Rio (often promoted as Rio: The Movie) is a 2011 American 3D computer-animated musical comedy film and Blue Sky Studios's sixth feature film under the distribution of 20th Century Fox. The title refers to the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, in which the film is set. The film is directed by Carlos Saldanha and features the voice cast by Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Jemaine Clement and Jake T. Austin. The film tells the story of Blu, a spix's macaw who is taken to Rio de Janeiro to mate with a female. However, he is caught up in the middle of smugglers who want to capture exotic birds.
Saldanha developed his first story concept of Rio in 1995, in which a penguin is washed up in Rio. After learning of Happy Feet and Surf's Up, Saldanha changed the concept to involve macaws and their environments in Rio. He proposed his idea to Chris Wedge in 2006, and the project was set up at Blue Sky. The main voice actors were approached in 2009. During production, the crew visited Rio de Janeiro and also consulted with an expert on the macaws Bronx Zoo to study their movements. The film premiered on March 22, 2011 in Rio de Janiero, and was later released in the United States on April 15, 2011. The film received positive reviews from film critics. Observers praised the visuals, voice acting and music. The film was also a box office success, grossing over $428 million worldwide.
A baby Spix's Macaw who is unable to fly and several other birds are smuggled from Rio de Janeiro to Moose Lake, Minnesota. The box containing the macaw falls to the street and is discovered by a girl named Linda (Leslie Mann), who names him "Blu". Fifteen years later, Linda lives in a bookstore with Blu (Jesse Eisenberg). Túlio (Rodrigo Santoro), an ornithologist, reveals that Blu is the last male of his species, and he needs to mate with a female to preserve it.
Linda takes Blu to Rio. While there, Blu meets Jewel (Anne Hathaway), a female Spix's Macaw who only longs to escape. The shelter is raided by smugglers, who are let in by their Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Nigel (Jemaine Clement). Among them is their assistant Fernando (Jake T. Austin), an impoverished and orphaned boy. Blu and Jewel are chained to each other and Nigel explains that he used to be a performing bird on a television program, but has hated exotic birds since he was replaced by a parakeet. Blu and Jewel escape, but get lost in the jungle.
They meet a family of toucans, whose father Rafael (George Lopez) offers to take them to his bulldog friend Luiz (Tracy Morgan) in removing the chain. Rafael also unsuccessfully attempts to teach Blu to fly. The group meets a Red-crested Cardinal named Pedro (will.i.am) and his Yellow Canary friend Nico (Jamie Foxx). Meanwhile, Nigel recruits a horde of thieving marmosets led by their king Mauro (Brian Baumgartner) to help capture Blu and Jewel. Linda, Tulio and Fernando also try to find Blu. Pedro and Nico take Blu and Jewel to a bird's samba club, where they perform a duet, but are attacked by the marmosets. Their bird friends, including a Roseate Spoonbill named Kipo (Bernardo de Paula) fend them off long enough for the five to escape.
Fernando leads Linda and Tulio to the smugglers' hideout where they learn the criminals' plan to use Carnivale as a cover to smuggle Blu and Jewel from Rio. The group meets Luiz, who inadvertently uses his drool to release Blu and Jewel from the chain. Jewel is overjoyed, but Blu is depressed since he is still unable to fly and they part ways. Jewel is captured by Nigel and Blu plots a rescue mission. Linda and Tulio infiltrate Carnivale by posing as dancers, but Blu, Rafael, Nico and Pedro are captured by Nigel and detained aboard the smugglers' cargo plane. During the flight, Blu breaks out of his cage, and the others flee except for Jewel. In the climatic struggle between Blu and Nigel, Nigel grievously injures Jewel's wing and Blu blasts Nigel out of the plane and into its propeller. Possibly killing him.
Blu eventually rescues Jewel and they kiss as they fall. Blu begins to fly and they return to Linda and Tulio, who tends to Jewel's wing. Some time later, Linda and Tulio have organized the "Blu Bird Sanctuary", a part of Rio's jungle protected from smugglers. Blu and Linda remain very close, though she also has a relationship with Tulio, and is now living in Rio to help run the sanctuary along with Fernando. Blu and Jewel now live in the jungle with their friends, and are the parents of three chicks.
Nigel is shown to have survived at the end, though he is now featherless and the marmosets take their revenge on him, while the smugglers are sent to jail.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Disher ... Mother Bird (voice)
Jason Fricchione ... Truck Driver (voice)
Sofia Scarpa Saldanha ... Young Linda (voice)
Leslie Mann ... Linda (voice)
Kelly Keaton ... Bookstore Customer / Lady Tourist (voice)
Jesse Eisenberg ... Blu (voice)
Wanda Sykes ... Chloe (The Goose) (voice)
Jane Lynch ... Alice (The Other Goose) (voice)
Rodrigo Santoro ... Tulio / Soccer Announcer (voice)
Gracinha Leporace ... Dr. Barbosa (voice)
Jamie Foxx ... Nico (voice)
Will i Am ... Pedro (voice) (as will.i.am)
Phil Miler ... Aviary Intern / Waiter (voice)
Anne Hathaway ... Jewel (voice)
Bernardo de Paula ... Sylvio / Kipo (voice)
Directed by Carlos Saldanha
Produced by John C. Donkin
Screenplay by Don Rhymer
Earl Richey Jones
Story by Carlos Saldanha