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  • Rio 2
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on August 2, 2014
At 80-plus, I'm probably the world's oldest and most ardent fan of Blu and Jewel and their stories in "Rio" and "Rio 2." I'm ashamed to confess how many times I've watched and re-watched their adventures unfold. The delightful characters, avian and human, teach us important lessons about conservation while keeping us laughing every step of the way.
I love the way Jesse Eisenberg develops the vulnerable and impressionable Blu as he travels from his cage in Minnesota to the Brazilian jungle. Anne Hathaway, for her part, achieves perfection as she interprets Jewel's self-assured mastery of nature and ultimately reveals a tender spot for Blu. Their lines are funny, clever, and wise.
All the characters are great, the music is awesome, and some of the scenes of Brazil, especially Rio, capture the beauty of this land in "4"-D, better in ways than photography could.
In Rio 2, we find Blu and Jewel now happily married with three children. This sequel is less about personal transformation and more about saving the rainforest. Still, most of the same characters come back to delight us. The lines and the acting are equally excellent and the entertainment value is just as high.
These two films are favorites in my book, definitely recommended for all ages!
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What can I say? This colorful, tuneful, G-rated romp made the children in Saturday morning's screening audience happy; what more do we want? I enjoyed watching a flock of endangered blue macaws do "The Wave" to show their applause during a soccer match and their appreciation for a musical number. Their aerial ballet had echoes of both Esther Williams and Busby Berkeley: You know, those dazzling kaleidoscopic effects.

Our hero, Blu, lives with his lovely mate Jewel and their three offspring in Rio de Janeiro. She would like to visit her old jungle haunts and maybe reconnect with her family; on the other hand, he is city born and bred but adores her, so agrees to a little vacation trip ("A happy wife is a happy life"). Their adventure begins.

We follow:
* Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) raised to be a "Companion" for environmentalist Linda, he has now mastered flight but finds he must contend with Jewel's macho father out in the wild. His fanny pack contains a GPS unit ("Recalculating...") and an electric toothbrush.
* Jewel (Anne Hathaway) adores her little family but is concerned for The Flock as deforestation encroaches on their territory.
* Linda (Leslie Mann) is as sweetly earnest as ever, this environmentalist is now very concerned about the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest.
* Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) is her clumsy ornithologist who goes on treks with her because he is still looking for a (possibly extinct) flock of blue macaws.
* Roberto (Bruno Mars) seems to be a contender for Jewel's affections.
* Big Boss (Miguel Ferrer) runs that evil logging operation with massive bulldozers, earth movers and tree-cutting equipment.
* Nico (Jamie Foxx) provides the vocals for "Crazy Love."
* Aunt Mimi (Rita Moreno) provides a bit of comic relief that the parents will appreciate.
* Nigel (Jemaine Clement) is a down-on-his luck fellow forced to work as a fortune teller's assistant in a street show. He wears a Pagliacci-type costume to cover the bald spot from his male pattern feather loss.
* Gabi (Kristen Chenoweth) is a poisonous dart tree frog who sings everything from showtunes to opera. She is desperately in love with Nigel.

The villain this time would be the logging companies that are stripping the trees from the Amazon jungle. The movie makes it very clear that even though the birds have some natural enemies, their worst long-term problem is loss of habitat.

The most impressive things to me, are the editing and the artwork: The editing is to the beat of a Samba-flavored soundtrack; the artwork includes a bird's-eye view of Rio's favelas (shantytowns) which cling to the mountain sides. BTW, Sergio Mendez is the music producer working with Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha ("Ice Age" and "Rio").
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on April 11, 2014
Animated sequels often suffer from the same amount of scrutiny and criticism as the rest of big Hollywood sequels. It can easily become a daunting task to not only create a successful animated film (which is no guarantee these days), but to also make the sequel as entertaining as the original. Recent and extremely lackluster sequels, such as Cars 2, Shrek the Third, and basically any of the Ice Age sequels have all proved that animated sequels desire a great deal more attention than they are typically given. Still, that’s not to say all animated sequels are sub-par, especially when additions like Toy Story 2, Monsters University, and Despicable Me 2 each managed to find success in the shadow of terrific first outings. But, let’s be honest here – Rio was an average animated feature, and it was certainly no Toy Story, meaning the fact that it was given a sequel screams that there’s currently a serious lack of originality from film studios.

Directed by Carlos Saldanha (Rio, Ice Age), Rio 2 once again stars the voice of Jesse Eisenberg as Blu, the accident-prone house bird from Minnesota. In the first film, Blu found the love of his life, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), and now they have a family of their own. They currently live in Rio with Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), who have made their way to the Amazon – and happen to stumble upon the possibility of a new flock of Spix Macaws (they are supposedly nearly extinct). Blu and Jewel witness the discovery on the news and the family heads to the Amazon to help with the search.

After arriving in the Amazon, Blu and the family, accompanied by Rafael the Toucan (George Lopez), Pedro the Cardinal (, and Nico the Yellow Canary (Jamie Foxx), quickly discovers that Jewel’s father, Eduardo (Andy Garcia), is alive and well. He is the leader of a massive tribe of Spix Macaws, which includes one of Jewels’ childhood friends, Roberto (Bruno Mars) – both of whom find Blu’s domesticated habits to be problematic. And, at the same time, Nigel (Jermaine Clement), the vengeful Cockatoo, and his cohorts, which includes a poisonous frog, Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth), follow Blu to the Amazon with the intent to put an end to him.

For an animated sequel, there is a whole lot going on over the course of the film – yet the strangest thing about all of it is the fact that little of the plot-based elements ever fully establishes the sequel with a clear-cut purpose. One minute this story is about whether or not more Spix Macaws exist, then there’s an abrupt and needless love triangle, followed by the close-minded father dictating all the infallible survival rules of the rain forest. Plus, you have the villain from the previous film, Nigel, seeking revenge, not to mention humans knocking down trees and attempting to kill the Amazon’s inhabitants. On top of all of that, there’s supporting cast members conducting talent show interviews, a flock of rival birds creating a turf war, and Linda and Tulio wondering about with a video recorder documenting the couple’s ridiculous adventure. I don’t know about you, but do you think there are enough plotlines stuffed into a roughly 90-minute movie?

Regardless of the plot issues, the cast is by far the bright spot of the film. Jesse Eisenberg is a tremendous actor that channels Blu’s scatter-brained, awkward demeanor perfectly. Eisenberg simply amplifies every role that he’s involved in, and at no point will viewers be disappointed by his acting or voice work (a notion that should be imbedded into the minds of anyone that believes he won’t make an excellent Lex Luthor in the Man of Steel sequel). He also has wonderful chemistry with the absurdly talented Anne Hathaway, who portrays animated bride. Her role appears to be slightly reduced from the first film, which is no surprise with the massive amount of characters incorporated into this sequel. Never the less, Hathaway has a marvelous voice (and if you haven’t fully heard it, you should check out Les Misérables), but it would have been nice had she been given more of a substantial singing role.

Speaking of singing, Kristin Chenoweth steals the show as a love-struck, poisonous frog. She is given not only a charming character, but the major singing role, too. Again, if you haven’t heard her voice in the past, you should make an attempt to purchase one of her outstanding studio albums. Over the course of the film, her character pines for the villainous Nigel, thus creating several of the film’s most humorous moments. The downsize to Chenoweth’s role is that the rest of the supporting cast suffers, especially Tracy Morgan as the slobbering dog, Luiz – who is only in the film’s opening moments. Oddly enough, Morgan’s witty distinctiveness was one of the bright spots of Rio, so his reduced (cameo) role comes as an unfortunate disappointment.

Naturally, a movie titled Rio should probably at least take place in Rio, yet that’s not the case here. The sentiment of the location is fully intact, but like Madagascar, the plot takes the characters to a new, grander location. Naturally, this new direction broadens the landscape of the film’s universe, all while establishing new characters and so on and so forth. Still, if Rio 2 is ultimately a success (and it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t be), Rio 3 will likely need to create a reason for the characters to migrate back to Rio. Otherwise, Rio 3 could simply change its name to The Jungle Book (never mind, that’s already taken).

Overall, Rio 2 is another beautifully colorful animated feature. Still, it’s not an exceptional sequel, nor is it disappointing, either. The majority of the characters from the first film are back for more fun, albeit with reduced roles. Clearly, the plot of Rio is jumbled, but it’s hard to imagine the kids voicing any kind of complaint. Adults will be entertained, too, but you’ll notice a few oddities in the movie, including the art of “war” being the equivalent of a soccer match, and the blatant message that humans are a danger to the survival of the Amazon. The issue of protecting the rainforests (referred to as “tree hugging” in the movie) serves a vitally important role in the climax of the movie. Regardless of the thematic messages and the fact that the film’s plot is too clustered and overly ambitious, Rio 2 will is still recommended as a safe choice for a family outing.

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on May 6, 2014
Rio 2 is the best animated movie since frozen I love it children and families will enjoy this movie a lot.
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on September 10, 2014
I knew it...I knew it. Every time a good animation story is made the following sequel is bad. It happened with Despicable Me 2 and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. I hope it does not happen to the animation called, "Up." I love animation, and as far as Rio 2 is done well. What is missing is an interesting storyline. The birds are comfortable at Blu's owner's home in Brazil...acting like they own the place and the bird parents decide to take a trip to the jungle to allow the "kids" to experience more "nature." While they are there they go looking for more of their own kind....more blue birds. Well, that's about it. Brazilian-like songs take up the rest of the movie. Song, after song, after song. I think there should be a limit to how many "bad" songs we have to endure in a cartoon. In Rio 1 the animators and director gave the birds and other animals human characteristics, but basically kept them true to their nature. In Rio 2, the birds develop genius-like abilities, and are way smarter than the humans. In fact they are so intelligent they have the ability to save an entire endangered species. Don't humans have difficulty doing that? The ending is the worst part of the movie. Remember the animation movie, "Avatar?" The ending is a blatant rip-off of James Cameron's movie, "Avatar." Anyhow, young kids will like the "silly," action scenes in the movie, but since there is not enough story to fill 101 minutes...anyone over 7 years of age...might get bored.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 20, 2014
It isn't often that a sequel can live up to the original, but Rio 2 manages to pull it off. In this movie, Blue and Jewel take a family trip to the Amazon where they are reunited with Jewel's father who they believed was killed in a forest fire. They also discover they aren't the last of their species as they had feared. There is a whole flock living deep in the Amazon, but the threat of deforestation makes their extinction a real possibility. Blue is anxious to get home, especially since Jewel's father gives him a hard time about being a pet, but Jewel is drawn to the wild that was originally her home. The two of them have to decide what's best their family--stay in the wild or return to their owners and the safety of their home in Rio.

Rio 2 is an adorable movie with tons of great songs and fun characters. My kids enjoyed the rivalry with the red macaws and the soccer game that ensued. It was also fun to see Nigel return along with his love-struck frog sidekick. There was plenty of action and lots of bright colors. My family enjoyed this movie just as much as the original and my kids were thrilled that there favorite birds were back in flight.
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on April 19, 2014
This is another song filled film that my grand niece loved. Rumors that a flock of Blues might live deep in the Amazon causes Blue, Jewel, the three kids, and the usual suspects to venture there. If they can find the endangered species, they can save the rain forest from the evil logging company.

Jewel unites with family and an old friend that causes some jealous feelings in Blue who was a 'pet" for the humans. The film climaxes to an ending that was inspired by Hitchcock. Good fun for the whole family, especially preteen girls.

Doesn't quite measure up to the first film, but still a worthy sequel.
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on January 3, 2015
Fun family viewing and no Blue Macaws were injured during the making of this film. :-) Good theme for children as Blue again discovers his wild side, extended family support and even capability of living independent. Fun songs and the bad guys get their due.
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on August 30, 2015
This is one of the few occasions when the sequel is better than the first movie (way better to my opinion!). This is a real colorful, intense story, full with songs composed by Sergio Mendes and other Brazilian musicians such as the Barbatuques, Uakti and Carlinhos Brown. I found this movie really authentic; it really depicts the spirit of Brasil (written with "S" on purpose), their people and festivities.
I was at Rio de Janeiro on New Year's Eve years ago and it is really like the movie shows it. I have a 2 1/2 year toddler and she could not stop dancing and moving through the whole movie (well she's half Veracruzana; she had to know how to dance!)

If thinking about purchasing this movie, I would recommend going for the Blu-ray option. It is multilingual (you can watch it in Brazilian Portuguese) and also it has a very interesting extra material about the soundtrack. In my youth I had a girlfriend that was a violinist and all her family were musicians (her father was a famous folk musician of "sones Jarochos", playing harp, "requintos" and "jaranas") and this is the kind of environment that they had in their house. I really enjoy watching the way Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown collaborated to create the soundtrack; also, while watching how the Barbatuques created music without musical instruments, my toddler got interested and we started making our own sounds, it is great!!!!

Some people, to my surprise, complaint about the movie having "too many songs"... I found that crazy. Would you complaint about the "Sound of Music" having too much singing? What about "Mary Poppins" having too many dancing scenes? This is a movie ABOUT BRASIL and the Amazonian tropical forest!!!!!! How can you expect leaving music and dancing out of it?!

So far Rio 2 is one of my toddler's favorite movies, just behind Frozen, The Croods, and The Penguins of Madagascar. So, now you know our tastes and you can make an informed decision. Go for it! You won't regret it!
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on May 2, 2015
Perhaps I'm a little old to be watching animated movies but at 72, I still enjoy them, so...

In this one, Linda and Julio, the humans of the story, discover a flock of rare blue macaws in the Amazon. Once they release this fact to the public, the rainforest in which they live will be protected. This news prompts Blu and Jewel and their three little birds to take a trip there, or rather, Jewel does, in order to see others like herself and her family, proving they aren't the only blue macaws in the world. The youngsters, fired by her enthusiasm echoed her plans and soon the five are ion their way, accompanied by their friends who tag along uninvited. There's also the villain from the original movie, Nigel, still intention revenge against Blue. So, he escape and stalks Blu and family, dragging along his anteater cohort and a poisonous little tree frog who's in love with himNigel.

Nigel isn't the real villain of this piece, however, as Linda and Julio, have discovered someone destroying the rainforest. Blu finds animosity in the leader of the blue macaws who happens to be Jewel's father, and a rival in Roberto, her childhood playmate. It's up to Blu to get into his father-n-law's good graces, and help Linda and Julio save the rainforest. There are plenty of comical moments as the domestic-born Blu tries to adjust to wild living and fails miserably as his shortcomings are pointed out by Big Boss who has a blind spot for anything associated with humans, and is supported by the handsome Roberto who eventually shows a severe weakness of his own. In fact, the only time Blu succeeds momentarily is during a soccer game between rival bird flocks.

There are some good songs, especially Nigel's "I Will Survive," and the usual antics of Blu's friends. The animation is first-rate, and the animated scenery is almost as breath-taking as the real thing. There are quite a few laugh out loud moments.
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