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Review - Rio 2

Birds in 'Rio 2'....
Birds in 'Rio 2'....
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Animation

Rio 2 is pretty, boring and yes, pretty boring. A sequel to the lackluster 2011 animated hit Rio, this second outing takes all the characters you tolerated the first time, adds a heap of new ones and manages to lose the smallest of charms it eked out before. It’s a total failure.

The movie begins not long after its predecessor ended. Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), the extremely rare male macaw, is living with the love of his life Jewel (Anne Hathaway), an equally rare female macaw. Blu is still getting accustomed to life in the wild, having grown up far outside his would-be-native Brazil in rural Minnesota. Now with three kids, Blu and Jewel butt heads over parenting issues, with mama bird thinking the little ones needs to know how to do things like open nuts. The opportunity rears its head when a whole flock of their kind is found off in the Amazon.

So, the family heads out on a trip, away from televisions and iPods. Once there, it’s revealed that not only are there a plethora of macaws, but that Jewel’s thought-to-be dead father Eduardo (Andy Garcia) is still alive and flapping.

Then Rio 2 turns into a bad recipe of Meet the Parents and Avatar. Eduardo doesn’t think Blu is man/bird enough, all while a mustached villain, complete with lollipop and monkey, plots to secretly chop down chunks of the rainforest, endangered species be damned.

Oh it’s tedious and then some. Rio 2 is certainly a looker, with lush rainbows of colors on a variety of its creatures. The designs of all the turtles, frogs and parrots are very, well, turtle-y, frog-y and parrot-y. If there are no zoos within driving distance, Rio 2 could be worthwhile for children, saying you’re television is terrible.

For quality movie-making, it’s best to avoid this picture. As has been standard for director Carlos Saldhana, the man behind multiple Ice Age sequels and the first Rio, the film is bloated with one-note characters, annoying notes at that. Add in a narrative that goes exactly where one would expect and a pseudo American Idol parody plot, few moments of Rio 2 resonate. Even the fun, maniacal and theatrical villain Nigel from the previous feature annoys here, bringing none of the inspired, oddball charm that made him worth a laugh before. Here he plots Blu’s demise through tedious monologues that tirelessly add another scene to an already overflowing tale.

The Meet the Parents-esque part of the movie is especially troubling. It turns the Jewel character into a naïve one, unable to recognize her fella’s problems and seemingly uncaring for large chunks. We get dangerously close to the Hollywood nagging-wife for a kid’s film

Rio 2 opens wide all across Seattle tomorrow.

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