Rio is colorful and engaging fun

The opening sequence of Rio is visually stunning. It sets a tone of wonder and exoticism that lingers throughout the movie. 

 

Rio is ostensibly the story of Blu, the last remaining Blue Macaw, who grows up as the best friend of Linda in a small town in Minnesota.  But there's also a love letter to the City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in there...slums, beaches, and Carnivale included.  The primary message is to have courage and be yourself (Blu's journey includes learning to fly.)

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There's a feast of gorgeous animation, and a fast-paced story.  If you enjoyed the Ice Age movies, you'll probably enjoy this one as well.  There's a hilarious bulldog character voiced by Tracy Morgan who steals the show with his ropes of drool.  The main character, Blu, is voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, who is becoming the Woody Allen character of his generation (neurotic, socially clueless, clipped speech). 

 

My only complaint is that the original soundtrack songs are weak.  You may have heard Jaimie Foxx and will.i.am perform "Hot Wings" on American Idol; I thought that performance was a hot mess, and the movie version is similar.  I did enjoy the retro songs that were included: "Girl from Ipanema," and Sergio Mendes "Mas que Nada."

 

Ultimately, I'd recommend the movie as good family fare; but be aware that, like the Ice Age movies, there are smatterings of crude humor and the evil bird (Nigel) is somewhat scary, and sings another awful rap-based song.  The movie was originally PG, and was trimmed down for a G rating, and that slips through occasionally.

 

My 3 mini-reviewers gave the movie "1,000 thumbs up."  They are aged 5, 5, and 7.

 

 

DISCLOSURE: I was provided free tickets to the preview screening of this movie for purposes of writing a review.  My policy as a reviewer is to give an open and honest review, regardless of whether I paid for admission.

 
 
 
 
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