Rio (2011)

Rated: PG for mild off color humor.
Length: 96 minutes
Grade: C,B+,D,D=C
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Budget: $90 million
Box Office: $296 million so far (84 U.S., 212 Intl.)

Written and Directed by: Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age 1-3 and Robots)
Also Written by: Earl Richey Jones & Todd Jones (Johnson Family Vacation, and In Living Colour), Don Rhymer (Big Momma’s House 1-3, Surf’s Up, Honeymooners, Santa Clause 2, and Cody Banks 2), Joshua Sternin & Jeffrey entimilia (Yogi Bear, Tooth Fairy, and 70’s Show), and Sam Harper (Cheaper by the Dozen 1-2, Just Married, and Rookie of the Year)

Starring the voices of: Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg
With the voices of: Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Wanda Sykes, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, and Will I Am

Blu is a flightless blue macaw who is living a domesticated life in Minnesota when a Brazilian ornithologist comes to his owner and proposes bringing them to Rio so he can mate with the last known female blue macaw. The development of their unlikely romance leads through the party of Carnivale and involves smugglers, monkeys, and a disillusioned bully cockatoo.

Entertainment Value: C
It’s pretty and relatively entertaining to watch. Our boys enjoyed it, but not enough to rave about. I didn’t quite know what to say about this movie until I read the writing credits, and then it became obvious. This is a problem of too many cooks with all the strangest backgrounds. All I can say is that somehow or other, when you add up all their writing credits listed above, it seems to fit perfectly with what this movie wound up being.

Superficial Content: B+
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/Nudity B+, Violence A-, Language A-
This is just barely PG, and is probably safe for almost any kid. The issues are odd, skimpy, and sometimes cross-gender attire for carnivale, threats of danger and some fighting, and extremely mild insults. Our four boys (7, 4, 2) watched it and I never felt the need to cover their eyes or ears.

Significant Content: D
Differences attract. The key to love is sacrifice for someone else. Freedom is important, but giving up freedom for love is even better. Species should be preserved. Carnivale is cool.

Artistic/Thought Value: D
I think this movie wants to be more substantial than it is, and the one neatest little thing in it is the repeated (I counted at least 6 times) showing of the massive statue of Christ in Rio. But mostly it’s just a zany adventure that doesn’t ask or answer many serious questions.

Discussion Questions:
~Why does Fernando help the smugglers? How is poverty related to crime?
~What explanation is given for the meanness of Nigel? When someone bases their identity on fame, popularity, and other vanities, what happens when they are shoved aside for someone else? Have you ever wanted to make someone else suffer because you had been hurt or criticized?
~Why is it considered important to protect rare species of animals? Should Christians be protecting species as a way of honoring God’s making of them? How valuable are rare species compared to other concerns like human welfare?
~Why do you think the film’s makers so repeatedly showed the Christ statue? Was this just showing the location or was it intended to emphasize Christianity somehow?
~What do you think of Carnivale? Does it seem to fit with the idea of a city in the shadow of Christ?
~What attracts Blu to Jewel initially and then eventually? What alienates Jewel from Blu? What changes her mind?
~What image of marriage and family is conveyed by Rafael the Toucan?

Overall Grade: C
This is a film, like many in recent years, that really shows how Hollywood is intent on making most of its profit in foreign markets (Brazil, anyone?) with little regard for how a movie fares in the States. If I said it was fluffy like a pet bird, would you hold it against me? Well, it’s fluffy, like Froot Loops. Lots of color and fun to eat one time maybe, but not much food there, really. If anything, this comparison is an injustice to Froot Loops. Sorry, Sam.

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