Did critics like the animated sequel, released today in the USA?
Don't you know about the bird? Well, Spix's Macaw to be precise and a new kids' movie that's bound to get you feeling in the mood for some summer sun and the Brazilian world cup. Rio 2 is currently out in the US and UK and picks up where its successful 2011 predecessor left off. But have critics given the new release the encouragement it needs to soar at the box office?
It's Looking Pretty Good Box Office-Wise For 'Rio 2' This Weekend - If Only The Critics Could Be Convinced...
Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway reprise their roles as Blue and Jewel, two bright blue endangered who have settled into familial bliss since we last saw them. The news of more of their kind deep in the Amazon rainforest sends the itchy-footed Jewel reeling with excitement at the thought of moving to the wild.
The less-than enthusiastic Blue decides to go along with Jewel's plan, which leads to them meeting Jewel's formidable father (Andy Garcia) and some old friends. If a disapproving father-in-law and Jewel's dashing old flame (Bruno Mars) aren't enough for Blu to worry about, Nigel the evil Cockatoo (Jemaine Clement) has also taken to the wild with revenge on his mind - with sidekicks Gabi the poisonous tree frog (Kristin Chenoweth) and a tap-dancing anteater - and an unscrupulous logger is threatening to destroy everyone's homes.
Unfortunately, at 47%, the film isn't currently faring too well on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics highlighting a bust and confusing plotline as a point of particular concern. Whilst most critics highlight the dance scenes, songs and animation as top quality, it hasn't been enough to distract from the movie's distracting flaws.
Rio 2 is "Wonderfully animated and well-voiced," says the LA Times' Betsy Sharkey, who kicks off this round-up on a high note. However, the film is criticised for having simply "Too much plot, too many issues, too many characters."
"Rio 2 [...] relies on derivative plotting and slapstick visual gags, in contrast to Pixar's more cerebral originality," says Liam Lacey from The Globe And Mail. He notes that "Where the film excels though, in an even more pronounced way than the first film, is in the choreographed animation for the musical numbers."
"Like the first movie, "Rio 2" looks great with vibrant colors and lovely animation that pop off the screen," says The Washington Post's Stephanie Merry, before remakring on a less than positive note that the film is an "overstuffed mess of too many personalities and plot points," adding damningly "'Rio 2' is curiously devoid of decent comedy."
The NY Times' review is florid in its description of the visually dazzling film but unfortunately for director Carlos Saldanha, it is lacking in its praise for Rio 2. "The cinematic equivalent of attack by kaleidoscope," is what Jeannette Catsoulis calls the film, though she remarks that the friendly children's flick will be good for Rio de Janeiro's image.
"The franchise is a gift of samba-and-Carnival cheer that Mr. Saldanha lards with all the fondness of a native son," she remarks, adding "Ms. Chenoweth is the film's secret weapon." It's not all happy-happy though: the critics earmarks an "unremarkable chorus of sidekicks," humour that "refuses the crutch of vulgarity," combined with an "insipid, eco-friendly plot and a bland, family-centered message." Ouch.
Regardless, Rio 2 swooped to the top of the box office when it was released in the UK last week and will almost certainly dethrone Captain America: The Winter Soldier upon its American release today.
Rio 2 is out now in the UK and USA.