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After finding his wings in Rio, Blu, a rare blue macaw (voice by Jesse Eisenberg), has settled into domestic bliss in the Brazilian city with Jewel, his significant other (voice by Anne Hathaway), and their three little chicks. As they ring in the New Year with fireworks, life is good for the little family.
But all that changes when a television news story reports the possible discovery of a flock of blue macaws deep in the Amazon. Jewel is thrilled to find out they may not be the last of their kind. And before the nerdy, nature-phobic Blu knows what’s happening, Jewel has the kids ready for a high adventure trip into the jungle to find the elusive birds.
However, for the citified macaw, this is not a journey to be undertaken lightly. By the time the family and their plumaged pals—Rafael (voice of George Lopez), Nico (voice of Jaimie Foxx) and Pedro (voice of will.i.am)—take flight, Blu has his fanny pack stuffed with every imaginable doodad, including a GPS. Unfortunately there is nothing in the pouch to smooth the ruffled feathers when he meets Jewel’s father (voice of Andy García) and her childhood friend Roberto (voice of Bruno Mars).
Meanwhile Linda, Blu’s former owner (voice of Leslie Mann), and her husband, ornithologist Tulio Monteiro (voice of Rodrigo Santoro) are slogging their way through the Amazon undergrowth. They hope to spot the rare birds as well.
If that seems like more than enough storyline to fill 100 minutes, you’ll be in for a surprise. This plot also pits environmental agendas against evil loggers. And it introduces not one, but several antagonists—everything from a lollipop licking businessman to rival forest dwellers to an overdramatic cockatoo with revenge on his mind. That leads to some moments of peril for several characters. For children (or tired adults), it feels like a lot of work to keep all of the bad guys and side stories straight.
The film is also packed with a swarm of musical productions. While none of the songs will knock Frozen‘s “Let It Go” off the charts, the tunes are still catchy enough for most young viewers and give the film’s animators an excuse for plenty of flashy dance interludes that mimic the revelry of Carnival. Other numbers look surprisingly similar to West Side Story or Battle of the Year.
Most of the characters from the first movie show up for at least a cameo. And that makes for lots of juggling to give everyone some screen time. But luckily, in between all the flurry of feathers, Blu still manages to man up enough to save the flock and his little family as well.
Rio 2 is rated G:
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Jesse Eisenberg, Rodrigo Santoro
Studio: 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Website: Official site for Rio 2.