Film Review: Rio
● By Wendy Sipple
A domesticated blue macaw conveniently named Blu gets lost in the streets and jungles of Rio with a female blue macaw named Jewel. They both represent the last of their species and are brought together by their nerdy and bird obsessed owners to mate. However they are birdnapped by smugglers intent on becoming rich off their sale. Blu and Jewel meet a large cast of supporting characters as they escape their captors and try to find their way home.
Rio is colorful and hosts a large number of talking wildlife in this adventure. Although the themes of near extinction, mating, and being chased by smugglers may sound like serious and dark themes for young children please don’t be worried. Everything in Rio is very “fluffy” and safe. So while the children will be entertained by the spectacle, the adults will see every twist coming from a mile away with zero surprises in store. This is not to say Rio is a bad film, just not a very creative one. They hit all the requisite songs and action scenes at just the right moments, but the songs are not particularly catchy or memorable and the action involves mostly creative falling. It is almost as if the film makers had a child’s movie manual and they followed it to a tee. They executed the manual well, but there was nothing bold in the story or the film as a whole.
I viewed Rio in 3D and was excited to see the film take advantage of the 3D with flying much the same way How to Train Your Dragon and A Christmas Story did. Unfortunately the main character Blu does not know how to fly so most of the movie remains grounded. The 3D suffers because of this and may not be worth the surcharge this go around.
Children will like Rio. The pace is quick and the visuals are bright and fun. The lead characters banter a lot but fortunately for the little ones there are a handful of comic relief supporting characters always lurking to throw a joke or to do something silly. The writers and filmmakers did not add a lot of adult humor or pop culture references in the movie either, which I was glad to see. Most of the time those elements in children’s movies rarely work for me anyway. So as a family film Rio works, but it will never be confused as a “animated film classic.”
FILMS LIKE RIO: Happy Feet, Princess and the Frog and Flushed Away
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.