Movie review

New voices join the flock in 'Rio 2'


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Blue macaw Jewel (voice of Anne Hathaway) might believe that life begins at the end of your comfort zone but her mate, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), is very happy inside his.

After all, the father of three reasons, "We are the last blue macaws left on the planet. We have to stay safe."

In "Rio 2," Jewel thinks their domesticated life in Rio has gone too far, though, with iPods, television and pancakes for breakfast. "We're not people, we're birds."

'Rio 2'

Starring:Voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars.

Rating: G.


When it turns out they may not be the last of their kind and that more may reside in the Amazon, they take off with Blu leading and misleading the way thanks to his GPS device and the other essentials in his fanny pack. Yes, it's as emasculating on a bird as a human.

Once in the Brazilian wilderness, Jewel reunites with her forceful father (a full-throated Andy Garcia) and a childhood friend, Roberto (Bruno Mars), who seems to do everything better than Blu.

Although Blu lives by the adage "Happy wife, happy life," he wants to return to Rio and Jewel would like to stay in the jungle, even as danger lurks in all directions.

A cockatoo (Jemaine Clement) who blames Blu for his misfortune is on his trail, illegal loggers are trying to hurt Blu's human scientist pals, and the other birds who share the forest are none too happy when the visitor mistakenly poaches a Brazilian nut from their half of the grove.

Blu acknowledges he might not be the "birdiest bird in the flock" but he knows humans, who pose the fiercest threat of all in this sequel to the 2011 worldwide hit.

"Rio 2," also featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx, Leslie Mann, Kristin Chenoweth, Rodrigo Santoro, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, will.i.am and many others, has way, way too much going on, with subplots about a talent search, a poisonous frog who improbably adores the overly dramatic cockatoo Nigel, a soccer style bird battle and the loggers with their chain saws.

The animation is bright and bold -- even the 3-D glasses couldn't dim the images -- with fireworks, pink flowers dripping from trees in the jungle, orchids sprouting from the ground and boats chugging through gentle water or pitching over churning falls. A celebratory aerial dance is a standout.

The music includes Mars' Roberto serenading Jewel with "Welcome Back," Mr. Clement and Ms. Chenoweth putting their stamp on Gloria Gaynor's signature "I Will Survive," Janelle Monae's rhythmic "What Is Love," and "Beautiful Creatures" performed by Mr. Garcia, Rita Moreno and the body percussionists Barbatuques.

"Rio 2," with a running time of 101 minutes, never pauses long enough for children to get bored, and that is its blessing and its curse as it often seems frantic, fearful that some kid in the back row will start squirming. But it scores a G rating, a rarity these days.

 


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.

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