Rio 2, English Hollywood Film Movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: *  *  *

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English film review
Johnson Thomas
Colorful revelry and Musical  Adventure

Film: Rio 2
Director: Carlos Saldanha

Rating:  *  *  *
Synopsis:Blu (voice of Jesse Eisenberg) and his family take flight for the Amazon after Jewel (voice of Anne Hathaway) decides their children should explore the world. Meanwhile, the overprotective father grows concerned that his family will leave him once they've experienced life in the wild. Tracy Morgan, Jamie Foxx,, George Lopez, and Leslie Mann reprise their roles in this sequel from director Carlos Saldanha and producers John C. Donkin and Bruce Anderson - the creative trio behind the original 2011 hit
Though titled Rio 2, This film is set more in The Amazon jungles than in Rio. It’s obviously a sequel to the 2011 hit animated film and has multiple sub-plots and adventures being mined for the entertainment.  Blu and family, on hearing about the possibility of rare Brazilian Blue macaws residing in the Amazon decide to embark on a journey of self discovery. And en route they encounter old enemies, make new friends, find lost family and do a bit of the Meet the Parents routine in a sort of family sitcom fusion. There’s plenty of color, flair, noise and energy on show here but unfortunately it doesn’t come together as one homogenous enjoyable whole. Nevertheless there’s fitful entertainment to be had.
 “Rio 2” plays more like a full-blown musical than its predecessor did. It’s soundtrack offers a vigorous fusion of hip-hop beats, samba riffs and Broadway-style showstoppers with composer John Powell, executive music producer Sergio Mendes and songwriter Carlinhos Brown doing the honors. The animation is much more bountiful with a spirit of revelry and a showy, carnival atmosphere pervading the entire run.

Blu ( Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel ( Anne Hathaway), the extremely rare blue macaws who were united at the end of the first film, now have three cute, spirited chicks (Rachel Crow, Pierce Gagnon and Amandla Stenberg) and are living more or less happily ever after. And Blu still exasperates the jungle-born Jewel with his reliance on man-made gadgets and amenities.
Part of Jewel longs for the family to return to nature, and she gets her wish when Blu’s former owner, Linda (Leslie Mann), and her wildlife-enthusiast husband, Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), discover evidence that the blue macaws may be not be quite so endangered a species as initially feared. Eager to reunite with others of their own kind, Jewel convinces Blu and the kids to embark with her on a 2,000-mile journey into the rainforest where the macaws were spotted, braving such dangers as boa constrictors, tarantulas and piranhas. Also along for the trip, naturally, are party-hearty toucan Rafael (George Lopez) and that rap-happy duo of cardinal Pedro ( and canary Nico (Jamie Foxx), there to ensure that not a single moment passes unsullied. Luiz, the slobbering bulldog voiced by Tracy Morgan, is left behind in Rio for most of the pic’s duration.
The screenplay (by returning scribe Don Rhymer and three new writers), fleshed out from a story by Brazilian-born director Carlos Saldanha, does a shrewd enough job of building on the central tension of the first film but too much of overcrowding through sub-plots makes it just a little bit too exasperating and tedious. Every plot turn is signaled by some sort of musical performance or interlude. “O vida,” sung in both Portuguese and English, accompanies Blu and his family’s journey from Rio to the rainforest, while “Beautiful Creatures,” performed by the Brazilian body-percussion group Barbatuques, is a lovely tribute to the macaws’ natural way of life, illustrated in synchronized flying routines that grant full expression to the film’s vibrant colors and exquisite textures -which looks particularly striking and tactile in 3D. Lovely lullaby “Don’t Go Away,” and  “Batucada Familia,”  round up the musical contributions in this enjoyment. The wide shots of Rio and the Amazon rainforest look lovely, although 3D doesn’t add too much. Director Carlos Saldanha’s love for his native Rio shines through , though!


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