Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review: Rio 2

Release date: April 11, 2014
Running time: 101 minutes
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jemaine Clement, Kristin Chenoweth, Bruno Mars
Who to see it with: Someone looking for an Amazon adventure


Rio 2 is the sequel to the surprisingly good original film from Blue Sky Studios (part of 20th Century Fox). The movie sees Blu and Jewel now living comfortably in Rio de Janeiro with their three kids. Blu, since he was raised by humans, is comfortable with the city life and the amenities that it offers, but Jewel prefers her kids grow up in the forest, like she did. Conveniently, a pair of exploring ornithologists discover a hidden nest of blue macaws deep in the rain forest, prompting Jewel to convince the family to travel back and see their roots. 

Starting with the animation, it's absolutely gorgeous. The credits listed separate feather and fur teams, and it shows. The birds look amazing and there are some really intricate details that pop out of all the characters. Additionally, the scenes in the jungles are wonderfully lush, with dense forests and beautiful flowers. The voice acting is good, with a very famous cast including some interesting new comers like Bruno Mars, will.i.am, and Kristin Chenoweth. I especially liked Chenoweth's character and identified her immediately. The voices are recognizable without being distracting, although I didn't love Eisenberg's Blu. He does a good job, but I just didn't like the overall character. 

The story starts off as an adventure, but that journey is only part of it (although, there is a very beautiful animation effect that happens during the travel, which I enjoyed a lot). The whole story is a little far fetched, even for a kids movie, but it does the job. Once they get to the forest, you meet the bulk of the new characters and many of the main dilemmas. Like many kids films, the plot turns pretty quickly at one point and wraps up with a far too convenient ending. But, the film does have some good overall lessons about family and knowing your roots. Overall, Rio 2 is a beautiful, fun kids movie that you'll enjoy, but won't really stick with you after you leave the theater.

Rent it.

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