Rio 2: Movie Review

"Rio 2" takes off where the original left off. With most of the cast reprising their roles and bringing in their wit and charm once more, the sequel is a guarantee to be a stupendously fun and funny from start to finish. Unfortunately, the sequel awkwardly stumbles with a narrative that had too much material to contend with especially for a film designed to be watched by younger audiences. "Rio 2" turns out to be a slight mixed bag as elements that do work, like the colorful and amazing song and dance numbers, work jaw-droppingly well but for those that don't, they are noticeable and at times, slow.

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their three kids leave their domesticated life in the city of Rio de Janeiro for a journey to the Amazon rainforest where their owners Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) are doing an expedition and seemingly found a hidden tribe of Spix's Macaws. On their way there, they are witnessed old nemesis Nigel (Jermaine Celement) who decides to seek revenge on the macaws. Upon arriving the Amazon, the family comes across Jewel's long-lost father, Eduardo (Andy Garcia), who is in hiding with his macaw tribe. As Blu has trouble fitting in, Nigel infiltrates the tribe, and illegal loggers kidnap Linda and Tulio on their way to reach the macaws' hideout.

"Rio 2" will definitely familiar to those who got to watch the first film. Most if not all of the major characters from "Rio" are returning in this sequel and with their return, we also get back the memorable comedy and chemistry that marked the first outing. This makes "Rio 2" seriously funny from start to finish and even better, the new characters are as interesting as the old ones (the stand out would be Gabi played by Kristin Chenoweth . Additionally, "Rio 2" is a beautiful film. The bright hue of its colors and the song and dance numbers really show how well-thought out the visuals of this sequel. Sadly, the plot falters with a predictable plot and a convoluted one at that. With a running time of around 100 minutes, the film has to contend with several story lines that vary from essential to clearly filler material like the "football" game between the birds and audition-type sequences for Rio Carnival. This also means that there's an imbalance between talking and visual-based sequences. For younger-themed film, this film became too chatty at times and we wished that the plot be more simple and filled with all the fun stuff like singing and dancing. Overall, "Rio 2" may not bring in the same magic as the first but it does well to warrant a watch for fans.

Rating: 3 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- beautiful and colorful visuals and dance numbers punctuate the beauty of the Amazon
- the memorable comedy of the first film is successfully transferred to the sequel

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the plot is convoluted with unnecessary side stories

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