Rio 2 Reviews
Fairly decent animated movie! While it wasn't the best movie or even the best animation I have seen this year, this movie is definitely entertaining. The story is decent. There are quite a few songs and plenty of comedic moments as well. In essence this movie serves the purpose of being entertaining. Rio 2 is a beautifully made animated movie with a satisfactory plot. There is nothing wrong with Rio 2, but there's not much great about it either. Kids will love this movie, and adults will not feel like they wasted their time.
It's a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they're hurtled Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all: his father-in-law.
So the first film was set in Rio and I'm guessing this film will move into the rain forest? did you see that coming? So I'm guessing as the film is set deep within the Amazonian rain forest the plot will cover the destruction of the rain forest and 'Blu' and co becoming naturalised to jungle life...see that coming? Is any of this film even remotely original in any sense? does it even try?! the answer is no, this is merely the same formulaic albeit gorgeous looking CGI flick we've now seen about a thousand times.
So the film is a formulaic cookie cutter production and like other identical films there are a few positive things I can mention. Firstly the visuals are of course sumptuous, I mean really bright bold glossy colourful and extremely well animated. This is naturally no real surprise as these days CGI movies have reached a point where the skills and computer technology are in their prime, you expect them to look stunning, you know they will, its so routine that you could actually argue that people don't even notice the visuals anymore.
The other thing I like about these films is how they manage to highlight typical traits of the particular species in question, both behavioural and environmentally. This normally covers obvious things we all know about the specific species and their habitat, common knowledge, but also little winks or tit bits that maybe someone with that extra bit of animal knowledge might spot...which is cool. This normally also covers the various other creatures in the film too, for example the dart frog character being pointed out as not actually poisonous and spotting the various tropical birds hidden throughout the foliage.
In all honesty though apart from that most of this film is the same spiel all over again. You have all the same characters from the nerdy yet plucky hero who is utterly useless, the lively kids, the sidekicks voiced by various famous people, usually a rap star of some kind, to the stereotypically British voiced bad guy who sounds like Tim Curry and his own silly sidekick. Yeah sure there are some reasonable visual gags here and there but really the entire film hinges on the likable dastardly vocal performance of Jemaine Clement, everything else is dull. So cliche that 'Eduardo' the gruff father has a buzz cut style tuft on his head, is this Macaw from the 50's USA?
I must also be negative about the use of way too many song sequences, is it possible a new animated film can actually make it through its run time without one dreadful rap/hip-hop tune? no apparently not. It seems either Hollywood or kids these days love this stuff because every CGI animated flick seems to have some hip-hop or rap in it which instantly destroys any self respect or quality the film was aiming for in my opinion. Add to this the now statutory inclusion of rap/hip-hop/pop stars for voice work too, plenty of folk out there but yeah sure, lets use some bland untalented popstars just to lure in more kids.
I still don't get how this particular universe is suppose to even work, they are real birds and squawk or chirp when communicating with humans. They live like birds, eat like birds...do everything like real birds...yet Blu owns his own tiny GPS, electric toothbrush and various other tiny items that seem to have been made...for birds? Yeah I know I'm being extremely picky over a silly kids movie but I just couldn't help but think to myself...where would Blu possibly get this stuff from?? Quite liked how the word 'pet' is a dirty word for the birds though.
Business as usual then, wash rinse and repeat formula, safe but sorry, if it ain't broke?...or was it maybe broke from the start?? *raise eyebrow*. The finale is daft and kinda spoils what little the film had going for itself, its not like the film even mocks itself, it takes itself relatively seriously in terms of the adventure. Grandiose in the eye candy department, wetter than mackerels bumhole, friendlier than a very friendly fat handlebar moustached German in tight leather lederhosen, ecologically sound (and shoved down your throat) and with more cutesy critters than you can wave your gun at. Its the same as everything else but its about birds...and its a sequel.
The film kind of reminded me of the movie, Meet the Parents. I thought they would cast Robert Deniro as Jewel's dad. Instead they casted Andy Garcia. The film also reminded me of the animated films Madagascar 2 and Open Season (especially the big finale of the animals fighting the humans).
Jermaine Clement steals the film as Nigel. He has some of the best lines in the film. They should give him, his own spin off film. Kristin Chenoweth is also very good here. The other voice actors were ok.
The film did have some funny and cute moments like when they were auditioning talent and the soccer style game that Blu gets to play in.
In this G-rated animated musical comedy, Blu (Eisenberg), Jewel (Hathaway) and their three kids get hurtled Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon where they go beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel (Jemaine Clement) and meet the most fearsome adversary of all: Jewel's father (Andy Garcia).
There's not a bad note among the celebrity pipes hired to give lip service to the fuss and feathers. Director Carlos Saldanha (the Ice Age series) and Blue Sky Studios definitely possess a gift for bringing funtastic characters to life and Rio 2 definitely boasts its share even if some returning faces literally and ridiculously get airlifted into the action. When a ballad by a poison tree frog emerges as the flick's standout moment, however, it might be time to put the ixnay on chapter 3.
Bottom line: Way to Keep it Rio
Aside from the dumb jokes, unforgivable stunt casting, constant pandering, and cliched "Let's go meet the in-laws" plot, Rio 2 is harmless. It's not memorable. It can't even begin to compete with the least of what Disney and Pixar have to offer. It may have one or two fun musical numbers, some pretty animation, and the wonderful Jemaine Clement, but at the end of the day...it'll be forgotten.