What can I say? This colorful, tuneful, G-rated romp made the children in Saturday morning's screening audience happy; what more do we want? I enjoyed watching a flock of endangered blue macaws do "The Wave" to show their applause during a soccer match and their appreciation for a musical number. Their aerial ballet had echoes of both Esther Williams and Busby Berkeley: You know, those dazzling kaleidoscopic effects.
Our hero, Blu, lives with his lovely mate Jewel and their three offspring in Rio de Janeiro. She would like to visit her old jungle haunts and maybe reconnect with her family; on the other hand, he is city born and bred but adores her, so agrees to a little vacation trip ("A happy wife is a happy life"). Their adventure begins.
- * Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) raised to be a "Companion" for environmentalist Linda, he has now mastered flight but finds he must contend with Jewel's macho father out in the wild. His fanny pack contains a GPS unit ("Recalculating...") and an electric toothbrush.
- * Jewel (Anne Hathaway) adores her little family but is concerned for The Flock as deforestation encroaches on their territory.
- * Linda (Leslie Mann) is as sweetly earnest as ever, this environmentalist is now very concerned about the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest.
- * Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) is her clumsy ornithologist who goes on treks with her because he is still looking for a (possibly extinct) flock of blue macaws.
- * Roberto (Bruno Mars) seems to be a contender for Jewel's affections.
- * Big Boss (Miguel Ferrer) runs that evil logging operation with massive bulldozers, earth movers and tree-cutting equipment.
- * Nico (Jamie Foxx) provides the vocals for "Crazy Love."
- * Aunt Mimi (Rita Moreno) provides a bit of comic relief that the parents will appreciate.
- * Nigel (Jemaine Clement) is a down-on-his luck fellow forced to work as a fortune teller's assistant in a street show. He wears a Pagliacci-type costume to cover the bald spot from his male pattern feather loss.
- * Gabi (Kristen Chenoweth) is a poisonous dart tree frog who sings everything from showtunes to opera. She is desperately in love with Nigel.
The villain this time would be the logging companies that are stripping the trees from the Amazon jungle. The movie makes it very clear that even though the birds have some natural enemies, their worst long-term problem is loss of habitat.
The most impressive things to me, are the editing and the artwork: The editing is to the beat of a Samba-flavored soundtrack; the artwork includes a bird's-eye view of Rio's favelas (shantytowns) which cling to the mountain sides. BTW, Sergio Mendez is the music producer working with Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha ("Ice Age" and "Rio").