Well, you know how sometimes you just go into watching a film with the lowest expectations and you expect truly nothing more than pure tripe? That was me with “Rio”. The trailers made it look like an animated film featuring the voices of some popular ethnic celebrities and that was it. No humor was showcased. No hint was given to a storyline. There wasn’t even a blip of quality shown to us. In a nutshell, the film looked like an utter waste of time.
As it turns out, “Rio” had a lot to offer. For one thing, the film centers on a cute little blue macaw that gets snatched up in Rio de Janeiro and accidentally gets dumped off on Minnesota. Here, he is adopted by a cute little girl with big glasses named Linda. Flash-forward through the years of Linda’s adolescence to adulthood and we see Lind and Blu (the macaw) enjoying a simple but meaningful and fulfilling life. The real story centers on Blu being the last male of his kind and needs to travel to Rio to catch up with (we assume) the last female of his kind named Jewel. From the safety of a lab we the two birds are supposed to mate, the birds are stolen by poachers who mean to sell the exotic birds to the highest bidder. Adventure ensues.
Does that sound like I am short-changing the film? Well, I may be doing just that – and deliberately too. You see, I want anyone interested in this movie to know enough to go into it with an open mind. A favorite philosophy of mine is “expect little and you will be rewarded”. I’m applying that here. What I do want to tell you is that “Rio” offers up some humor, a predictable storyline, AND a dazzling portrayal of avian life in CGI. In other words, it’s a colorful and bright and a just overall really enjoyable film.
I enjoyed the monkeys, but the cockatoo named Nigel was the real show-stealer. Voiced by Jemaine Clement, Nigel is one of the best animated villains in years! The songs are fun, the story is upbeat, and nothing too scary for the little ones. The animation is fantastic! Not “Tangled” kind of fantastic, but very good none the less. (On a completely baffling note, did you know that this film went to the MPAA and they gave it a PG rating for “mild off-color humor”? The studio was upset by this, re-edited the film and re-submitted it and got the G rating. Once again, the MPAA shows just how ridiculous it can be.)
I recommend “Rio” as good wholesome family entertainment, and if you expect little form it, you will be pleasantly surprised by it. Enjoy!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE