Flying is not what you think up here, it's what you feel in here.
Rio is Blue Sky Studios' sixth film with 20th Century Fox, originating from director Carlos Saldanha's inspiration from his native upbringing in Brazil. Released on April 15th, 2011 in the U.S., and opened as the #1 movie in its first week.Blu is a critically endangered Spix's Macaw (referred to as a "Blue Macaw") who lives as a pet with the owner of a small bookstore in wintry, serene Minnesota. However, after a visit from a veterinarian, Blu finds out that he's one of the last of his kind, and there's a female in South America. He's sent down as part of a captive breeding program, quickly kidnapped along with her by a group of smugglers, gets chained together with her, then they escape and go on an adventure in Rio de Janeiro.Oh, and he doesn't have the first clue how to fly.You can watch the teaser and both U.S. trailers here. The U.K. trailer is here, and includes bonus footage and a "cast call".Received a surprising single 2012 Academy Award nomination for Best Song ("Real in Rio"). A sequel, Rio 2, was released on April 11, 2014.Not to be confused with Rio -Rainbow Gate!- .
Rio provides examples of the following tropes:
Acrophobic Bird: Literal example in Blu, due to a traumatic incident where he fell out of his nest before he was old enough to fly. It's not that he's afraid of flying, per say...he just knows full well what will happen if he falls from a great height. Well Lampshaded later in the jungle.
Blu's ability to open a birdcage from the inside comes as quite a surprise to Jewel, who was trying to break out by force. When Jewel is later captured by Nigel, Blu is briefly seen picking a lock with his claws to get Jewel out of the cage.
The marmosets know how to operate cellphones, send text messages, use digital cameras, etc. Although hilariously, the text message reads, "Ooo! Ooo! Aaa! Aaa! :(|)" Which is still understood quite specifically by its recipient.
Animal Stereotypes: Cockatoos are smart, temperamental, bitey, very easily become neurotic and are loud. They rather routinely outsmart people trying to control them in Australia, where they are often considered a pest. Imagining one as a villain is not much of a stretch at all.
Animal Talk: Zig-zagged in that animals of the same species have different languages — the Brazilian birds (like Jewel) can speak both Portugese and English, while Blu, who was raised in the U.S.A, only speaks English. Other native Brazilian birds like Rafael, Nic and Pedro are never heard in anything but English. During one chase scene, Blu jokes about being bilingual after imitating a dog's bark to scare off a street cat.
Which is ironic considering they can all talk to Luiz the bulldog.
Anti-Hero: Blu is a Type I while Jewel is a Type II. Both of them shed this over the course of the movie, however.
Artistic License - Animal Care:At the end of the movie, Linda bids Blu farewell and lets him fly off into the jungle to be with Jewel. Blu is a member of a critically endangered species, which would, logically, be high on the list for poachers.
The sequel shows the jungle is part of a natural sanctuary in the city of Rio. Except, those places are like candy stores to animal smugglers.
Blu eats chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to many animals, including birds.
Audible Gleam: Look closely when Luiz is about to fire up his table saw.
Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Inverted. Early promo material said that the film was rated PG. Fox staff didn't want that, so they made a couple edits to get it down to G.
Subverted when Blu makes his attempt to smash the chain with the boulder, but played straight twice towards the end of the film when he uses the fire extinguisher to "bust his cage open like a soda can", and then also uses it to dispose of Nigel.
Prior to this, the trope is subverted when Blu studies flying and then attempts to do so in the library, but panics at the last moment and ends up as a macaw Christmas tree. And throughout the film, his "thrust, lift, drag, weight" mantra always ends in him having a panic attack at the last moment. Rafael says it perfectly:
Beware The Cute Ones: The toucan babies, upon first meeting Blu and Jewel, act so cute and adorable that Jewel teases Blu to "be careful... they might snuggle you to death!" And then a few seconds later one of the babies starts tearing out Blu's feathers, while the other one does the same to Jewel and... well, it snowballs from there. And though he loves his family, even Rafael is not immune to this.
Rafael: No no no, don't turn around; they can sense fear!
Carla, Bia, and Tiago arguably count somewhat. Their introduction in Rio 2 has them tying a cute little green bird to a firecracker.
Big "NO!": The entire city of Rio lets out a collective one when Nigel's impact with a power transformer blacks out the city right as their soccer team is about to score the final point during a major game.
Bilingual Bonus: Blink and you'll miss it, but after Tulio dresses in the macaw costume, he catches a glimpse of himself in a mirror and exclaims "Cyanopsitta spixii!" the scientific name of a Spix Macaw. For ornithologically-versed viewers, this one kind of transcends language. The word "Spix" sticks out quite clearly.
And for Jewel's Portuguese accent. And for the inaccurate Portuguese in the "missing" poster for Blu (the word "extensão" makes no sense in that context. The correct word would be "ramal").
Captain Ersatz: Blu and Jewel are referred to as "Blue Macaws" instead of Spix's Macaws. Somewhat justified by a common nickname for the Spix's: Little Blue Macaw (which is also the translated Portuguese name of the bird). They do manage to sneak the real name in at one point (see Bilingual Bonus above).
Carnivores Are Mean: Real-life cockatoos are omnivorous, and Nigel has no problem munching on a chicken leg or threatening to eat the smaller of the caged birds. There's no indication whatsoever if the heroic macaws (who are also omnivores in real life) would see canaries and red-crested cardinals as appetizers. However, in this case it's invoked, as Nigel actively uses this to frighten the other birds his owner has captured and is a Card-Carrying Villain.
Jewel: You'll never find [Blu]! He's already gone. Nigel: I don't need to find him. He'll find you.
It does seem to desert him at the end when he leaves Blu alone in his cage, despite knowing he's smart enough to open latches & pick locks.
Perhaps he believed that a bird who could not fly wasn't stupid enough to attempt to escape by jumping out of a moving airplane, even if he conceded that Blu was probably clever enough to not only get out of his cage but lower the ramp. Nigel's villainy probably blinded him to the possibility that Blu would use the power of friendship to get one of the larger birds to give him a lift out.
In the Russian dub, Blu is called Golubchik (literally "little dove", usually used as an old-timey endearing form of address to a little kid by a much older person), and Jewel is Zhemchuzhinka ("little pearl").
Nigel becomes "Pepillo" in Mexican Spanish, while Jewel is now "Perla".
Establishing Character Moment: Nigel's is forcing a tiny bird to pick bird meat out of his beak, just so he can try to snap the poor thing's leg off.
Everything Is Better With Monkeys / Maniac Monkeys: The pickpocket marmosets. They are nefarious, but still very amusing, and can be both tropes at once. Though they at first refused to work for Nigel, he dropped their leader from several hundred feet, only saving him when they agreed to work for him.
Evil Brit: Nigel the cockatoo has a British accent.
Family-Unfriendly Death: Subverted where Nigel appears to have been shredded alive by the airplane's propellers at the end, but it's later revealed that he survived only to have lost all of his feathers in the process.
Fanservice: All those dancers in revealing bird suits are quite eye-catching. Particularly Linda
Faux Affably Evil: Nigel seems polite in his speech, but it merely adds to his horror factor.
Feather Fingers: Played straight with general wing gestures and Nico's use of his bottle-cap hat, although Blu, Jewel, and Nigel rely primarily on their feet when they actually need to manipulate objects.
Felony Misdemeanor: Blu's anti-samba rant makes everyone cringe. Nico even breaks down crying.
Fire-Forged Friends: Downplayed at first. Blu and Jewel become a lot less hostile towards each other after they escape the smugglers, but it isn't until their dance at the samba club that their conflict settles completely.
Fish out of Water: Blu, especially shown the first time he goes back to the jungle he was born in.
Foreign Queasine: At the churrascaria — flambed chicken hearts. (Yes, that is a Brazilian delicacy). Interrupted by the call telling Tulio that Blu and Jewel had been kidnapped.
Foreshadowing: Amusingly, in the sequel Gabi comparing herself and Nigel to Romeo and Juliet is this instead of an Analogy Backfire. He's accidentally hit with a poisonous dart, she gets sad and decides to drink her own poison... only for Bia to notice Gabi isn't a poisonous frog.
For the Evulz: Nigel's Villain Song has him list some things he does just for this. He also tortures the birds his owner have captive for fun.
Freudian Excuse: Nigel says he's evil because his superstar life-style was taken from him by a prettier bird, making him jealous of all the other "pretty birdies". He takes out this bitterness by helping his owner capture attractive birds and adding to their misery and fear at every opportunity.
Goofy Print Underwear: Marcel is revealed to be wearing blue boxers with yellow ducks on them when he's seen parachuting to safety, his pants pulled down by the henchmen clinging to his legs.
Gory Discretion Shot: The camera cuts away just before Nigel is sucked into the escape plane's propellers.
Green-Eyed Monster: Nigel's Villain Song reveals that part of the reason for his cruelty towards other birds is because he's jealous of their beauty (compared to his brutish appearance). This envy comes from being replaced as the star of a TV show by a far more attractive bird.
Groin Attack: Jewel gives one to the king of the marmosets with the chain holding her and Blu together.
Hikikomori: Technically, Blu. Since he was picked up by Linda, he's almost never been outdoors, and has trouble socializing with other birds.
Hartman Hips: Basically every female in the movie that isn't Linda, Jewel or another bird.
Helicopter Blender / Turbine Blender: An old-timey propeller plane in this case. Nigel is is apparently killed in the rotating blades, but is shown to have survived at the end, only shaved of his feathers and humiliated by his former henchmen.
Henpecked Husband: Rafael the toucan, almost literally, by his Keel-Billed Toucan wife. Nonetheless he still does love her, willing to gladly sacrifice Carnaval to spend time with her.
The sequel reveals they weren't the last ones after all.
Made of Iron: Nigel survives flying face first into an electrical transformer box with enough force to knock out power to most of Rio de Janeiro with only a few burnt feathers. In the end, he survives being sucked into an airplane propeller, but loses nearly all his feathers in the process.
Jewel and Blu qualify too, given that their first attempt at flying together results in a bounce and roll head-over-heels down a rock outcropping... and ends with them being bounced around by a beach ball and smacking face first into a surfboard.
Monkey Morality Pose: It's easy to miss the marmosets' reaction when Nigel blackmails their leader — an image of the same scene is included during the closing credits.
Mood Whiplash: The entire opening scene, about three times. Seriously.
Musicalis Interruptus: There are more songs in the first movie that are interrupted than are not. "Real in Rio", "Mas Que Nada", "Hot Wings (I Wanna Party)", "Fly Love" and "Funky Monkey" are all interrupted, and three of those five are non-comedic examples. The sequel manages to avoid this.
My Beloved Smother: While he never outright states it, Tulio does imply that it was Linda's doting that caused Blu to be so introverted and never learn to fly.
Never Say "Die": Averted, surprisingly for a G-Rated film. Jewel outright says they'll die if they can't escape the smugglers and Nigel refers to himself as a "bird murderer" in his Villain Song. Blu also says that he'd like to go five minutes without almost getting killed.
Never Trust a Trailer: The teaser trailer (which turned out to have just sampled a sequence directly from the film) made Rafael out to be a more prominent, important role than he actually is. Also, it made audiences think Blu is physically incapable of flight, when in fact he just needs more confidence.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: You know Marcel, if you'd paid Fernando what you promised him and/or taken him in, he might not have told the good guys what you were up to.
Not Quite Dead: Nigel is seemingly killed when he ends up being hit by an airplane propeller, but turns out to still be alive at the end, only had most of his feathers sliced off in the process.
Happens again in the sequel when Nigel is hit with a needle laced with Gabi's poisonous fluid, and Gabi drinks her own poison, until it is revealed that she's not poisonous.
Not This One, That One: A group of poachers plan to smuggle exotic birds out of the country by hiding them in float for Carnival. The lead poacher leaves the float-making up to his two underlings, and when the appointed time arrives, he's pleased to spot a very well-made, bird-themed float. However, as it passes, he hears the voices of his underlings calling from the float just behind it, a very shoddy chicken-themed float.
Well, chickens are birds, just not necessarily the particular ones needed.
Oh Crap: Nigel gets one of these before getting hit by the plane's propeller, after getting jetted out of the plane by a fire extinguisher that Blu attached to his leg.
Only You Can Repopulate My Race: Pretty much played straight. Blu mating with Jewel is the only way to save the species... except for two reasons. 1. Jewel is only interested in freedom and Blu just wants to go home, and 2. The two pretty much despise each other. At first, that is.
Opposites Attract: Blu and Jewel really couldn't be more different than each other if they tried. Blu is a rather cowardly house pet who can't fly, Jewel is a brave Action Girl from the wild who had to be taught to run properly by Blu when they couldn't fly. And yet they still end up happy mates.
Playing Possum: Jewel and Blu try this to escape the Smugglers early in the film. Blu makes a Large Ham out of himself about it.
Police Are Useless: When trying to explain how Blu and Jewel were stolen, the guard demonstrates placing the chloroform-soaked rag over his mouth — and promptly faints. The policeman examines it by sniffing, only to faint too.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Pedro is Red (literally), Nico is Blue (metaphorically). Seen especially clearly when they're both trying to give Blu advice on how to woo Jewel.
Also Jewel is Red (Wild) and Blu is Blue (Domesticated).
Real Men Wear Pink: Several tough guys, like Silvio the guard and Luiz the bulldog, love wearing silly costumes for Carnaval.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Blu — after proving a natural talent at samba dancing throughout the movie — finally loses it and goes off about how much he hates samba. This leads into his Heroic BSOD and causes Nico to completely break down.
Jerkass Façade: He does this to dissuade himself from Jewel; it's heavily implied that Blu feels he is not good enough for her. Lampshaded by Rafael who told him to make decision with his heart, not his head.
Scenery Porn: Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding forests are gorgeous.
The forest and the surrounding city, really. The City is surrounded by smaller towns, pastures and farm lands. The forest seen in the movie is the Tijuca National Park, a urban park (the biggest urban park in the world) in the middle of the city.
To Die Hard of all things. Twice, even: "Yippie-ki-yay, monkey-man!" Nigel apparently was the star performer in Fly Hard. Doubles as an Incredibly Lame Pun.
Nico throws his bottle cap as if it was a mighty shield. It even comes back to his wing after stunning a monkey.
After interrogating it for Blu and Jewel's destination, Nigel hurls a small, round bird into a pile of boxes and crates. Keep in mind the crossover release of Angry Birds Rio.
Furthermore, blink and you're miss it, but upon entering the bird clinic, a small round red bird with heavily dark eyes — almost perfect for the iconic main bird of Angry Birds — flies across the screen, followed shortly by three smaller round blue birds all together.
Another one to the Paulie Shore movie In the Army Now, with Blu's "spider on my back" being uncannily similar to the scorpion scene, except in the jungle and done by birds with a different arachnid.
When Tulio attempts to ride the motorcycle and fails, take a look just underneath the graffiti that says "Re!" You'll see the safe house emblem from Left 4 Dead
After nearly getting killed for the twelve-millionth time in the past ten minutes, Jewel saying that "I'm gonna chew through my own leg soon if this [chain] doesn't come off" brings to mind, of all things, Saw — or perhaps 127 Hours.
All of the parrots in the film are only three-toed; they lack the second backward-pointing toe in the zygodactyl foot.
The baby macaws seem conspicuously well-fledged given the (highly exaggerated) head:body ratio. This is probably just to make them cute for all audiences, rather than the Ugly Cute that only an avian enthusiast would love.
At one point, Blu implies that he is capable of "peeing". However, birds (with the exception of some ratites) cannot "pee" as such; liquid and solid wastes are excreted from the cloaca together.
All Parrots are Cockatoos. Macaws, Conures, even non-parrot Toucans, they all have strange crest-like head feathers. Made doubly weird because the animators obviously knew how cockatoo crests work. Those head feathers were probably given to be like "hair", so the birds have more distinct appearances.
At one point, Blu is fed hot chocolate. Problem? Chocolate is poisonous to birds.
In the opening scene, while Blu is in a nest inside a den (accurately for parrots), there's a family of yellow parrots who have a cup-shaped nest on a branch.
Played for Laughs in one scene: Blu shows off his sweaty "wingpit", at the same time noting that perspiration shouldn't be biologically possible.
Spiteful Spit: Jewel does this to one of the marmosets when they attack the avian samba club. Subverted after that that Blu tries to do the same too, but fails miserably.
When Marcel tells his goons to feed Nigel, they decide by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, saying: "Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!" Then later on when deciding who should take the last parachute, the goons go "Rock, paper, scissors..." then Marcel cuts in saying: "Chute!" as he gets it for himself.
Marcel is infuriated by his goons' stupidity and remarks that Nigel the cockatoo is ten times more intelligent than both of them combined. And he's pretty much correct in that statement.
Nigel feels this way about the marmosets after the birds beat the tar out of them. So he decides to do it himself.
Swiss Cheese Security: In real life, Carnival is such as big event you can't bypass security to the sambadrome bleachers, much less the street of the parade. And yet the villains' badly done parade car is able to run behind the real ones (the protagonists smuggling in at least had the excuse of them being able to blend with real dancers due to the costumes).
Tempting Fate: When Linda and Blu first arrive in Rio and see everyone dressed up in flashy costumes for Carnaval, Tulio tells her "Come tomorrow night, everyone will be dressed like that." Linda laughs and says "Not me!"
Terrible Trio: Nigel is reduced to this alongside Gabi and Charlie in the sequel. Blu and company don't even notice their presence until near the end.
Toothy Bird: Averted. The birds are perfectly expressive with their beaks. Somewhat Lampshaded: Blu still made a point of brushing his beak. It was an important ritual for his person, so he did it too.
Trail of Bread Crumbs: Fernando leaves a trail of pieces of cloth from Marcel's chicken float for Linda and Tulio to follow.
Triumphant Reprise: "Real in Rio", while an upbeat song about life, love and fun, is brutallycut short when the birds are taken by the smugglers. "Real in Rio (Reprise)" is another upbeat song about life, love and fun, and this time it comes with a happy ending.
Villainous Breakdown: One of the few cases where this actually happens in the first movie and leads into the second. Nigel loses his feathers in Rio and ends up suffering all sorts of humiliation as well as not being able to fly again. The minute he sees Blu and Jewel again in Rio 2, he snaps and spends the entire movie going to all sorts of lengths to hunt them down.
It's also what lead to him being a villain in the first place. After losing his star status to a "pretty parakeet", he went bad to the point that he tortures other birds For the Evulz.