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‘Rio 2’ Film Review: Perfectly fine, perfectly forgettable

“Rio 2” is a delightfully bright and breezy bit of computer-generated entertainment.

As an acceptable family fare, this sequel maintains that blockbuster flavor that is expected of such an animated flick. It mostly hits the sweet spot when it comes to eye-popping visuals and feisty song-and-dance sequences. However, its predictable narrative plays too safe that it simply crafts nothing more than a fine commercial blend of heart-warming and toe-tapping moments for its target demographic.

For this second installment in the “Rio” canon, the story brings the city residents Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway), and their three kids to the Amazon wild. This leads Jewel to unexpectedly reunite with her long-lost macaw clan. However, being a domesticated bird, Blu finds it hard to fit in, unlike the rest of his family. In no time, his father-in-law turns into his most fearsome adversary. On the side, the now-disabled Nigel makes an alliance with two misfits to finally get his revenge against Blu and his family. Meanwhile, the possibility of soon discovering more macaws in the Amazon jungle piques the curiosity of humans. This brings the clan and the rest of the wild animals around to an inevitable battle to protect their self-sustaining habitat against a greedy capitalist.

This follow-up feature directed by Carlos Saldanha has that same mix of colorfully frantic action and sight gags as its predecessor. Predictable as it is, it remains sporadically funny. It promotes a good-natured adventure that is always filled with its own dose of carnival gimmicks and Brazilian spirit.

This amiable piece of animation’s colorful rendition of the Amazon’s avian communities, as well as its swooping song-and-dance treats, ultimately makes it fly. Lifted by such visual splendor, its mainstream flair makes it a passable material for its willing audience. From start to end, the shots showcase vibrant settings in intricately eye-catching detail. Everything pops with the pretty tropical colors. Exuberant musical performances appear every once in a while. Even with generic characterizations, the catchy musical numbers help keep that much-needed momentum throughout.

With too many issues to deal with and too many characters to attend to, this computer-animated tale’s frantic pace becomes a bit exhausting at times — as the many busy elements on screen tend to meander aimlessly around its familiar pastiche of sitcom problems. The manufactured feel of its environmental lectures squeezes in a lot more derivatives for an even busier, overly demonstrative, and overstuffed narrative template. In any case, there are still ample audio-visual distractions from its patchy plot courtesy of the animation’s finely choreographed aesthetics.

Although lacking narrative merit with its carelessly throwing together of bits and pieces of feathered scenes, its stellar cast of returning faces, alongside a few new equally working recruits, helps make this movie a passable piece of entertainment.

Overall, it is unlikely to prove any more memorable than its predecessor, considering its mostly half-witted ideas and half-cocked jokes are merely distributed here and there. Yet, when a character sings or dances, the film becomes pretty watchable. It is the type of cinematic offering that is perfectly fine, yet perfectly forgettable.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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