When the first Rio hit theatres in 2011, I was of course at the theatre waiting to watch. If you follow the Filles regularly, you know there are few things I love more than an adult-friendly kid movie. But, as I mentioned in my recent review of How to Train Your Dragon 2, it’s really hard to follow up with a sequel and make it just as good as the first. I’ll start by saying I liked Rio 2. It was cute. It wasn’t ah-mazing, but it was cute. It included some of the same adult-friendly humour, but not as much as I remember being in its predecessor (though, to be fair, I haven’t seen the original since it came out on DVD).
Now, I don’t have kids, though I imagine this flick would fare very well with the younger viewers. It’s got most of the criteria for an entertaining kiddie flick: animals acting as humans, a silly over-the-top protagonist that everything wrong happens to, a fair share of musical numbers, a funny, if sometimes ridiculous side-story and quirky supporting characters to bring on the comedic relief when needed–plus that little bit of drama and suspense. In addition to that, it wouldn’t be a kiddie movie without showing the little ones a bit of something about what’s happening in the world–ya know, like in Wall-E, although it hasn’t been done as successfully since, in my opinion.
In this particular sequel, we find Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) still with Jewel (voiced by the ever-annoying Anne Hathaway), with three little macaws. When Linda, Blu’s human “companion” and Tulio get themselves into a bit of trouble in the Amazon by running into some loggers, Blu and his family fly off to save them. When they reach the Amazon, they run into Jewel’s father and the rest of her family (who have a strict no-human policy), and Blu realizes he’s more domesticated than he’s let himself believe. Turns out the loggers that Linda and Tulio ran into are trying to destroy all of the Brazil nut trees in the forest, which, in turn, would destroy the entire habitat of macaws that we all thought were extinct.
All things aside, this movie had a serious cast in addition to the main characters: Kristin Chenoweth, Jemaine Clement, Bruno Mars, Rachel Crowe, Jamie Foxx, Will.I.Am, Tracy Morgan, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Leslie Mann and Janelle Monae, just to name a few.
As I said, the movie was cute, and if I were the target audience I would have enjoyed it a little more, but sadly, for this kid movie snob (I just realized I can be a little harsh on these flicks), it didn’t dazzle me–even with the gorgeous colourful visuals. Oh, to go to back to the good old days when all you needed was a good musical number to be happy. Sigh.