A favorite flock of feathered friends has returned to the big screen, via “Rio 2”, the colorful and exuberant follow up to “Rio”, the 2011 animated feature from the makers of “Ice Age”, and the result is a dazzling carnival of fun.
This time, it’s a jungle out there for Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway), and their three chicks, who leave their cozy home in Rio after learning that a flock of their rare species, the Spix’s Macaw, has been spotted in the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, a scenery chewing, villainous cockatoo (voiced with glee by Jemaine Clement), and Gabi, a tiny, pink, cute, but poisonous, dart frog (Tony® winner, Kristen Chenoweth), and meets the most fearsome adversary of all – his muy macho father-in-law (Oscar® nominee, Andy Garcia).
More of a musical than its predecessor, “2” features strong vocals from Grammy® winner, Bruno Mars, Oscar/Emmy/Tony-winner, Rita Moreno, Jamie Foxx & will.i.am, and particularly Chenoweth. “RIO 2” also features new Brazilian artists and original music by Janelle Monae and Wondaland.
Although “Rio 2” is an entertaining animated feature, it also offers positive messages about earth’s endangered species and the deforestation of the Amazon via a group of illegal loggers, who threaten Blu’s former owner, Linda (Leslie Mann), and her Brazilian ornithologist friend, Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro).
The Bottom Line: Although grown-ups won’t be quite as taken with “Rio 2” as the youngsters, the dazzling colors and score will keep the entire audience entertained. The film is worth catching in 3D, and offers a good opportunity for an Earth Day discussion of the loss of our precious resources including the destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest.
Rated G, Running time