So last night I rewatched Blue Sky’s Rio (2011) after the first time in ages, and I was amazed at how much I loved it. I know this film has quite a lot of haters for some reason, a fact which puzzles me, but anyway,
the animation is simply exquisite. Since Rio is a real place, the animation is realistic enough without verging into uncanny valley to give the area a real feel to it.
Blue Sky does a fine job managing the two romances in the story (ie Blu’s and Jewel’s and Tulia’s and Linda’s) in that they’re subtle and gradual yet don’t take away from the main storyline. Which was pretty much a romance in the first place, considering that that’s the reason why Linda and Blu even go to Rio.
The original music is light and fun and I think all of the cast performs the music themselves, without Blue Sky hiring other singers to dub over theirs voices, similarly to how Disney worked in movies like Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid.
One thing I noticed is that whilst there’s a balance between the humans and the bird’s story, the humans are essentially satellite characters to support the bird’s story, something which I rarely see in animal-focused movies since it’s always the humans who are more important and the story focuses more on them. Blue Sky subverts this idea with Rio.
For all the focus on Carnival and the presence of scantily dressed people (something which horrified my mother and so she has deemed the movie not okay for all of us as a family to view) I have noted that NO ONE was sexualised, at all, not even Linda during the climax for the search for Blu at Carnival. Considering that Carlos Saldanha, the director, hails from Rio, this is probably why it is portrayed as thus - because it’s a fact of life there and it’s just one big fun party essentially.
The story is pro-adoption! From the beginning when Linda adopts Blu and raises him when he’s been abandoned again and she finds him on her street, and to the very end when Tulia and Linda adopt Fernanda, the little boy who stole Blu and Linda, offering him forgiveness and a home. I don’t believe I’ve seen a message like that in any animated movie.
The storyline is simple and straightforward, and whilst we could’ve probably used a few more flashbacks from Blu’s past explaining why he was alone in the nest when the first song starts, it’s a well-written story.
In short, Rio is another excellent Blue Sky production, and I’m not surprised it has its fans. I am surprised however if those fans do not recognise the quality of Ice Age, but that’s a moot point.