- Directed by Carlos Saldanha
- March 20, 2014 (International) / April 11, 2014 (US)
- Blu-Jesse Eisenberg
- Jewel-Anne Hathaway
- Nigel-Jemaine Clement
- Gabi-Kristin Chenoweth
- Rafael-George Lopez
- Roberto-Bruno Mars
- Linda-Leslie Mann
- Tulio-Rodrigo Santoro
- Aunt Mimi (Eduardo’s sister and Jewel’s aunt)-Rita Moreno
- Luiz-Tracy Morgan
- Fernando (Linda and Tulio’s adopted son)-Jake T. Austin
- Eduardo (Jewel’s father)-Andy Garcia
- Nico (close friend to Pedro)-Jamie Foxx
- Carla (Blu and Jewel’s music-loving daughter)-Rachel Crow
- Tiago (Blu and Jewel’s only son)-Pierce Gagnon
- Bia (Blu and Jewel’s middle child)-Amandla Stenberg
- Big Boss-Miguel Ferrer
- Dr. Monae-Janelle Monáe
- Eva-Bebel Gilberto
- Felipe-Philip Lawrence
Blu, Jewel, and their three kids travel from Rio de Janeiro to the Amazon when word of a possible flock of surviving Spix’s macaws reaches civilization where they encounter Jewel’s original flock.
As equals go Rio 2 isn’t too bad. As animated films go, Rio 2 isn’t too bad either. I wouldn’t call it great but it is entertaining. One thing they get right is they bring back the majority of the characters while managing to expand upon them. They are not in there just to pad things out or to remind you of the original. One thing they get wrong is move the action out of the titular city.
The music isn’t bad, but something is missing and that something is the backdrop of Rio. You say “Rio” and you think of party and dancing and music and great visuals. Taking that away is like a cinematic bait and switch.
The main villain of this film is a logger referred to as Big Boss who wishes to clear cut part of the Amazon where there is a Brazilian nut grove which is the Spix’s macaws food. But we also get the sub villain Nigel who was the main villain in the last film. His ability to fly was crippled and he seeks revenge. Here he is joined by a poison dart frog named Gabi and an anteater named Charlie. Gabi has an obsessive crush on Nigel and it’s kind of cute. It reminds me of those of an old-school cartoon.
With the addition of Big Boss there is a clear environmentalist tone. Rio 2 doesn’t beat you over the head with it but rather wraps it up in a fun story. When the credits roll, you’re going to say, “Wait a minute!” and you realize there is a message to all this.
Rio 2 serves to undo the accidentally bleak finale from the last film. Why was it bleak? Because last time they did not avoid letting the audience know (an audience that was probably predominantly children) that Blu and Jewel were the last two Spix’s macaws in the world and by default their children then were the last. You can’t do much breeding to save a species with closely related relatives. A family tree like a broom handle is a genetic dead end to put in bluntly.
You could also take the story as a little bit of getting back to your roots narrative. Blu is very domesticated and knows nothing about what his species is actually like. Jewel on the other hand is originally from the wild and while comfortable in civilization prefers the freedom of nature. She pushes Blu to get in touch with his inner wild Spix’s macaw.
Blu’s human friends, Linda and Tulio, get beefed up parts here. They are more important to the finale than they were the last time. You could also say that when it comes to Jewel’s father Eduardo the humans serve as the message that you shouldn’t judge a particular group based off of one bad experience.
The script is good enough and the dialogue is pretty snappy. The shortcoming is that it does not quite get to great. It only gets to good. Rio 2 is not boring, and it does not suck but it just misses firing on all cylinders. I go back to the moving of the action. The story should have been more in the city.
The animation is bright and bouncy and hasn’t aged poorly yet. Unfortunately this is CGI and it doesn’t quite have the staying power of hand drawn animation. I would have loved to see this hand drawn. It could have been so beautiful.
Rio 2 is a fun animated sequel to Rio. It’s bouncy and entertaining and has music that kids will love even if something is missing when it comes to it all. Be willing to sit with your kids and check it out!