Rio – The Movie
It’s been a long time since the city of Rio de Janeiro formed the backdrop for a major work of feature film animation.
The last time was when Walt Disney released The Three Caballeros, back in 1944.
That’s about to change.
Carlos Saldanha’s Rio will be debuting in April.
Saldanha is a Brazilian animation director, a native of Rio de Janeiro, who’s been working in the United States since 1991.
You might not know his name, but the odds are you’ve been exposed to his work.
Like the scrat.
The scrat is Saldanha’s saber-toothed squirrel from the Ice Age series.
The one that loves acorns even more than he does the scratte, his female counterpart.
Now, Saldanha is hoping that Blu will become equally well-known to the movie-going public.
Blu is nerdy “flight challenged” macaw who, as the film begins, is living happily in his cage in Minnesota.
Happily, except for one thing: he believes he’s the last of his kind.
But then it’s discovered that there is another surviving bird of the same species.
She’s a female, and she lives in Rio de Janeiro.
Where he goes to find love.
To get the visuals right, Saldana brought a gang of animators, writers and artists to Brazil.
Where he put them through an intensive course of study in one of the most photogenic and three-dimensional cities in the world.
They flew over the city by helicopter.
They participated in a rehearsal of a samba school.
They went up to Pedra Bonita and risked flights on the hang gliders. (This is work?)
You can’t tell a story about Rio without music, so there’s a lot of that, too. And, to execute it, Saldanha was able to count upon the collaboration of one of Brazil’s musical greats, Sergio Mendes.
The movie looks like it’s going to be great fun, but under it all is a serious message, one with which I’ll be dealing in my December release, A Vine in the Blood.
It’s the trafficking of exotic animals.
And by the time I launch the book, no one will ever believe I wasn’t inspired by the movie.
The world premiere of the movie will be in Rio de Janeiro on March 22nd with the full cast. Here's one of the trailers:
Leighton - Monday