Rio ” is one of those animated musicals that’s so cute and endearing you’ll not only want your children to see it, you’ll enjoy it yourself, as well.
Linda (the voice of Leslie Mann), as a little girl from Minnesota , one day finds a blue macaw cowering in a dumpster. She rescues it, names him Blu, and Blu (the voice of Jesse Eisenberg) becomes not only her pet, but her lifelong companion. They do everything together, including running the little bookstore she now owns. Blu is not only completely domesticated, this partnership feels like a co-dependency between human and bird. But as strong as their bonding and affection for each other are, their little symbiosis has prevented them both from discovering their fuller, truer selves.
One day their whole world changes. Nigel (the voice of Jemaine Clement), an ornithologist, appears at their bookstore and tells them that they must journey with him to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, because he has the only female blue macaw in captivity, and Blu is the only known male macaw, so they must meet and mate to propagate the species. Linda is reluctant, at first, but finally sees that their inconvenience needs to be sacrificed to a greater good, and she convinces Blu. So off they go to Rio .
Of course nothing goes as planned. The female, named Jewel (the voice of Anne Hathaway) is a spirited, freedom-loving jungle bird who looks contemptuously on the urbanized, flightless Blu, and patronizingly calls him a “pet.” Ah, the course of true love never runs smoothly. But they have more troubles. They’re both kidnapped by a notorious ring of rare bird thieves, who intend to sell the “last macaws” for a tidy profit. Linda and Nigel, completely distraught, are suddenly thrown together in a frantic search over the teeming port city. Blu and Jewel, literally chained together, somehow have to find a way to cooperate with one another so they can escape the clutches of the bad guys, including their evil aviaries. And all this is in the midst of Rio ’s festive “Carnaval,” which creates floats, parades, crazy costumes, big crowds, and lots of distractions for our accidental tourists. Oh, and along the way we not only find romance, but some very good opportunities for a little creative, animated singing and dancing.
This movie is just a lot of fun. I was fortunate enough to see it in the company of an eight-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl, and they were both thoroughly delighted and enchanted. As was this reviewer.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Co-Pastor, United Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas