English (U) ***
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Cast: Voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars, Jemaine Clement, Kristin Chenoweth and others
Rio (2011) was director Carlos Saldanha’s pet project and was a huge success. The stunning visuals, catchy music and voice acting, that made Rio what it is, fail to make an impression in the sequel.
Like the cacophony of the Amazon macaws, the superb animation in Rio 2 is lost with its numerous plots, more characters and the result is bland and simply not funny.
Blu (Eisenberg), and Jewel (Hathaway), the last Spix’s Macaws in the world now have three kids. While Blu loves civilisation and pancakes, Jewel prefers the jungle and the nuts. When word comes about the possibility of a hidden community of Spix’s Macaws deep in the Amazon, the macaw family and their human hosts, Tulio (Santoro) and Linda (Mann), leave the city with several sidekicks in tow.
Blu and Jewel meet the supposedly extinct macaws, including her father Eduardo (Garcia) and childhood friend, Roberto (Mars). The plot gets awkward from here by introducing more sub-plots – will Blu blend into the community of the wild macaws, will he impress Eduardo, how do the Spix’s macaws win against the Scarlet macaws over control of the brazil nuts?
As if four sidekicks weren’t enough, the villains also have their sidekicks. Nigel (Clement), the sadistic cockatoo and Jewel’s nemesis from Rio returns with Gabi (Chenoweth), a lovable frog and a silent anteater as his sidekicks. There is also a logging don who plans to destroy the macaw habitat.
Speaking of tracks, there’s the done-to-death Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and several forgettable tunes, the exception being “Poisonous Love”.
The bar has been raised for kids’ films, post-Pixar and The Lego Movie. Gone are the days when we could tolerate the sidekicks, pop-culture references and ludicrous songs that we associated with this genre. Rio 2 gets into flashback mode, ignoring trends. It isn’t a bad film. However, considering Saldanha’s expertise, it could have been much better.