I love animated films. I suppose I've never really grown up. Or maybe it's just that I want a guaranteed happy ending.
In the case of Rio, there was more to it than that. My bird Sam loved to watch anything that featured birds. He enjoyed sitting on my shoulder, watching birds like himself on YouTube--except for a video of one poor bird who had suffered a stroke. He wouldn't look at it; he always turned away. He loved Paulie. And he'd seen clips from Rio. I'd promised to buy him the DVD, but he died before the movie was released. For that reason, I didn't see Rio right away. I knew I'd probably have moments of uncontrollable crying, and I did.
Yes, I know that sounds silly.
Rio opens in a South American jungle with a baby blue macaw who falls from his nest and is immediately snatched by poachers, who take him to the US--Minnesota, to be precise. When his crate falls off a truck in the snow, the frightened, shivering little guy is found by a young girl, Linda, who takes him home with her.
Fast forward fifteen years: Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann), now an adult, owns a bookstore. The macaw, Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, whose sister, Hallie, coincidentally, shared the screen with another talking bird, Paulie), is her constant companion. All is well in their lives until the arrival of Tulio, an ornithologist from Brazil. He explains that Blu is the last male of his species, and he's needed in Brazil to mate with the last female to perpetuate the species. Linda initially refuses, in spite of Tulio's insistence that the future of the blue macaw is at stake. Finally, she changes her mind and they're en route to Rio.
They arrive as the city is preparing for Carnivale. It's not love at first sight for Blu and the female macaw, Jewel (voice of Anne Hathaway, one of my favorite actresses). She's a beautiful but feisty creature bent on regaining her freedom. Left alone to get acquainted, she's focused on her jailbreak--until they're both snatched by a young boy, Fernando, working for a smuggler.
Being forced to work together to escape isn't easy for the wild Jewel and domesticated Blu, who can't fly! I love the way she refers to him as "pet," as if it's a dirty word. Jewel has quite a temper.
Blu and Jewel manage to escape their captors--but chained together, they initially find themselves bickering most of the time. As you might expect, however, they soon begin to warm to each other. Assisted by several other birds and a bulldog (voice of George Lopez), they no sooner are freed from the chain that's held them together than Jewel is again captured.
Meanwhile, as they search frantically for the missing birds, bookish Linda and hopelessly nerdy Tulio bond. Helped by the guilt-ridden orphan boy who stole them to start with, they end up chasing the smugglers into the big Carnivale parade. There, Linda and Blu see each other...but Blu chooses to go after the smugglers' truck, to rescue Jewel.
Linda and Tulio race to the airstrip but are too late. The plane takes off in spite of their efforts to stop it. Blu manages to free all of the birds from their cages and open the cargo doors, but finds he's the only one who can't fly away. Jewel refuses to leave him and is injured in a fight with evil cockatoo Nigel, who works for the smugglers.
Will Blu find the courage to fly and save himself and Jewel? Will he and Linda return to Minnesota...or will Linda find happiness with Tulio and Fernando and stay in Rio? Will Blu and Jewel save their species with a new generation of blue macaws? It's worth seeing Rio to find out!