Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer
favela (slum; shanty town)
poor in the Bible
birds in the Bible
endangered species and extinction
macaw / toucan / canary / tanager / parrot / finch / cardinal / woodpecker / cockatoo
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
|Featuring:|| Leslie Mann … Linda (voice)
Jesse Eisenberg … Blu (voice)
Jane Lynch … Alice (The Other Goose) (voice)
Jamie Foxx … Nico (voice)
Anne Hathaway … Jewel (voice)
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|Producer:||Blue Sky Studios
Twentieth Century Fox Animation
Bruce Anderson … producer
John C. Donkin … producer
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
“1 out of every 8 Americans is afraid of flying. Most of them don’t have feathers.”
Sequel: “Rio 2” (2014)
In a rainforest just outside of beautiful Rio de Janeiro, the birds are having their own musical version of Rio’s world famous ‘Carnival,’ when their celebration is interrupted by smugglers who capture many of them, including a recently hatched blue Macaw.
The baby Macaw ends up in arctic Minnesota and into the care of Linda, a young girl who will become Blu’s best friend for life. Fifteen years later, a bird conservationist from Brazil, named Tulio, arrives to tell Linda (Leslie Mann) that Blu is the last male of his species and since he has found Jewel (Anne Hathaway), the last female blue Macaw, Linda must bring him back to Rio.
Once in Rio, the romance between Blu and Jewel is never given a chance, as they are quickly targeted by local bird smugglers who plan on making a fortune with them. In their attempt to evade the smugglers and get back to where they belong, Blu, who never learned to fly, and the free-spirited Jewel will befriend an ever growing cast of bird characters including a Toucan named Rafael (George Lopez), Pedro (will.i.am) and Nico (Jamie Foxx).
The makers of the “Ice Age” franchise have created another exciting and fun-filled entry for families, but it is not without some slightly objectionable content.
Language—Minor. Posteriors are jokingly referred to as “butts” and tushies”. There is some innuendo when a dog, caught in the dance frenzy of Carnival, starts shaking to the music and announces he can now get his ‘freak on’. At one point Linda squawks in bird language her anger, but just as quickly apologizes for cursing, unintelligibly done, as it was—a refreshing response from a positively portrayed character.
Violence—Moderate. Comic violence is frequent, including a bird’s off camera collision with a propeller (non-fatal), the chief villain knocking his henchmen around, clawing attacks from the villains ‘angry bird’ partner-in-crime, Nigel, and a big fight between monkeys and birds, which includes the requisite groin injury to one of the monkey’s ‘family jewels’.
Sex—Minor. There is one scene involving Blu and Jewel that allows for misinterpretation. While Blu is choking, Jewel tries to help him from behind by performing an avian version of the Heimlich maneuver.
Being as the setting is in Rio de Janeiro, there are plenty of women in bikinis and Carnival attire, similar in exposure, but not nearly as revealing as some of what is actually seen in Rio. The Brazilians love the Samba, and this is reflected in repeated displays of people wiggling, which may offend some parents. At one point Blu and Eva are bouncing off people’s umbrellas on the beach and end up bouncing off a woman’s bikini clad backside as well. A security guard whisks off his uniform to reveal his gaudy gold carnival outfit and begins dancing.
Male/Female Role Modeling—When we first meet the Toucan Rafael, he is having a lot of trouble controlling his kids, until he mentions calling in their Mom. The kids immediately stop, as they fear her discipline, as does Rafael. Tulio brags about knowing how to ride a motorcycle, but it becomes quickly apparent he cannot. Meanwhile, Linda takes to it like Evel Knievel based only on her snow mobile experience. This is standard fare in Hollywood to showcase men as frail and subservient against the backdrop of more capable women. This studio often gives into politically correct gender stereotypes, and, though “Rio” was subtler than some of Blue Sky’s other efforts, it was still present.
Rafael tries to explain that the reason why Blu can’t fly is because he is going about it all wrong. “Flying is not what you think up here,” as he knocks on his head, “it’s what you feel here,” as he points to his heart.
Later, when Rafael is seen heading back to the Jungle, Blu is surprised and asks him why, since he knows he loves Carnival. He replies, “I do. But I love my family much more. And that’s a choice I made with this [heart], not this [head].”
His advice in both instances is reminiscent of what the Word of God tells us.
Nigel is the evil hench-bird that works with the smugglers to get the Macaws back. He first gains entry to the conservatory by appearing to be a gentle, injured bird. Explaining in song why he is a villain he speaks of how he was once a star, but was replaced and now is, “…a bird murderer, ghastly and like an abandoned school, with no principle[s].” Looking right at our heroes he adds, “I will make you ugly, too!”
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8.
Blu and Jewel are chained together for a good part of the movie, and since she can fly, but Blu can’t, they are forced instead to run ‘in-step’ to escape Nigel. This is a minor nod to the need for prospective couples to be equally yoked.
Jewel desperately needs to be unchained from Blu, so she can fly again, and as she says, “Flying is freedom and not having to rely on anyone!” This is the chorus we often hear from people in the world who wish to ‘go it alone’ and have no need for God, because it will hamper their ‘freedom’.
And perhaps just as importantly for many people concerned over the times we live in now, we are reminded to:
“Rio” is a wonderful, colorful spectacle, made more-so in 3D, and at times a hilarious film for families of all ages to enjoy together, and I do recommend it. “Rio” could have earned its ‘G’ rating with some very minor tweaks. As it is, it should have been rated “PG” and may merit family discussion based on the age of your children.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.