“We are all going to the Amazon… Yay,” says a very concerned Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) to his friends Rafael (George Lopez) and Nico (Jamie Foxx) after his former owners Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) discover the possibility of others of their kind while exploring the jungle. Meanwhile, Jewel (Anne Hathaway) – who was taken from the wild – is up for the adventure and determined to help Linda and Tulio find more Blue Macaws in the animated/adventure sequel Rio 2.
Yearning to take their three kids on a trip and to experience the real wild, Jewel convinces Blu they should travel to the Amazon and help Linda and Tulio find others of their species. She’s excited and hopeful that there could be others while poor Blu is packing his fanny pack to the hilt with bug spray, sporks and his GPS device.
Unfortunately, it turns out Blu’s old enemy Nigel (Jemaine Clement) survived being sucked into a crashing plane’s engine at the end of the original film but sadly can no longer fly and is performing at a street vendor’s entertainment booth. When he sees Blu, Jewel, and their kids flying off to the Amazon, Nigel escapes from the vendor with the help of Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth), a poisonous frog, as well as an anteater. The ragtag trio take off after Blu and his family in order for Nigel to exact his revenge.
Upon arriving in the Amazon, Blu and Jewel are shocked to discover a whole flock of birds of their species, including Jewel’s father (voiced by Andy Garcia) who is thrilled to be reunited with his little girl and to be able to meet his grandchildren but who has no respect or tolerance for Blu. Desperate to make Jewel happy and get along, Blu puts his best beak forward to try to win over her father and do his best to learn how to survive in the wild.
Lacking originality, uninteresting, and…here’s the kiss of death…boring, Rio 2 is an unnecessary sequel that’s sure to have the audience wishing they were watching the first film again instead of this sequel by the time they reach the halfway point. The script and character development this time out is very disappointing, with Blu – who was funny and likable in the first film – being nothing but a whiny, incompetent pest who’s almost impossible to root for or care about. The introduction of Jewel’s father and her former boyfriend, who are bland one-dimensional characters, actually takes away time and action from the funny original characters (such as Nico and Rafael) and in hogging the spotlight, the new characters serve to kill any real humor in this sequel. The movie really should have been titled Rio 2: Meet the In-Laws.
The use of 3D is a complete and utter waste, with the format not once giving the audience the feeling of soaring over trees or the ocean or the feeling of plunging over and down a gigantic waterfall. The production numbers are uninspiring and forgettable, and none of the new songs live up to the first film’s soundtrack.
Tedious, with very few laugh-out-loud moments and far too long, Rio 2 will have both children (who at this critic’s screening kept going up and down the stairs and whining for more soda) and adults looking forward to the credits so they can leave and go do something worthwhile and fun.
Rio 2 opens in theaters on April 11, 2014 and is rated G for all audiences.
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