Starring the voices of: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Mann, Miguel Ferrer, Kristen Chenoweth, Rita Moreno, Tracy Morgan, Will i Am, Bruno Mars, Jemaine Clement.
Rated: G. Animated. Running Time: 1 hour 41 minutes.
This is going to be a difficult review for me to write. First off, I didn’t see the first Rio. I’ve seen bits and pieces of it, but never viewed it in its entirety. And secondly, we’ve seen so many fantastic kids movies recently that I have become a super tough judge. The plot of this second installment lacked ingenuity and although it’s a heartwarming story of protecting your family and your home – it still has an air of formulaic storytelling. Rio 2 lacked something else that I believe to be the most important aspect of a kids flick; clever and abundant humor. I giggled a few times, but no memorable jokes come to mind as I’m writing this. I like when Ross, Ethan and I can sit around and recall the funniest moments or jokes that we find hysterical. One thing I did enjoy about Rio 2 was the music. Bruno Mars joins the cast in this sequel as the lady killing crooner, Roberto. His voice is unmistakable as were introduced to him moments before the rainforest erupts into head bopping song. I also enjoyed Chenoweth’s Gabi, who’s unrequited love for Nigel (Clement) is literally toxic. She’s a poisonous frog and he’s a bird. The musical number she performs was the highlight for me. None of the kids movies are bad, but Rio 2 was pretty forgettable.
It’s really too bad Maria didn’t get to see Rio because it was far superior to this generic sequel. In the original, Blu (Eisenberg) lives a nice cozy, domestic life with his owner Linda (Mann). A Brazilian scientist shows up claiming to have a female (Jewel voiced by Hathaway) of the same species as Blu, and as they’re believed to be the last of their kind, Blu and Linda head for Rio. They run into smugglers and an assortment of creatures, friendly and not so friendly. The romp through the jungle and eventually Carnivale, coupled with Blu learning to fly while falling in love with the reluctant Jewel, added up to a very enjoyable film. Rio 2 finds Blu and Jewel with a family of their own heading into the jungle when it appears that more blue macaws have been located. What transpires from there is quite predictable. City birds in the country, long lost relatives, bad guys trying to destroy their habitat, Blu screwing up then saving the day. Like Maria said, “forgettable”, not horrible, just incredibly mediocre. The music was absolutely the best part of Rio 2, they let newcomer Bruno Mars strut his stuff plenty and thank goodness for that. After seeing Frozen, Despicable Me 2 and The Lego Movie within the last six months or so, the bar has been set so high, it’s impossible not to leave the theater disappointed when you view something that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Ethan enjoyed it and I guess that’s really all that matters. But it’s just so much more fun when we all do. There have been so many awesome kids movies, some of which Ross just listed and it’s tough to compete with those instant classics. Especially when they have such original and clever storylines. Ross and I watch quite a number of shows and that market is saturated also. I found Rio 2 reminiscent of my usual sentiments towards DaVinci’s Demons on Starz. It’s just not as good as all of the other stuff (i.e. Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, and Deadwood – which HBO has resurrected).
A formulaic plot and not enough laughs did a disservice to a great voice cast. Rio 2 felt thrown together for a quick 3-D money grab. Again, not the worst movie ever made, but if your kids aren’t dying to see it, skip this one and don’t give it a second thought. It’ll be in the Redbox before you know it anyway.
Maria’s Rating: 2.25 Gummy Bears out of 5.
Ross’ Rating: 2.5 Gummies.