All About Rio

See Brazil From a Bird's Point of View


Rio is set to release on April 15th!


BY RAY DAVID and SHARON STITELER

ANIMATION IN FEATURE FILMS HAS COME A LONG WAY since the birth of Mickey Mouse, and animals of one kind or another have been the main characters in those films for decades. The intricacies of today's digital animation continue to be perfected at an even quicker pace than computer technology itself, to the point that body movement, species characteristics and features can make the creature more real than real.

Twentieth Century Fox, one of the big names in filmdom, have made their mark on the movie industry since the beginning, and have made major gains in animation in recent years with such titles as Robots and Ice Age on their resume. One of their most exciting new releases in that genre is slated for April 15th, probably about the time you're reading this story, and we urge you to see it.

Titled "RIO", it is the story of Blu, a Spix Macaw - a critically endangered parrot so rare that it is believed the only remaining population is in captivity (the actual population in 2010 was 85 birds, none wild). Blu grew up in a cage in a U.S. city and knows no other way of life. He has been so well treated by his owner that he has never learned to fly - he didn't ever need to. A continent away from the Macaw's normal South American habitat, his owner decides to dedicate herself to helping Blu find a friend who's just like him. That friend turns out to be Jewel, a beautiful Macaw who lives in Rio. Blu's expedition to Brazil to meet his hoped-for lady is his first introduction to the outside world, and that's where the saga begins.

The story is one that will capture the heart of anyone who sees the film, and you can expect it to become an item of conversation in your store for months. We won't go into the detail here because it's in your own best interest to see it for yourself, and make sure everyone who works in your store sees it too so you know, when your customers come in, what they're talking about. And as always, you need to be the expert. You need to know more about the story than your customer - that's your job. Ours is to give you the background information that no one else knows - the story behind the story.

The production house, Blue Sky Studios, is a wholly-owned division of Twentieth Century Fox, and works only on full-length feature films. In a production this big, fully half of Blue Sky's staff of 800 is involved, and producer Bruce Anderson made sure the right people were on this job doing the right thing at the right time. It takes many months to produce a film like this, and having all the slots filled by the right talent helps the project to slide past the inevitable hiccups along the way.

This film was created by director Carlos Saldanha, a native Brazilian and a birder whose love for his homeland inspired him to come up with a project to showcase his country's beauty, natural history and culture. The result is a wonderful compendium of color, movement, music and sound that will make you want to be there. The actors and musicians that give this film its life are all A-list, including George Lopez, Anne Hathaway, will.i.am, Sergio Mendez, Jamie Foxx, Carlinhos Brown and many others. Saldanha's intense devotion to his subject inspired the kind of esprit d 'corps among the cast and crew that glued them together as a single unit, and from that came the magic that captures the viewer's attention from beginning to end.

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