Animated adventure winner

2011-04-11 00:00

BLU is a macaw and the last male of his species. He is taken from a rain forest in Rio de Janeiro as a baby and ends up in Minnesota, a cold and snowy place. For many years he is looked after by a wonderful human, Linda. While Blu is intelligent and endearing, there’s just one problem — he can’t fly. An ornithologist arrives, needing Blu to go to Brazil and breed with the last female macaw named Jewel. While in Rio, bird thieves steal Blu and Jewel and with that the adventure begins. The film becomes a whirl of trying to get back to Linda, befriending other birds, falling in love and trying to fly.

While the vocal talents of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Jamie Foxx, and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock) are enough to make Rio a worthy watch, the success of the film doesn’t stop there.

From the makers of Ice-Age, Rio is a spirited and charming tale of action and adventure with cross-generational appeal. It is heart-warmingly sentimental but its humour, both slapstick and witty, prevents the film from becoming too saccharine. Traditional story-telling elements (including the villain’s thick side-kicks) are met with amazing animation. The comedic dialogue that one has come to expect from modern-day animated movies has not been forgotten and I found myself giggling throughout the film.

Music plays a large role in Rio. There is a great musical performance by and Jamie Foxx (yes, they’re animated birds but still), there’s dancing and pageantry, not to mention that a carnival in Rio de Janeiro provides the backdrop of the film. It gives the film the quality of a Broadway musical theatre production, complete with opening and closing numbers. The result: an outpouring of vibrant and colourful joy.

If that’s not enough to ask for in a film, there’s a message of not accepting limitations and embracing one’s potential. Rio also has an undercurrent of environmental and social consciousness that every child should learn and every adult should be reminded of.

Rio is a visually beautiful spectacle of a film; it’s captivating and uplifting, no matter what your age. If nothing else, there’s a monkey with a paper-clip in its hair that still has me laughing. *****

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