Rio PosterRating: ★★★☆☆

Ironic, isn’t it, how “Rio” uses an outlined plot and a standard story to produce a wacky, out-of-control party where most of its participants either have wings or fur. Humans may have a hard time keeping up with these singing, dancing, rapping animals, especially if two of them are voiced by and Jamie Foxx.

“Rio” opens with a lively performance in the jungle. Birds sweep through the air and swerve through the trees. Consistent through the rest of the film, this sequence is bright and colorful. The birds maintain a low height, probably with a fear of being sucked into jet engines. A baby macaw admires the view from a hole in a tree until everyone is interrupted and caged by a group of poachers. How rude.

Fate is very kind to the baby macaw, who later finds itself in the hands of a caring little girl in Minnesota. Years pass. Linda and her pet bird, Blue, are all grown up. Because Blue was captured very early in his life, he never did learn to fly. Linda is not to blame for Blue’s flightless lifestyle. When a bird pushes its baby a cliff, it’s called normal parenting. But when a human does the same thing to young ones, it’s called animal cruelty.


The story picks up when it’s revealed that Blue is the last male of his kind. He shares the same dilemma of extinction with only one other blue macaw, Jewel. She is a female, and a pretty one, too. Experts say they must reproduce. Yet again, fate has been very kind to Blue. The setting quickly changes to Rio de Janeiro, and the party quickly resumes. A few smugglers get involved, only because they are required by the plot. And because of the film’s tone, the villains functions as set-ups to jokes more than anything else.

“Rio” will appeal more to the younger audience, but that’s okay, because they are also the target audience. Most of its concept is assembled from the ideas of previous animated efforts, which the kids won’t mind. Blue’s condition shows an obvious similarity with the hero in “Happy Feet”, a movie where penguins are naturally gifted singers, except for Mumble. Blue struggles with flight while Mumble tries to hit the right note.

Having recently watched “Rio”, which reminded me of “Happy Feet”, I’ve noticed a recent trend where animals are used to play and perform music. So far, it’s been a delightful treat; a treat that channels us to an animated world where Animal Planet is directly associated with MTV.

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