Break Out the Popcorn: Rio

April 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recently I watched the movie Rio, and my overall impression was that it was funny, charming, and offered a nice lesson on why you should not purchase wild-caught parrots. It wasn’t exactly true to parrot nature – Blu, our parrot hero, has never bit his owner and eats chocolate chip cookies with hot chocolate (as chocolate is toxic to parrots, this was hardly a healthy snack) – but it was enjoyable nonetheless. The general plot went something like this:

Blu is a happy wild-caught pet “Blue Macaw” owned by a book lover called Linda. Shortly after the movie begins, Tulio, a parrot expert/scientist randomly passes by Linda’s book shop (yes, it isn’t exactly “realistic”) and realizes that Blu is a Blue Macaw, and the last male of his species. Blu is whisked off to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to repopulate the species with the last female of his species, a lovely and independent wild-caught parrot called Jewel. From there, they’re stolen by a parrot smuggler, who plans to sell them for the thousands of dollars they’re worth. With the help of a menagerie of interesting characters, ranging from the tiny rappers Nico and Pedro (Jamie Foxx and Will i Am) to the philosophical toucan Rafael (George Lopez), they set off to find Linda. I won’t tell you how the movie ends, but I will tell you it’s cute!

Rio calls attention to the problems of catching wild parrots, but unfortunately falls short in showcasing the true parrot nature. If I were to believe Rio, parrots are reasonable, non-biting, cute babies that eat chocolate. Despite this, they offered a few real treasures: At the beginning of the movie, for example, they showcased a line of pictures that pictured Blu’s owner, Linda, growing progressively older with Blu at her side – effectively demonstrating the fact that parrots (especially large species such as Macaws) will be with you for a large chunk of your life.

There’s been some worries that Rio will encourage viewers to buy parrots, but hopefully the rather vapid cheerfulness of the movie will help them realize that Blu is the sort of fantasy parrot that exists in parrot lovers’ dreams. Unfortunately, judging from other movies such as Finding Nemo, this might not be the case.

In short, Rio is unrealistic but hugely enjoyable, and a great choice for Friday movie night!

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