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RIO: A Rescuer’s Movie Review

By Susan Zizumbo
I had been highly anticipating seeing this movie as was my five-year-old daughter who has been raised with a macaw as well as other various types of birds.

The movie begins with various species of birds singing together in the rainforest. The star of the movie, "Blu" emerges from a tree hollow rather than a nest (kudos to the producers for keeping it real). Blu ends up being captured by poachers and gets smuggled to Minnesota. His crate falls off the back of a delivery truck and he is found by Linda who becomes his "parront".

People who are owned by parrots can relate to the scene where Linda's alarm goes off and as she fumbles to turn it off, the alarm continues ringing. She goes as far as unplugging it only to find that it's Blu making the sound of the alarm. How many times has that happened in your home?!

The next scene horrified me. This was the only portion of the movie that I didn't enjoy. Linda serves Blu hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. My daughter turned to me and said, "Birds aren't supposed to have chocolate!" While I was happy to know that my daughter knew right from wrong, all I could think about were the thousands of people who were watching the movie, who didn't know any better, who were thinking, "Wow, I didn't know Tweety could eat chocolate, I'll have to try that when we get home!"

The movie has a few moments where the reality of being a pet bird hits home to bird owners. Blu meets Jewel, his intended, and she calls him a "pet" to which he replies that he's a "companion." At another point when Blu gets lost, he states that he wishes that he were back in his cage with his mirror and his little bell. I'll bet all lost birds have that same wish!

The movie had a great message about conservation. Linda is asked to bring Blu to Rio to participate in a breeding program as he has been deemed the last male Blue Macaw (Spix's Macaw). Linda reluctantly agrees but goes along with Blu to Rio. Conservation and the need for it are explained to Linda (and the audience).

This movie has somewhat fairly represented bird ownership and conservation equally. A lot of things that were not represented were the fact that birds are messy, destructive and loud. You may be surprised to know that this movie was somewhat loosely based upon real life. Presley was a 25-year-old male Spix’s Macaw who was discovered on a first visit to the vet. He was then sent to be a part of a breeding program in Brazil. He was not returned to his owner as was supposed to be the deal in the movie. His DNA was needed to help diversify the inbred offspring of the birds that were already in the program.

All in all, this was a great movie and my daughter and I will be awaiting the DVD release