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Movie Review: Rio (2011) Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Jan 14th, 2022


Rio is a highly thrilling and entertaining movie that revolves around the life of a domesticated macaw named Blu. This animation movie uses cartoon characters to express various thematic concerns in a captivating way. From the movie, we learn that Blu is brainy bird who fortunately meets with Linda (his owner) and as Linda grows up, the bond between them grows stronger. Photos of Linda and Blu, in almost all major events of Linda’s life, attest to this fact. Blu learns to do pretty-much everything that Linda does, including brushing his teeth—which really is hilarious. The problem, however, is that Blu, unlike other birds, cannot fly.

As the story develops, we learn, through Tulio (a Brazilian ornithologist), about a female Macau (Jewel), one of a kind just like Blu, who lives in Rio de Janeiro. Linda and Blu are therefore forced to leave the small town of Moose Lake and head to Rio de Janeiro so that Blu can get to meet with Jewel. From this point forward, the movie explodes into a hubbub of activities including: Blu and Jewel’s kidnap by animal smugglers, their escape (through the help of a group of wise and smooth-talking city birds. However, the smugglers’ pursuit is eminent and all this boils down to the finale where Blu has to gather the courage of flying, or else he and Jewel will die. Expectedly, he does fly and the movie eventually ends happily.

Main Review

Description of Scene: The Carnival Festival

The scene of the carnival begins at the 68th (1. 08 Minutes) and lasts for approximately 5 minutes. This scene starts in a modernized city (presumably Rio de Janeiro) with fire crackers being seen in the air. The gang-leader of the animal smugglers can be seen waiting anxiously for the arrival of revelers while some ululations can be heard distantly. At the 70th minute, the loud sounds of joy and music can now be heard more clearly as we see a stretch of people approaching. Most of the people are dressed colorfully with a good number of them dancing—including one of the animal smugglers. The scene briefly changes to a room setting where Linda and Tulio are dressing up for the festival. As Linda emerges from the dressing room, the loud party music that was playing in the background is replaced by a more romantic one. Tulio can be seen gaping with his mouth wide-opened based on how Linda looks magnificently stunning in her costumes. Notably, Linda and Tulio are both dressed in costumes that resemble the Macau.

The scene switches back to where the revelers are dancing and we now get to see a mammoth crowd moving in unison across the town as they continue to celebrate. The music, at this point is kind of fast-paced and party-like with rhythmic beats that encourages the revelers to dance and shout more. By the 73 minute, Linda finds herself dancing, to the amusement of the crowd, in spite of her earlier protests. At 1.14 minutes, the scene begins to fade out as Blu finds a skateboard and uses it to follow the caravan where Jewel has been captured. At this point, the party music is replaced by an action-like music which prepares the audience for the action that comes hereafter.

Analysis of the Scene: the Carnival Festival

Essentially, the carnival festival scene has been used fittingly to prepare the audience for the final show-down. As a matter of fact, this is the only scene where Blu, Jewel (and their bird friends), Linda, Tulio, and the smugglers are present at the same time—without being aware of each other’s presence. Contrastingly, the scene has some characters enjoying themselves (like the bulldog and Linda) while others like Jewel are busy thinking of how she can be rescued from her captors.

It is also worth noting that music has been used in this scene to further various themes. For example, in the instance where Tulio was gaping at Linda, it is used to express love. Again, when Blu is skating towards the caravan where Jewel is captured, it orients anticipation by the audience.

Finally, the vibrant samba dancing of the people at the carnival and colorful nature of the festival—ranging from the costumes used to the well-lit streets—is used to portray the fun-loving and social nature of the Brazilian people. This greatly helps in furthering the appropriateness of the Rio de Janeiro as an ambient setting for the movie.

Discussion: Facts and Opinions about the Movie

Admittedly, the main characters in the Movie—Blu (voice of Jesse Eisenberg), Linda (voice of Leslie Mann), Tulio (voice of Rodrigo Santoro) and Jewel (voice of Anne Hathaway) fittingly play their parts. Other famous guest appearances personified in the movie, for example; Will-I-am, Tracy Morgan and Jamie Fox, boosts the movie’s image—no wander it has been greatly critically acclaimed by most movie critics. For example, the movie was recently nominated for the prestigious 2011 Teen Choice Awards under the category of Choice Movie Animated Voice which was received by Anne Hathaway. Also, as of June 2011, Rotten Tomatoes reported a 72% rating with an average rating of 6.4 out of 10 by the fans.

As for the content, the movie is suitable for general family viewing and that is, in fact, the reason it is normally rated as “G”. Initially, MPAA controversially rated the film as “PG” in February this year. However, some of the movie’s producers and concerned administrators from Fox were unhappy with the rating and requested for it to be changed. A few months later, Fox submitted an edited version of the film—minus the “mild-off color humor” sections which had sparked the controversies—and MPAA changed the rating to “G”, which is used to date.

Reports from the producers of this film indicate that the movie’s budget is approximated to 90 million. Compared to the estimated box office revenue of 483 million, it can be said that the movie was, indeed, worth every dime spent on it.


Thematically, Rio importantly addresses the issue of freedom. For a good part of the movie, Blu and Jewel are chained together and they are constantly on the run from the smugglers. Other than hoping not to get caught, both of them keep on wishing for freedom—which they find eventually when the chains are broken. In addition, Blu’s inability to fly is depicted as the lack of freedom. This is probably the reason why, at some point in the movie, Jewel tells Blu that “Flying is freedom and not having to rely on anyone!” Blu’s exhilarating happiness when he eventually manages to fly underscores this point.

Other themes in the movie include the celebratory nature of the Brazilian people—as showcased by the carnival festival, the samba-like dressing and dances during the event. The issue of animal smuggling, which has been a rising issue over the recent past, has also been addressed with great humor. Nonetheless, the point that this activity is wrong is vehemently felt as we see the smugglers facing their demises.

Just like most movies, Rio had its fair share of criticism including: moderate comic violence (the fight between the birds and the monkeys), relative nudity (women in bikinis during the carnival festival), and mild-off language (the use of words like “butts” and “freak on”). However, in overall, the movie is a must-watch-film for anyone—especially audiences that love animated films.

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"Movie Review: Rio (2011)." IvyPanda, 14 Jan. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/movie-review-rio-2011/.

1. IvyPanda. "Movie Review: Rio (2011)." January 14, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/movie-review-rio-2011/.


IvyPanda. "Movie Review: Rio (2011)." January 14, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/movie-review-rio-2011/.


IvyPanda. 2022. "Movie Review: Rio (2011)." January 14, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/movie-review-rio-2011/.


IvyPanda. (2022) 'Movie Review: Rio (2011)'. 14 January.

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