Rio-t of colour

Just for laughs "Rio"  

What's not to like about Rio? It's a family film rendered with gorgeously coloured visuals with its heart in the right place. Undoubtedly it is generic fare and doesn't break into something new in the way the Toy Story trilogy or WALL-E did. Granted, too, that you will probably forget all about the macaws in Rio the minute you leave the cinema, but while in there with the kids, it raises the necessary amount of laughs and good cheer.

Ice Age director Carlos Saldanha takes flight with a new bunch of quirky beasts, or rather, birds, in Rio, the new Blue Sky Studios 3D animation film. Blu, (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) a cerulean plumed macaw, loves living in Minnesota as the adored pet of nerdy bookstore assistant Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann). He enjoys the cushy life where his every need is met, including being served drinks with “the perfect marshmallow to hot chocolate ratio”, which, if you are interested, is six.

Against both their better instincts, Blu and Linda allow bird expert Tulio (voiced by Rodrigo Santoro) to take them literally out of their comfort zone. Blu is the last male of his kind, and to prevent species extinction, Tulio wants him to mate with the last female of his type — Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway). The only catch is that she lives in Rio.

Thinks don't go quite according to plan because feisty Jewel will have nothing to do with dorky Blu. It doesn't help that Blu's urban “I am not a pet, I am a companion” existence has meant that he has never learnt to fly. At one stage, Jewel tells him, “Flying is freedom and not having to rely on anybody,” to which Blu wistfully replies, “Sounds kinda lonely.”

The squawk-o-meter gets ramped up when a somewhat inept gang of poachers steal Blu and Jewel for sale in the black market. Among the villains, though, the really nasty blackheart is the thieves' menacing cockatoo (voiced by Jemaine Clements). As he sings in dissolute abandon, “Like an abandoned school, I've got no principles”.

Rio takes to the air with escapes, captures and chases all set against the dazzling backdrop of Rio in carnival mood. Saldanha hails from Rio de Janeiro, and you can tell — by the loving attention to detail in the depiction of its lush fauna and flora, and the exuberant Carnivale. There is a lovely sequence when the escaping birds catch a ride atop some paragliders for some picturesque views of the city, including the iconic Art Deco statue of Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.

Along the way, the macaws gather more enemies (a herd of nasty monkeys) than friends — Nico the canary (Jamie Foxx), Pedro the pelican ( and Louis the bulldog (Tracy Morgan).

Rio offers nothing new and nothing radical, but what it does, it does with verve and lots of colour. The film is created mostly for the kids. Parents can choose to be charmed or chagrined by the lack of an underbelly to the film. Or rush off to pick up travel brochures for a Rio holiday – with or without the kids.


Genre: 3D Animation

Director: Carlos Saldanha

Cast: Voiced by Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jemaine Clements

Storyline: Blu, a domesticated macaw, is forced to get in touch with his wild side while dealing with romance, poachers and Rio's carnival.

Bottomline: Predictable but family-friendly caper.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 8:15:55 AM |

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