Blu-ray Review: ‘Rio 2’

Review By Nathan Ligon

The original Rio was a movie I enjoyed quite a bit. It had a great cast of voice actors, some wonderful animation, and a slightly fresh story about a blue bird learning he’s not alone. It had some things about it that felt like things we had seen before, but it felt unique in a way. It was sweet and filled with enough colorful characters to keep you consistently entertained. I wish I could say the same for the new one.

Many of the same colorful characters are still here (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, etc.), but the fresh feeling is completely gone. As a matter of fact, just about everything in this film feels like it was recycled from another movie. Most of the events in the movie come directly out of movies that were already copying other movies. Not in a way that is an interesting new take on something or an endearing homage. No. This film just feels like it’s doing exactly what every other movie did, but with blue birds.

It is not ironic that this movie is made by Blue Sky Studios and the second story in their franchise here is about Blue’s family finding out that they are not alone. Every bit of this movie feels borrowed from the Ice Age sequels in one way or another. I mean, I understand doubling down on what worked for you in the past, but at least try to make it seem different. There are moments in this film that feel like they might have been exact replicas. I actually got a sense of déjà vu.

Then you have the stuff with a more handsome and impressive bird (who the wife’s parents absolutely love) from the past seemingly putting the moves on Blue’s girl. This stuff feels like it’s borrowed from Meet the Parents and every other dumb romantic comedy where the guy must prove his worth to the father. Of course, the dad (Andy Garcia) is unimpressed by Blue’s every move and we get the pleasure of watching him screw up consistently.

Then there is the sub plot involving the Amazon jungle and taking care of it from the loggers that are illegally destroying it. This is a good message and I have enjoyed the sentiment in films for many years, but it has never felt as blatantly borrowed as it does in this film. I could have been watching Avatar or Epic with talking birds. Which is fine if the talking bird movie distinguishes itself from the other ones and this one certainly does not.

My last issue with this film comes in the form of a bad guy bird named Nigel (Jermaine Clement). He was also the bad guy bird in the first movie, but it made logical sense in that movie. He was a henchman like bird that worked for some bird snatchers. In this movie, he just randomly sees Blue on the television and decides to travel across the entire world to get his revenge. Which is fine and all, but it seems like just another thing to through in an already crowded movie.

There are things about this movie that work. I especially like the little poisonous frog character and when she sings the only decent musical number in the movie. I’m sure that young kids will enjoy this movie.

Nathan Ligon
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