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Five Views: Rio 2

April 17, 2014

Rio 2 Poster

Rio 2 – A 20th Century Fox Release

http://www.riomovies.com

Release Date: April 11th, 2014

Rated G for cartoon action

Running time: 101 minutes

Carlos Saldanha (dir.)

Jenny Bicks (screenplay)

Yoni Brenner (screenplay)

Carlos Kotkin (screenplay)

John Powell (music)

Jesse Eisenberg as Blu (voice)

Anne Hathaway as Jewel (voice)

Bruno Mars as Roberto (voice)

Andy Garcia as Eduardo (voice)

George Lopez as Rafael (voice)

Jamie Foxx as Nico (voice)

will.i.am as Pedro (voice)

Tracy Morgan as Luiz (voice)

Jemaine Clement as Nigel (voice)

Kristin Chenoweth as Gabi (voice)

Leslie Mann as Linda (voice)

Rodrigo Santoro as Tulio (voice)

Rio 2
©20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and one of their chicks in Rio 2.

Our reviews below:

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Rio 2 Review By John Corrado

*** (out of 4)

After the wonderful first film became a box office hit three years ago, the charming birds are back in Rio 2, a slight but still entertaining sequel that is already reaping similar financial rewards.  Kids are going to love it, and adults will approve of the good messages that this harmless animated diversion manages to provide.

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) are now safely living in Brazil under the watch of Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), who are also enjoying their own married life.  The two blue macaws have continued their species with three adorable kids, but when they find out that they actually aren’t the last of their kind, the family travels to the Amazon.  Although Blu is disturbed by how different the jungle is from his comfortable city life, Jewel fits right in and even reunites with her father Eduardo (Andy Garcia) and old friend Roberto (Bruno Mars), causing tension between them.

But there is a group of illegal loggers threatening to destroy their habitat, and the birds must work together to protect the jungle.  Their friends Pedro (will.i.am), Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Rafael (George Lopez) are once again in tow, but this means that Nigel (Jemaine Clement) is also back and looking for revenge, with the talkative frog Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth) always by his side.

Although this story is largely derivative of the superior first film, and the screenplay offers few surprises, Rio 2 still provides colourful entertainment for those of all ages.  The characters are cute, the animation is beautifully bright and vibrant, and the nicely choreographed musical numbers once again pop off the screen, providing some of the most memorable scenes.

The climax is sure to excite younger viewers, offering a good message about conservation and protecting the rainforest.  Save for this admittedly different last act, there isn’t much in this sequel that wasn’t already done better the first time around.  But Rio 2 sets out simply to entertain even the youngest of kids, while still providing plenty of colourful visuals for older audience members, and for that this sequel modestly and easily succeeds.

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Rio 2 Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

The singing, dancing birds of Rio de Janiero are back!  In Rio 2 we meet up with Blu (Jessie Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway), now with three little birds of their own – Carla (Rachel Crow), Tiago (Pierce Gagnon), and Bia (Amandla Stenberg).  When Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) head off into the jungle to study wildlife, they discover the possibility that Blu and Jewel are not the last of their species and there are other Blue Macaws living in the wilds of the Amazon.  After seeing the threat of a logging company on TV, Blu decides that they have to go help Linda find the other macaws so the area can become protected, and Jewel jumps at the idea of returning to the wild.

Once there, Jewel is reunited with her long-lost family members, and what started as just a vacation becomes something more.  Jewel wants to stay although Blu is reluctant to leave his city life with Linda behind.

The film touches on issues of deforestation, illegal logging practices, and the protection of endangered wildlife.  It also has strong messages about using your strengths and what it means to be a family.  While not up to the level of the first Rio (the songs aren’t as original and sometimes it seems like there are tons of characters on screen that don’t really move the plot forward), Rio 2 is beautifully animated and will be enjoyed by those of all ages.  It is fun, colourful, and entertaining.

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Rio 2 Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Taking off where the first movie left off, Rio 2 follows Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their three kids as they discover life in the Amazon rainforest.  Their human friends, Linda (Leslie Mann) and her ornithologist and wildlife rehabilitator husband Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), have just discovered a flock of wild Spix’s macaws deep in the Amazon rainforest.  But this discovery angers the manager of a logging company, who is determined to plow through the rainforest, even “cutting down” any “tree huggers” that get in his way.

Meanwhile, Blu is not used to living in the wild.  He jumps at spiders and insects, and insists on carrying a GPS and useless Swiss Army Knife in a fanny pack.  Jewel’s dad, Eduardo (Andy Garcia) is wary of any human objects.  Her former mate, Roberto (Bruno Mars) seems like a potential rival to Blu.  A more sinister (yet funny enough for kids) bird rival is the cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement) and his frog girlfriend Gabi (Kristen Chenoweth), who wish to take out Blu once and for all.  Their minion, an adorable tamandua named Charlie, is their reluctant mode of transportation.

Rio 2 is not as strong a movie as the first one.  But it is still a good musical, with fun, toe-tapping dance sequences, complete with a variety of rainforest animals.  A talent show audition hosted by old bird friends Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Pedro (will.i.am) is funny, as is a macaw soccer game “fight” over Brazil nuts.  The adorable bulldog Luiz (Tracy Morgan) is back too.

The environmental themes are as strong as the original film, this time focusing on deforestation and habitat loss.  These themes are one of the things I really like about the Rio films, along with the colourful animation and music.  Rio 2 is a great choice for the family, especially near Earth Day.

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Rio 2 Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Enough time has passed since Rio’s favourite blue Spix’s macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) met and fell in love for them to form a happy family unit with their three energetic little chicks at Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio’s (Rodrigo Santoro) Brazilian bird sanctuary.  This time in Rio 2, the family flock is all set to celebrate New Years in Rio de Janeiro, until the discovery of another flock of blue Spix’s macaws in the Amazon leads to a change of plans.

Jewel thinks it would be good for the kids to meet other birds of their feather.  Besides, she misses the other macaws.  Meanwhile, Blu is stressing over how he can fit all his essentials such as his Swiss Army Knife and GPS into one fanny pack.  Never ones to miss out on an adventure, Blu, Jewel and the chicks are joined by old bird friends Pedro (will.i.am), Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Rafael (George Lopez).  Even the lovable, slobbery bulldog Luiz (Tracy Morgan) finds a way to join them.

The Amazon proves to be a place full of surprises, good and bad.  Jewel reconnects with her dominant bird father Eduardo (Andy Garcia), and her childhood friend, the handsome macaw Roberto (Bruno Mars).  Blue feels a little less than capable among the other more bird-like and impressive macaws.  Linda and Tulio are facing challenges of their own, when they confront illegal loggers who are clear-cutting the macaws home.

If that wasn’t enough, Blu’s enemy from the first film, evil cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement) is back for revenge.  With him is a brightly coloured poison dart frog named Gabi (Kristen Chenoweth) who would do anything for Nigel, and a silent tamandua named Charlie who provides transportation.  Of course, the mischievous monkeys are still wreaking havoc wherever they go.

Rio 2 is just as colourful and delightful as the original.  It’s a treat catching up with all the characters from the first movie.  New character Gabi provides some really funny moments with the Shakespeare-quoting and scene-stealing Nigel. As in the original, the musical numbers are energetic and fun.  Bruno Mars is a nice vocal addition to the many songs.  The voice work overall is excellent.

The only downside to Rio 2 is that it does feel like a sequel.  The storyline isn’t that original and not that engaging for adults.  However, if you enjoyed the characters from the first film, you’ll still like them in Rio 2.  There’s plenty to keep younger viewers entertained and lots of musical numbers to enjoy.  Rio 2 plays well in theatres and will do well on disc.

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Rio 2 Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Rio 2 begins with blue macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), his mate Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their three chicks celebrating the new year following the previous film’s Carnaval. Meanwhile, on a trip to return a quail to its Amazon habitat, ornithologist Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) and bride Linda (Leslie Mann) discover a feather indicating a lost population of blues that they are determined to find. Hearing this, Blu’s family sets out to meet them, followed by the wicked cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement), bent on revenge. Having recovered from his accident in the first film but left flightless, Nigel has escaped from a sideshow accompanied by Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth), a toxically coloured frog with a serious crush on him and a prehensile tongued anteater.

Jewel discovers her widowed father Eduardo (Andy Garcia) heading the flock, with the hotshot Roberto (Bruno Mars) as his apparent successor. Though delighted to be reunited with Jewel and meet his grandkids, Eduardo is naturally suspicious of Blu’s domestication, given the threat to their habitat from an unscrupulous logger (Miguel Ferrer). When Tulio and Linda get in the logger’s way, everything could literally come crashing down around them.

Although admittedly predictable, Rio 2 is a good sequel, retaining much of the colourful charm of the original Rio. Once again the fine Brazilian musicians guided by Sergio Mendes and John Powell score make music a major part of its success, with good songs and elaborate production numbers including an aerial brazil nut soccer game between rival blue macaws and red parrots. The child friendly script should appeal to all ages, with excellent performances all around from both the original cast and new additions.

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Consensus: Although Rio 2 isn’t as fresh as the wonderful first film from 2011, this is still a cute and brightly animated sequel that family audiences are sure to enjoy, with appealing characters and a good environmental message for those of all ages. *** (out of 4)

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