Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Movie Reviews: Rio 2

By Perry S. Chen, Amazing Movie Reviews Columnist

 

Rio 2 is a vibrant musical comedy animation from Blue Sky, and a sequel of the first Rio. The story revolves around Blu and Jewel, the last two surviving Blue Sphinx Macaws left in the world, and their 3 rowdy children. The two are polar opposites: Blu is a quiet, apprehensive pet who knows how to cook pancakes and use a computer; while Jewel is wild, audacious, thrill-seeking bird, born and raised in the wild tropical rainforest.

The film begins with an unoriginal, stereotypical scene of the two parents arguing about how to raise the kids. The adventure and excitement of the story begins when Jewel and Blu’s guardians, the ornithologist Tulio and his wife Linda (Blu’s owner) supposedly find a flock of wild blue macaws, thousands of miles from civilization in the dense rainforest. Jewel is overjoyed at the prospect of not being alone, and immediately plans on a trip to the Amazon. Blu feels the exact opposite: he has a terrible fear of the jungle, fueled by the ideas of creatures such as terrifying tarantulas or hungry snakes. In the end, Jewel forces Blu to come along, but Blu is inseparable with manufactured objects such as iPod and GPS, which he keeps in a fanny-pack. It turns out, the flock exists, and Jewel’s long lost father is the chief! The discovery of the flock changes everything, and the couple begin to drift apart due to their differing ideals.

Bringing back an old foe to Rio 2, Nigel, the wicked cockatoo from Rio is back for revenge after his failed attempt to kill Blu cost him his ability to fly. Nigel is accompanied by the poisonous frog Gabi, and Charlie the scatter-brained ant-eater, on his quest for vengeance. The second antagonist is the Brazilian owner of a huge illegal logging business, who won’t hesitate to chop up the occasional passing tree-huggers.

This film has occasional dazzling visual effects and impressive individual character designs. I can appreciate all the hard work done in animation to animate the feathers, a tedious, difficult medium to animate. I also appreciate its message of conservation and protecting the rainforest. However, other than these points, I didn’t enjoy the other parts of the movie. I dislike when the filmmakers put low-quality pop music when it wasn’t necessary, but they put it in anyway. I also dislike the villains’ lack of personalities. Nigel the cockatoo recycled the same mundane tirade on how he would kill Blu over and over again and his personality was so bland it was sickening. The owner of the logging company had no distinct character traits whatsoever; his character is only defined by his pure evilness and his liking for lollipops. Even his pet monkey has more of a personality than him!

I notice in many of the scenes, the dialogue is poorly written for such circumstances. For example, when Jewel reunited with her father after both believed the other to be dead, their conversation during their “tearful” reunion was completely bland and devoid of emotion. Their dialogue consisted of: “Oh, how is this possible…oh there was a fire and… I had you under my wing but you fell…” Blah, blah, blah. The point is, their interaction is painful to watch, as it does not seem like they truly feel real emotion or joy at their reunion.

I give Rio 2 two and a half starfish, it is entertaining but the storyline has little originality unlike the first Rio. Its visual effects and character designs are its only redeeming qualities.

 

Copyright 2014 by Perry S. Chen


 

Bio

Perry Chen is a 14-year-old award-winning film & entertainment critic, artist, and animator. He is the resident film critic for Amazing Kids and also writes for Animation World Network, and other media outlets. He has been featured on CBS, NPR, Variety, Animation Magazine, DiningOut Magazine, The Young Icons TV show, and more. His website: http://www.perryspreviews.com.