Movie Review: RIO

RIO is the newest animated 3D children’s film to hit the big screen, brought to audiences by 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios, the makers of Robots, Horton Hears a Who, and the popular Ice Age.

The story follows Blu, a rare blue macaw who is taken by smugglers from his cozy nest in a forest near Rio de Janero and somehow abandoned in Moose Lake, Minnesota, where he is discovered by the sweet bookworm Linda. The two grow up as best friends, Blu learning all sorts of clever human tricks, while never in fact learning to fly.

Linda and Blu are visited one day by Tulio, an even bigger bird fanatic than Linda, who explains that Blu must come back to Rio to mate with female blue macaw Jewel in order to save their species. The three travel to Rio, and thus the adventure begins.

Lately I’ve been disenchanted with the way kid’s movies seem to always go for the potty jokes. Such base attempts at humor, coupled with innuendo often inappropriate for kids, has made me leery of many new movies for children and family.

But I am SO happy to say, RIO keeps it clean and rightfully earns its G-rating, while still managing to be a great deal of fun. Which is probably why it received a Seal of Approval from Kids First, a coalition for quality children’s media.

Some highlights for me:

  • The animation was fantastic! While “homey” during the scenes in Minnesota, it was alternately bright, colorful, and vibrant during the scenes in Rio.
  • I actually loved that it was in Real 3D. And that comes from someone who has been “over” the whole 3D craze for a while now. But instead of using the Real 3D to make odd, irrelevant objects pop out into the audience, filmmakers used the Real 3D to add depth to the already beautiful animation, creating what I felt was a visual feast.
  • The voice casting was excellent. Leslie Mann as the clever, quirky Linda brought a lot of personality to the character. Jessie Eisenberg makes Blu a somewhat nerdy, OCD, yet quite sweet character. And I enjoyed Anne Hathaway as the bold, resourceful Jewel.
  • The music was fun, fun, fun. Oh, so fun! The credit for this must go to Will.i.am and Jamie Foxx, who voice the hilarious characters of Pedro and Nico and provide some of the most memorable musical numbers.
  • Speaking of hilarious…this movie is funny, and the right kind of funny. Funny for being smart, using good actors, and timing the story just right (and not going for the simplest, gross-factor kind of funny).
  • It’s like a virtual vacation to Rio! Honestly, I felt like I was there. Which makes sense now that I know director Carlos Saldanha was born and raised in Rio. His love for his hometown absolutely comes through in this film.
  • As an Angry Birds fan, I loved the tie-in with the film. Not only do some of the birds in the movie look like the birds in the game, but there’s even an Angry Birds Rio version of the popular app available for download!

Finally, what impressed me the most about the film was its heart. This is a sweet, charming film, and I loved it.

To learn more, watch the first 2 minutes of the movie, or visit the official webpage or Facebook fan page.

*Disclosure: My family and I were provided passes for an advanced screening of RIO. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are honest and my own, and actually needed to be toned down a little for this post (I am THAT enthusiastic about this movie!).

*original post included a giveaway for a $25 Fandango Gift Card and RIO-themed coloring books

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122 comments

  1. Jenlynnthomas says:

    I can’t believe we saw 2 movies last year, Toy Story 3 and Tangled. Those were the first movies we really ever took our kids to.

  2. Lilnursejen says:

    The last movie we saw in the theatre was megamind!

    Jennifer Marie

    lilnursejen at yahoo dot com

  3. Lilnursejen says:

    The last movie we saw in the theatre was megamind!

    Jennifer Marie

    lilnursejen at yahoo dot com

  4. Jen Lane says:

    I’m so glad to hear you liked it! I think our last movie at the theatre was a second run kiddie matinee of Kung Fu Panda last summer! (We don’t get out much…)

  5. Heather says:

    It has been so long since we’ve gone out. I’m not sure what the last movie we saw was. Maybe Despicable Me? Thanks for the opportunity!

  6. amweeks says:

    The last family film we saw in the theater was just 2 days ago: we went to see Rio! And loved it! Before that, we saw Hop and liked that one as well!

  7. Melinda says:

    Toy Story 3. It is SO hard to find a clean, family movie these days! I am pleased to hear Rio is and would LOVE to see it with my little family!!!

  8. barbara wright says:

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 was the last family movie I saw in a theater. My daughter says Roderick is HOT! :-0

  9. Auriette says:

    It must have been one of the Harry Potter movies. We saw The Wolfman in theatres last year, and somebody thought it was a family movie, because he brought a kid with him, but the kid was quieter and better behaved than most of the adults in the theatre.

  10. Rosey says:

    We saw Yogi at the town theater about a week ago, for free! I love community things like that, and it was in a very old, gorgeous theater!

  11. Rachel Newman says:

    African Cats, last weekend, on Earth Day. It was spectacular. Can’t wait to see Rio!

    racheliznewman(at)gmail(dot)com

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