Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rio, The Movie: Let go of your seats!

I have the good fortune to have fabulous friends who once in a while indulge me by joining me in my pursuit of Brazilian bliss. This past Saturday, two such friends did exactly that when they agreed to cough up $20 each to see the movie Rio in 3-D. Bless their hearts. 

Rio's main message was a nice one- open your mind, listen to your heart, be confident in your abilities, and you will discover wonderful things about the world and yourself- but the soundtrack is what really brought the movie to life. When I say soundtrack, I mean the music, the sounds, beats, rhythms, and melodies. I'm talking so infectious that I couldn't sit still during a single musical number. The lyrics, on the other hand, leave a lot to be desired, and certain refrains are ridiculous enough that they merit mentioning. The movie opens with a thriving community of tropical birds that breaks into song and dance to "Real in Rio" by the Rio Singers.

Magic could happen for real, in Rio
All by it self (it self)
You can't see it coming
You can't find it anywhere else (anywhere else)
It's real, in Rio
Know something else (something else)
You can feel it happen
You can feel it all by yourself

Magic happens all by itself, huh? That must be some special kind of magic. I can feel it happening all by myself, too? Wow! I'm a big girl now! Huggies Brazil must be a corporate sponsor... Along with the Association of Brazilian Gazebo Builders, as suggested by this catchy tune, "Let me take you to Rio" by Ester Dean.

Let me take you to Rio, Rio 
Fly'o the ocean like an eagle 
And when can chill in my gazebo, zebo.
Oh oh oh oh oh, na na na 

Actually, they are macaws, not eagles. And any song lyrics that so prominently feature the word gazebo loose major points in my book. It's not like these shady resting places so are central to Brazilian architectural style either. I can think of 100 better reasons for me to take you to Rio than my gazebo. How about cachaça, or beautiful people, or beautiful beaches? I think kids could appreciate all of these things. 

Another saving grace of the movie are the complicated dance routines that these animated creatures so flawlessly execute. In fact, I couldn't help myself from joining them. I may have been restricted to a chair that was bolted to the floor, but that didn't stop me from getting my heart rate up during each musical number. In my moments of fist pumping, shoulder shimmying, and leg kicking to the samba and bossa nova beats, I felt like the dancing car-seat baby who can't get enough of Florence and the Machine's Dog Days. Here's the clip again, so you can understand what it means to dance in a chair. Instead of a proud mother looking on and cheering, however, I was surrounded by uncomfortable minors and their parents.

Unlike this kid, I didn't cry when the music stopped or when the movie ended, but I can't say that I wasn't sad. I absolutely was sad. I was sad that I wasn't in Rio. I was sad that baby tropical birds are robbed from their nests and sold to exotic pet stores around the world where they may never have the chance to reproduce their species, unless they have the good fortune of being tracked down by an endearingly nerdy Brazilian ornithologist, played by Rodrigo Santoro, and reintroduced into their original hot and steamy habitats. I was sad that Ann Hathaway was so unconvincing as, Jewel, the smoking-hot-Brazilian-blue-macaw-lady-bird. Poor casting choice, if you ask me. I could have been a better smoking-hot-Brazilian-blue-macaw-lady-bird than Ann. She should to stick to the angry/awkward female roles she is so good at and leave the sensual, Latina characters to the pros. 

But don't let my criticisms get you down, the music will lift you right back up. 

Rio Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Various artists

1. Real In Rio – The Rio Singers
2. Let Me Take You To Rio (Blu’s Arrival) – Ester Dean and Carlinhos Brown
3. Mas Que Nada (2011 Rio Version) – Sergio Mendes featuring Gracinha Leporace
4. Hot Wings (I Wanna Party) – & Jamie Foxx
5. Pretty Bird – Jemaine Clement
6. Fly Love – Jamie Foxx
7. Telling The World – Taio Cruz
8. Funky Monkey – Siedah Garrett, Carlinhos Brown, Mikael Mutti, and Davi Vieira
9. Take You To Rio (Remix) – Ester Dean
10. Balanco Carioca – Mikael Mutti
11. Sapo Cai – Carlinhos Brown and Mikael Mutti
12. Samba De Orly – Bebel Gilberto
13. Valsa Carioca – Sergio Mendes

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