The delightful environmentally minded animated film Rio 2 is a joyous celebration of what we can do when we work together for the greater good. In this case, the Spix’s Macaw family of the first film, Blu, Jewel (Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway) and their children are adjusting to a new life in the Amazon with the help of the animals they meet there. They learn that the rich vegetable and animal life in the jungle is in danger from humans, whose greed drives them to slash the forests for logging. But good stories emerge too – the fact that macaws are not alone, that their species is far from extinct. Brazilian filmmaker Carlos Saldanha says it was important to him to make the film. I spoke with him in Toronto.
I understand there was a personal motivation for you to make these two films?
I had to tell a story of where I come from and the cultural things was fun to do and important to me even though its Brazilians expressly down for the whole world and I wanted to get what I felt was important to me to convey. I’ve seen animated films set in China, France, and thought why not Brazil? It's a thriving, vital cultural city and I owned it.
There has been a reduction of logging but it’s an ever going battle like anything else in the world. It’s not a win-win. It’s win, continue to fight and win. It’s important and every country has its own environmental challenge. Canada has its polar bears and the coral reefs for Australia. It’s our culture and our country. I show the amazing is important for the world not lungs of the world and it’s important for everybody. If a kid comes out of the movie and has a fun time watching the colourful fun movie and realises the importance of the message that’s great.
And one day someone might say “I was inspired to do something for the Amazon because of the Rio films I saw as a child”.I hope I am alive to see that.
When we make these movies it’s a bunch of adults in a studio and we are all kids who play in the sandbox. We, we have a great time, and the inner child is always there. We think about the most fun way, and we make for adults jokes with double meanings and we love to play with that. The early Disney films did that all the time and you can get away with a lot. But it’s tame today. Back then Tom and Jerry and Roadrunner were really violent. The road runner was always bombing things and shooting people and running over things. Back then society was different.
In Rio 2 the blue birds go to the Amazon and find more like themselves, meaning they are no longer an endangered species. It shows the world is always evolving.When I did this project a special species of birds which is already extinct and awareness was raised. I went to a program in Tenerife, Spain, in a park where they had some. They sent them to Brazil and put them in a programme that would ultimately release them into the wild. It was so important to me that the film encouraged that. It seems like impossibility but it happened and one day bigger environmental dreams might come true.
So you also offer the idea that species can be saved if we work together.It turned out that the bird was not extinct and that was another of the films two messages, the idea of family being together and working together and being friends. I have a huge family and everyone has issues but at the end of the day is family. That’s what matters and you stick together. And help save the environment.
The film is therapeutic for adults, because we forget our cares. Is that important to you?I’m a parent and when I got to the movies with my kids, I want to have a good timer and have a journey as a family. Rio does this and it pleases people at both ends of the age spectrum. I created it also for myself and I want to have fun and laugh. We all just need to party together.
Maybe except the loggers.Well they get their comeuppance so they can come too.