“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds,” wrote the great moralist Aesop. Especially not at the multiplex, where feathered friends like Blu, the hero of Rio and Rio 2, due in theaters this month, have captured our imaginations with soaring adventures, dazzling one-liners and, in at least a few cases, some very, well, fowl behavior. Have the movies gone to the birds? These films about our winged companions lead American Way to believe so.
The Birds: In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963, Oscar-nominated horror film, violent birds descend upon a Northern California town, pecking and scratching its inhabitants into submission.
Key Line: “Don’t they ever stop migrating?”
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird: In this 1985 feature film, everybody’s favorite cassowary/condor/lark, Big Bird, is shipped off to a family of fellow aviary creatures. But when he finds that his heart truly resides on Sesame Street, he enjoys a madcap cross-country adventure on the journey home.
Key Line: “Isn’t flying wonderful? It makes me feel like a bird.”
Howard the Duck: Laying a giant egg at the box office and widely considered one of cinema’s great turkeys, this 1986 flop from Star Wars series maestro George Lucas tells the tale of a foul-mouthed, cigar-chomping duck in Cleveland who saves Earth from an alien invasion. We wish we were kidding.
Key Line: “That’s it! No more Mr. Nice Duck!”
Fly Away Home: Raising a flock of baby geese helps a young girl bond with her estranged father and recover from the loss of her mother in this heartwarming 1996 film, starring Jeff Daniels and
Key Line: “It’s, uh, called imprinting. The first living thing a goose sees when it’s born, it automatically assumes is its mother.”
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole: Guess who saves the planet from the evil rule of wicked birds in this 2010 computer-animated epic from Man of Steel helmer Zack Snyder? Who? Who? A young owl named Soren.
Key Line: “When you’ve flown as far as you can, you’re halfway there.”
Rio: A domesticated blue macaw discovers his wild side in South America, falling in love and saving a flock of exotic birds from evil smugglers in this 2011 animated film, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway. Both stars return for Rio 2, out this month, which finds Blu and friends heading for adventure in the Amazon.
Key Line: “I can’t fly, I pick my beak, and once in a while I pee in the birdbath!”