Rio (2011)


A fun family film with style and heart. A blue, house trained macaw goes to Rio meeting the native birds and is soon whisked away on an adventure.

Beware the following contains plot detail.

Having hosted a memorable world cup in 2014 and, at the time of writing, with Olympic fever rising, it’s only fitting to turn attention to the city’s namesake film. Despite being called Rio, at the core of this film is the dynamic between Blu and Jewel. The writing for the pair was well balanced, delivering the typical boy meets girl romance without being too overbearing. Among those hunting them down is Nigel, who brings an element of the classic Disney villain. The whole story is excellently paced, moving from the heights of the mountains down to the coastline. Musical numbers also move to action with seamless transition. This meant that the producers could explore Rio, both physically, from the sunny beaches to the vibrant nightlife, and culturally.

Both colour and music helped bring Rio alive, which is key to capturing such an iconic city. With voice actors including Jamie Foxx and, there was no shortage of musical talent in producing what is an enjoyable soundtrack. The animation delivers eye candy by the bucket load, and although not the same as can be found in The Revenant (2015), it is pretty nonetheless.

Aside from the technical standards and production value, I watched this throughout with a smile. That is what’s important for a film like this. No rating out of 10 can express the mixture of fun, joy and laughter that Rio brings. It’s light-hearted and the atmosphere is as pleasant as sitting outside, in the shade, on a warm summer’s day.

Whilst the film cleverly brings to attention favela life, smuggling and poaching, those interested in crime or grittier depictions of Rio de Janeiro will have to look elsewhere (see City of God). To my recollection, the producers got it spot on by not too heavily pushing an agenda. So for summertime entertainment if Rio 2016 doesn’t float your boat, Rio 2011 is a great alternative.

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