<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Carlos Saldanha. Starring the voice talent of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, will.i.am, Jamie Fox, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement, Rodrigo Santoro, Leslie Mann, Jake T Austin, Rita Moreno, Andy Garcia
Way too many characters and sub plots make Rio 2 a bit tedious but some engaging characters, slapstick humour and Broadway-style songs make it a fun enough watch.
Rio was a different sort of animated film not unlike Despicable Me was. It wasn’t the usual Pixar/Disney animation formula. And it had several interesting characters. Rio 2 seems a bit forced with not enough time devoted to the environmental message and too much time given to a ‘meet the family’ type situation.
Blu (Eisenberg) and his wife Jewel (Anne Hathaway) have been leading the good life with their three kids in the comfort of human surroundings and their human friends Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro). But Jewel things it’s time to shake things up and get back to… well nature. News of more blue macaws in the Amazon forest gives them the push they need to fly off and find their roots. Blu and his fanny pack filled with tic-tacs and a GPS don’t really fit in. But Jewel is happy with her long-lost father Eduardo (Andy Garcia) and childhood ‘friend’ Roberto (Bruno Mars).
Meanwhile, two dastardly plots are at work:
1. A money-grubbing, lollipop-sucking man called Big Boss is cutting down trees in the Amazon threatening the habitat of the macaws and other species.
2. Old arch nemesis of Blu’s, Nigel the cockatoo (Jemaine Clement) is back with some cronies to get revenge on Blu for clipping his wings.
Through these plots the gang are exploring the Amazon, finding their footing, auditioning various forest folk for Carnivale while Linda and Tulio stumble about hugging trees!
The evil Nigel and his sidekick Gabi the ‘poisonous’ frog (Kristen Chenoweth) provides most of the entertaining moments in the film. Their dream sequence song ala Phantom of the Opera or some other Andrew Lloyd Webber performance is the highlight. Gabi’s secret but forbidden love for Nigel forms the most interesting part of Rio 2. You could easily care less about Blu and Jewel and find yourself wanting a whole film dedicated to Nigel and Gabi.
Director Carlos Saldanha doesn’t quite know what to focus on in the film and neither do you. Having two challenges: Nigel and Big Boss and then having Blu who doesn’t really overcome either with any particular difficulty or interest value for the viewer seems a bit sad.
Rio 2 is still a cute, visually and musically delightful film that’ll have you chuckling here and there but it doesn’t have the solidity that Rio had. But hopefully the kids will get the message and ask daddy and mommy to do their bit for the environment. Every little bit helps.