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- Director: Carlos Saldanhan
- Release Date: April 2011
- Run Time: 96
- Genre: Action & Adventure, Animation, Kids & Family, Comedy
Tagline: Color Me Impressed and Captivated by “Rio”
There is something clever about animation and the fantastic when it uses real life as a backdrop. The recipe is a sure ticket to cinematic success and, along the way, brilliance in presentation quality. Carlos Saldanha pulls this very trick off quite well in “Rio.” Brazil is a vivacious cauldron aboil with cultural delights from that nation’s hub, Rio de Janeiro. The narrative of Saldanha’s fairy tale has the three main ingredients of the magnetics coming from south of the equator: dancing, partying and sports. Whether you are a happy-footed samba dancer, a 24 hour lover of carnivale, or a fan of the greatest sport in the world to every single Brazilian- in and out of the womb- soccer, then you will be tacked to the screen as this delightful toon rolls passed.
Jesse Eisenberg is the voice of Blu, the misplaced exotic macaw residing in Minnesota, of all places, with an adoring owner named Linda (Leslie Mann). Did I already say that Blu is a blue macaw? Linda runs a bookstore that provides them living quarters in part of the building and life is normal enough (if you think a toast loving macaw is normal, well then enough said!). Poor Blu’s life is not what a normal macaw is used to though. You see, Blu was a victim of macaw smuggling as a baby having been snagged out of his rain forest digs, never having learned to fly. I know. The nerve of some people never ceases to amaze. But this is not a Greenpeace World Wildlife Fund pitch for animal rights- it is a kid’s movie that does a great job of teaching about happiness, bonding and reaching one’s potential, something Oprah Winfrey would die for to have on her show once in a while to get off the marketing and product placement treadmill, once in a while. (Did I write that out loud?) As you can see, “Rio” is a thought provoking and stimulating to say the least.
Lo and behold, love finds Blu only to find him and his crush kidnapped by a group of smugglers in reverse this time. It is a load of fun and a color spectacle worthy of raves by grownups like me!