You know you’re doing something right when you can get the undisputed leader of the industry to stop in their tracks!

Colorful, Rhythmic And Great Fun For All Ages Colorful, Rhythmic And Great Fun For All Ages Colorful, Rhythmic And Great Fun For All Ages

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April 09, 2013
This is one of my favorites as well as my little cuz. Every time I watch her she wants to see this again.
April 12, 2013
Yea- I really wasn't expecting much (cause honestly the Ice Ages have really never done much for me) but came away really impressed.
April 03, 2013
this was a visual marvel and an impressive execution of colors. I heard that Newt was'd you feel about BRAVE?
April 12, 2013
Yea this one actually caused Pixar to do an about face! Unreal. Ya know I have Brave sitting on the shelf but haven't gotten to it yet. I've been meaning to get to it soon though. I'll of course review it here the moment I do. Also I liked your review of Rio a lot too. Like always I had to write mine first so as not to drift into your narrative!
More Rio: The Movie reviews
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Aventura de um pássaro que não poder voar (The Adventure of a Bird Who Can't Fly) !
Animated Family films have never exactly impressed me, I feel that they are mostly the type of films that follow a certain formula and sticks to it. Not to say that there hasn’t been some serious successes within this genre; Pixar and Dreamworks have made a lot of profit sticking to those same formulas while changing the way those formulas were told. There is also a light-weight called “Blue Sky Studios” that want a piece of the multi-billion dollar pie, and they have had their …
review by . April 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A lighthearted tale of a small town macaw finding his wings in Rio, both literally & figuratively
Cute -- one simple word that sums up this movie.  From its storyline, to its characters and animation, Rio is just all around cute, and it's extra cool knowing that it's voiced by an all-star cast.  The story of how Blu, the macaw voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, came to be the companion of human Linda, voiced by Leslie Mann, is a really sweet one.  It shows how a very young Linda discovered him when he was just a chick.  They've been inseparable since, with Blu becoming …
review by . September 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     "Rio", the new animated film from the minds who brought us the popular "Ice Age", has a good heart and a good idea going for it. I imagine that much like another 2011 animation, "Mars Needs Moms", its concept could have gone to waste through an overly sentimental tone and a lack of depth and humor; but that is not close to what happens. Most animated films I watch end up being great, good, or very rarely bad/mediocre. Those who work in animation often have …
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Rio is a straightforward but exuberant animated film, brought to life in an explosion of color and infectious Latin beats – and, of course, through the process of 3D, that most unstoppable of all recent movie trends. But I won’t dwell on that. Looking at this film was a terrific experience for me; think of an extreme close-up of an artist’s palette, where oil paints are creatively being mixed together. That it employs first-rate …
review by . May 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
U - 96mins - Animation/Adventure/Comedy - 8th April 2011 Rio is an animation from the same people that brought us Ice Age and so it has a fair amount to live up to. It follows the tale of a blue macaw, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) who is bird-napped as a chick and smuggled into the USA to be sold. During the move though, he falls from the back of the truck and is found by Linda (Leslie Mann) who takes him in and looks after him. The years pass by until Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), a extremely bird obsessed …
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Ranked #10
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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About this movie


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.
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Director: Carlos Saldanha
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Release Date: 15 April 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Don Rhymer
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: Blue Sky Studios, Twentieth Century Fox Animation
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"I Believe I Can Fly"
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