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Review: Rio 2

Three years after the highly successful Rio writer/director Carlos Saldanha is back with his sequel, Rio 2 following the remaining family of the near extinct Blue Macaw. Having only heard good things about the original movie which lead me to a small level of excitement for the sequel. However, after watching Rio 2 excitement was not what I found myself feeling. The poorly attempted sequel makes me question if the original was as good as I’ve been lead to believe.

Rio 2 opens with Jewel (Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), and their family, as they live in the beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When it is discovered that there may be more Blue Macaw’s hiding within the depths of the Amazon Jungle Jewel, Blu, and friends travel to find their long last family. Once they arrive into the Amazon they are forced with multiple challenges.

The first of the challenges is Nigel (Jemaine Clement) who intends to seek vengeance on Blu for transgressions from the first film, as we see in a very quick flash black. This story like all the other stories is interwoven into the rest of the film never allowing the viewer to sink their teeth into any story. Additionally, there is the Big Boss (Miguel Ferrer) whose logging of the Amazon would put all of the Blue Macaw’s and the other animal’s homes in danger. The other story that of Blu’s efforts to be welcomed by Jewel’s father, Eduardo (Andy Garcia), who feel’s that Blu constantly falls short of the expectations he has set for acceptance into his family. The final subplot about the talent show that Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Pedro (will.i.am) were putting on was one of the weakest, most unneeded stories in this movie.

With these four interweaving, unconnected stories constantly changing throughout the movie it is hard to develop any relationship with the characters let alone be able to consistently follow a story. This is most definitely the fault of having four separate, credited screenwriters work on the project. Rio 2 feels as though it was meant to be two separate films that were not strong enough on their own merits so they mashed everyone’s ideas together to create one mess of storytelling.

The only thing that Rio 2 does well is its use of beautiful animation and design. The colour palette in the film is absolutely breathtaking as there are clear distinctions between every main character even if they are part of the same flock. This close attention to detail saves the movie from being a complete and utter disaster. Despite the story lacking significantly viewers will be entranced by the beautiful imagery which makes the 100 odd minutes move at a slightly faster pace.

For a movie with numerous musical moments, the songs are instantly forgettable but the beautiful scenery, and star-studded voice cast make up for the lack of entertainment value within the film. It is not the strongest animated feature released this year, but it is surely not the worst either. Rio 2 however is unfortunately a close second.

[star v=25]