Rio 2

Director: Carlos Saldanha

Rio 2 (2014) ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (barely)

Director: Carlos Saldanha. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Andy Garcia, Jamie Foxx, Jake T. AustinCarlinhos BrownKristin Chenoweth

I was astonished how many subplots and characters the film manages to squeeze in.Most of the individual moments are perfectly enjoyable by themselves, though none of them particularly inspired, but when put them all together they pull the film in so many directions that at times I felt like the film might never end and eventually I thought all those storylines were to the detriment of the film itself.

Furthermore the overall arc of the story seemed to have been put together by some sort of robot for how formulaic it was. And it’s a pity because the original Rio felt a lot tighter and there was also a much clearer trajectory and a greater sense of purpose as it unfolded and as the big Carnival got closer and closer. Finally the city of Rio de Janeiro provided an original background the more conventional story.

This one takes place in the Amazon forest… and however beautiful the forest is… well, it’s a forest, which we have seen a thousand times before. All the rest is paint by number stuff:

  • Random songs in the middle of it just to pace it up. Check
  • An environmental message pushed down our throat. Check
  • Cute toddler-birds. Check
  • Mismatched couple like Timon and Pumba, for light entertainment. Check
  • Hero learning what’s important in life is family. Check
  • Opposite tribes of birds joining forces for the common good. Check

And so on…

The film is throwing everything in it, as if it were so desperate to try please his young audience with potentially short attention span at any point.

The result is a film with lots of running and screaming, shouting and flying… all in short bursts and micro-scenes. It feels like they cannot stop for more than a minute because they may lose their young audience.. but in fact by doing that they are losing us parents. The most outrageous evidence of that is a sort of football-match (or whatever game it is) in the middle of film, which has absolutely no reasons to be there, if not to add some excitement to the proceedings.

What really saves it from being a completely waste of time us grown-ups accompany the kids, is the vibrant animation. Beyond the cacophony of shouts and the by-the-number storylines (yes, all 300 of them!) Rio 2, must be said, looks really beautiful with its warm colours and the incredibly detailed backgrounds, landscapes, cities and forests and that almost makes up for the mess that everything else is. But hey, kids will enjoy it of course (because it’s been manufactured to please them): it’s just fast that any of the messages will barely register and it will have no emotional resonance whatsoever.

Basically, this ain’t Pixar.

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