HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Rio 2
HTS Overall Score:88
“Rio” was a moderate family adventure, helmed by the same staff that brought you Fox’s only real claim to fame, the “Ice Age” series, and it did decently enough that they decided to green light a sequel. Now they’re back again, and the animated blue McCaw’s are once again the stars of a Fox kid’s film. “Rio” was no juggernaut of the animated world, but it was a sweet family flick that was perfect for the kids, and even for the adults at times. “Rio 2” comes back and actually does what many sequels fail to do by rivaling its predecessor in quality. Sure, many of the sequel-itis tropes are pulled out in full force, but its musical soundtrack and charming side characters are more than enough to pull it back from the brink of sequel disaster. It's charming, riddled with a star studded cast and looks and sounds like a million bucks. I had an entertaining watch, and it most certainly hits that target demographic of young children, as there is enough bright colors and catchy tunes to keep them dancing all night long.
Blue (Jesse Eisenberg) and his lovely mate Jewel (Anne Hathaway) are living the dream life in Rio with their human protectors Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) and their three little offspring. But dreams can’t last forever, as Linda and Tulio find evidence of more Blue McCaw’s out there in the wild and go off to the Amazon in search of this almost extinct species. Realizing that there might be more of their own kind out there, Blue and Jewel (along with their children, of course) all trek out to the Amazon with the humans. Once in the forest they are “kidnapped”, only to find themselves in an entire CLAN of Blue McCaws, who happens to be led by Jewel’s long lost father, Eduardo (Andy Garcia). While this is great for Jewel, it’s not so great for Blue as he’s immediately put the ringer as the grudgingly accepted son-in-law.
Trying to fit in as best he can, Blue stumbles at every turn as he fails his father-in-law’s rigorous tasks. Trying to live as a wild creature is a bit of a struggle for a bird who’s had the comforts and ease of a human protected life, and Blue doesn’t know if he’s up to the challenge. Fear not faithful viewer, Blue most certainly will have his resolve and ability tested, for while Linda and Tulio are searching nearby for the McCaws, an illegal logging operation is headed straight for the Blue McCaw’s hidden grove. Now with a crazed Cockatoo, Nigel (Jemaine Clement), on his tail, an exacting father-in-law, his own fears, and the imminent destruction of the clearing, Blue must find a way to rally the troops and claim the heritage that is rightfully his.
“Rio 2” is a bit of an overstuffed film, as there is a myriad of plots and subplots that are packed into an hour and a half. We have Nigel returning from the first film, intent on revenge; a search for family; the big bad evil logger who’s out to destroy the rain forest; and an internal family struggle for acceptance. Some of it is handled well, and some not as well - some of the minor subplots feel superfluous, especially the story of Nigel and his crazed tree frog girlfriend (even though Jemaine Clement is pure comedy gold in every scene stealing moment), but still, the story is easy enough to follow so that no children is going to be left out. It’s not great animated storytelling, but it’s sweet and it’s got all the little things that kids are going to love, while still having enough fun for the adults to be able to watch along.
I have to admit that the music is the real scene stealer here, as “Rio 2” pushes the Brazillion flair of Sergio Mendes, and Janelle Monae’s fantastic beats ripples through the entire soundtrack. Every song is catchy and is sure to stick in your head for hours after the film is done (if you’re unlucky, days afterwards). None of them feel shoehorned in, and I had my foot tapping to the beat the entire movie. We even had a little bit of the Flying Concords grace us with their musical abilities. The cast is star studded and full to the brim of talented voice actors from Jamie Foxx, Will I. Am, Kristen Chenowith, Bruno Mars, George Lopez, and Tracy Morgan. Definitely a lot of flashy fun and no shortage of great voicing.
Rated G For General Audiences
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=23258[/img]Yum, yum, yum is all I can say about the 2.40:1 AVC encoded transfer. Animated films are some of the best eye candy on the home theater market and “Rio 2” delivers in spades, clubs AND diamonds. A perfect 5/5 on the video chart and one that is just teaming with tropical colors. Splashes of richly saturated blues, greens, reds, purples, oranges you name it, if it’s a color it was somehow found in the film, literally popping off the screen at every turn. Our little tree frog looked simply amazing as she’s colored with neon pink’s, deep inky black splotches and the shimmering of her slick skin. Blacks are spot on gorgeous and the contrast is out of this world. My JVC RS-46 was pushed to the max as I just simply marveled at the perfect picture. Animation lines are clean and smooth with no jaggies, no digital artifacting and, thankfully, no banding or aliasing either. Just a clean and clear image that will have you popping it in for a demo disc for certain.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=23274[/img]Fox’s 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is almost as stunning as its video score is and just as impressive. Before I go any further, I noticed that the track is recorded around 8-10 decibels BELOW most other tracks are recorded at. So much so that I had to pop in a few other discs to verify something wasn’t funky with my system. It’s not actually a problem, but it may surprise the listener when they have to turn the receiver dial up a few notches to level match to proper output levels. With that being said, the ambiance and immersive quality of the track is simply superb, as the sounds of the jungle fly in from all sides and totally suck you in. The twang of a jungle vine sounds like it’s in your living room and the rustle of the McCaw feathers is both precise and hauntingly detailed. The dialogue has no complaints from me; the dynamic range is flawless, but what’s really going to steal the show is the musical numbers. Catchy, rhythmic and completely hypnotic they are the perfect accompaniment to an Amazon themed adventure film. Sergio Mendes outdid himself as the executive music producer, and his fantastic talent shines through in the Brazilian themed musical score. Full of zest and life it pules with energy with every downbeat and is even more enhanced by the vocal talent congregated for the film. My only very slight complaint was that I wish there had been a bit more LFE to the track. It’s great for the last battle, and the musical numbers are filled with a nice low end, but the first part of the movie felt like it could have stood to have a bit more oooomph to those frequencies.
• "Rio" Refresher
• Deleted Scene - "Practice"
• Boom, Shake, Snap: The Local Sounds of Brazil
• Birds and Beats: The Singing Talents of "Rio 2"
• Nigel the Shakespearean Cockatoo and Friends
• Music, Dance, Sing-Along Machine
• You Be the Judge
• "What is Love" by Jonelle Monae
• Still Gallery
• Theatrical Trailers
• "I Will Survive" Multi-Language Sequence
“Rio 2” is a mid-range animated film, but it hits its core audience quite well and will satisfy the kids and allow the parents some relaxation time. For those parents who like to watch along with the kids, it’s still a very decent film that is palatable enough to sing along with and show off the home theater to friends. The video and audio are out of this world and even the extras are pretty impressive (which is a dying thing among home video releases, it seems), so I’d definitely give this a watch if you have children in the house (or just a child at heart, I won’t judge). Recommended.
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jemaine Clement
Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Written by: Don Rhymer, Carlos Saldanha,
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian, Greek, Romanian, Turkish DD 5.1
Blu-ray Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Buy Rio 2 Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Rio 2 3D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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