Entire family: Yes
2014, 101 min., Color
20th Century Fox Animation
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Featured audio: DTS-HD MA 7.1
Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UV Digital Copy
Bonus features: B+
I won’t beat around the rainforest. If your family enjoyed Rio, they’ll appreciate this sequel, which brings back all of the original voice talents and offers the same sort of smorgasbord of songs, richly textured animation, and a serviceable plot that combines humor with mild peril. Even when that plot hits an occasional speed bump, the animation is so darned captivating that you don’t really notice.
If Rio showed that 20th Century Fox Animation had finally moved into Disney’s neighborhood, with Rio 2 they’ve taken off their shoes and propped their feet up on the coffee table. This talented bunch is clearly comfortable with what they’re doing, and they strut their stuff at every opportunity, showcasing things like complicated big-cast song-and-dance sequences and the hyper-realistic water and fireworks that used to be the sole province of Disney animators. And the writing, while not on a par with the best of Disney, is certainly good enough to match second-tier Disney efforts.
Other things Fox apparently learned from Disney animators are the importance of character personalities and the impact that small details and quirky comedic moments can have on a film. Rio 2 is loaded with little surprises that catch you off-guard and make you smile or laugh out loud. What’s interesting is that it’s often not the same sight gag or verbal gibe that tickles everyone’s fancy. I watched this with three family members, and it seemed as if each of us blurted out an expression of delight at least once when the rest of the room was silent.
A feast for the senses, Rio 2 picks up where Rio left off. You don’t have to know the whole backstory because there are hints embedded in the narrative. But it certainly helps—especially to appreciate the evil cockatoo Nigel’s current predicament. In Rio, Linda (Leslie Mann) had brought her blue macaw Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) to Rio to mate him with Jewel (Anne Hathaway), after she learned from ornithologist Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) that those two are the last of their species. By film’s end, she had married Tulio and set up a blue macaw sanctuary. In Rio 2 their love-birds have three spirited offspring—Carla, Bia, and Tiago—and on an expedition to release a rehabilitated bird, Tulio and Linda glimpse another rare blue macaw. So the whole group sets off on an expedition deep into the Amazon to discover if there are more. More