What a relief after four months of mediocre animations to finally have a great animated film! “Rio” is a superb film with rich characters, dazzling visuals, lively music, great humor, and an interesting story with many twists and turns in the plot. The film is created by the same team that made The Ice Age, and opened nationwide on April 15, 2011, rated G.
Blu, a domesticated, mild-tempered male blue macaw, is one of the last two birds of his species left in the world. “Rio” tells the story of how Blu and his owner Linda (a young woman who works at a Minnesota bookstore) go to Rio so that Blue can meet the last female blue macaw named Jewel, and preserve the species from extinction. Along the way, a vicious bird named Nigel and his cruel poacher owner are out to get them.
I noticed that Rio’s opening is very similar to “Up,” because it shows the characters when they are young, and the lovely sequences of images without dialogue, indicating the passing of time in both films. The opening scene is one of my favorites. It dazzles you with multi-colored birds in the Brazilian forest, dancing in lively, energetic samba music.
I love the rich characters, especially Blu and Jewel. Jewel is assertive, bossy, always making it clear to Blu who’s the boss. Blu, the submissive male, goes along with it because all his life, he relied on a female to provide and care for him. I like how the film shows Blu, my favorite character, gradually gaining courage and becoming a protector and hero at the end.
I give Rio 4 starfish, it’s “Perrific!” There are some minor flaws. When baby Blu was found by Linda as young girl, she fed him milk in a bottle. That is not very realistic because parrots cannot metabolize lactose. The same thing goes for the hot chocolate that he drank later in the film. Just like how chocolate can kill dogs and cats, it is dangerous to parrots, too.
I would recommend this film to ages 10 and up because of mild references to bird reproduction, as the film is about reuniting the last male and female of the blue macaw species.
Rio is about greed, corruption in the illegal animal trade; but also about rivalry, love, and trust.
Love can give you wings to fly.
Copyright 2011 by Perry S. Chen
Perry Chen has been reviewing movies since he was 8 in third grade. He is also a young animator, collaborating with Oscar-nominated Bill Plympton. He was among 75 animators around the world to animate Plympton's "Guard Dog Global Jam" based on the Oscar-nominated "Guard Dog." "Guard Dog Global Jam" premiered at SXSW film festival in March 2011.
Perry is the youngest winner of San Diego Press Club 2010 Excellence in Journalism awards for his movie review, and was featured in “The Young Icons” TV show. He reviews G/PG-rated movies for the San Diego Union Tribune and San Diego Entertainer Magazine with over 1 million readers combined. Perry is also the resident film critic for Amazing Kids, a non-profit organization with kids-generated content on its monthly magazine with about 1 million readers. He was featured as "Amazing Kid of the Month" in Feb 2011:
Perry regularly covers red carpet premieres, press junkets, film festivals and awards, interviewing Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning directors and producers. He was the first child film critic invited to present at the Annie Awards for animation in 2010, and was featured on Variety for being one of the leading young film critics:
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