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Brazilian co-writer/director Carlos Saldanha returns to the music-driven children’s animation franchise he began in 2011. Written alongside three other screenwriters, “Rio 2’s” skewed racial hierarchy of animal characters is spelled out beneath their colorful camouflage. The filmmakers’ offensive agenda of international hegemony, however wrapped up in a ruse of ecological activism, is hard to miss.
At the bottom of the film’s social pecking order is Tracy Morgan’s slobber-dripping bulldog Luiz. The drooling canine character is so disgusting, you can’t wait for the scene to change so you don’t have to look at him anymore.Jamie Foxx and Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am occupy this society’s second rung from the bottom to support this troubled film’s marginalization of blacks. They voice a “super-mega-dope” rap-singing duo that provides the movie with snarky comic asides. Jamie Foxx’s bottle-cap-hatted canary Nico says, “Ama-what?” — in response to the word Amazon. Think of it as endorsed ignorance for the pro-ebonics set.Such heavy-handed use of racial stereotypes has been common in Hollywood’s animated films dating back even before 1941, when Disney’s use of dark-skinned crows in “Dumbo” made an obvious editorial commentary about blacks.
The film’s white = top / black = bottom simile is oddly reinforced with a pro-ecology subplot that gives the story its bulldozer-filled conclusion in the middle of the Amazon jungle. The lumber laborers are dark-skinned men with chainsaws and bulldozers. The film’s most ferocious villains are dark-skinned brutes, drawn in a more naturalistic style than the film’s other characters.Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway do Jewish-and-gentile voiceover duties as Blu and Jewel, a pair of rare blue macaws from Brazil; no need for Portuguese-descent actors here.(Download Rio 2) Eisenberg’s miscasting comes into higher relief this time around. An opening musical sequence exposes the actor’s lack of singing ability to a painful degree. Hathaway’s proven singing skills are on display, although the tunes themselves rarely connect to the story in an organic way as occurred in “Rio”-one. The energy and content of the songs seldom matches up with the dialogue or storyline.
A television report about Blu’s former owner Linda (Leslie Mann) and her naturalist husband Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) alerts Blu and Jewel to the presence of other blue macaws in the Amazon forest. Anxious for their three children Carla, Tiago, and Bia to learn about survival in the jungle, Jewel requests the family pick up and moves out of the city to the Amazon. Reuniting with her long-lost dad seals Jewel’s desire to stay in the jungle rather than return to the city.(Download Rio 2) However, Brazil’s lumber industry is in the process of tearing down the jungle.Between the film’s white-world-order depiction of a multicultural society and its ham-fisted treatment of an ostensibly pro-ecology agenda, “Rio 2” is a confused piece of animation propaganda. Its ideological disorientation contributes to the unsettled sense that the movie leaves with its audience. It might be pretty to look at, and the music might be perky enough, but “Rio 2” gets lost in its own jungle.
Blue Sky Entertainment has been churning out high-energy computer-animated features for over a decade. They've had big hits with the Ice Age franchise, Horton Hears a Who, and Rio. Yet this studio hasn't earned the kind of esteemed reputation of its biggest competitors, DreamWorks and Pixar.(Download Rio 2) Considering Rio 2, it's little wonder why. Once more, Blue Sky Entertainment has offered a perfectly adequate kid's movie, but nothing that more mature audiences will find especially compelling. Rio introduced Blu, a nebbish, flightless Spix's Macaw who experiences culture shock when he's taken to meet his assigned mate Jewel in Rio de Janeiro. This lively locale is where the sequel picks up, with Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) raising their three chicks with all the modern (human) conveniences, like pancakes, iPods, and television. But when their human friends Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) uncover a long-lost flock of Spix's Macaw deep in the Amazon, the whole Blu family flies off to join them so the kids can learn about their cultural (Macaw) heritage.
Upon arrival, Blu quickly realizes his reliance on human tools (fanny packs, GPS) make him a misfit. Worse yet, he feels threatened by Jewel's disapproving father (Andy Garcia) and her former flame, a flashy flyer and sultry singer called Roberto (Bruno Mars). But unbeknownst to Blu there's even bigger trouble brewing. A greedy lumber magnate is slicing his way right to the Macaw colony.(Download Rio 2) And the nefarious Nigel (Jemaine Clement) -- who first fought Blu in Rio -- is back for revenge. This time, this cruel Cockatoo has found a minion in Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth), a poisonous frog who is utterly infatuated with him. Fans of the first film should be pleased with Rio 2. Director Carlos Saldanha has brought back most of his colorful cast of characters, including Rafael the smooth-talking Toucan (George Lopez), Nico the bottle-cap sporting Canary (Jamie Foxx), Pedro the rapping Cardinal (will.i.am), and Luiz the dopey, drooling bulldog (Tracy Morgan).
This crew gets an unimportant but bouncy subplot about putting on an Amazon variety show, which injects several song numbers and plenty of gags into the movie. By my count the strongest visual gag (involving turtles performing capoeira) and the most entertaining song number (Nigel's unique interpretation of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive") both come from these sequences.(Download Rio 2) Rio 2 also offers an enjoyable new adventure for Blu, who has new anxieties to face when he is no longer his one-and-only's only option. The new characters offer challenges about parenthood and partnership that could be emotionally rich, but the film never delves deep enough for these moments to really resonate. Still, the voice work is terrific, full of verve and emotion--especially Clemente's Shakespeare-spouting villain. And it's overall entertaining enough that parents or guardians taking kids to see it won't be bored.
There are lots of fun moments. Rio 2 unfurls a spirited journey, peppered with plucky action, some rousing musical numbers, and a dash of silly slapstick. But the separate plot threads are sloppily laced together, barreling to a resolution that feels rushed and overly pat after so much build up. Ultimately,(Download Rio 2) Rio 2 is a fine bit of entertainment, but nothing more. Sequels are tricky propositions - it's hard to find creative freedom and joy in an enterprise clearly geared towards bringing in ever more heaps of cash. For every glorious Toy Story sequel, there's Cars 2 or yet another lacklustre installment in the Ice Age franchise. Fortunately for Blue Sky Studios, Rio 2 is frequently excellent, a sunny, cheerful reprise of a hit movie that finds its own grace notes.Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg), everyone's favourite domesticated macaw, is happily married to Jewel (Anne Hathaway) after their adventures in the first film.
Worried that their three beautiful children are becoming too city-bound, Jewel entreats Blu to take the family to the Amazon to connect with their roots. Once in the jungle, Jewel discovers that she and Blu aren't the only surviving adult blue macaws in the world after all: she reconnects with her family, including her dad Eduardo (Andy Garcia) and childhood friend Roberto (Bruno Mars). Suddenly,(Download Rio 2) Blu is the odd one out, and must desperately try to fit into a wild, raucous world that seems to have no place for him and his civilised ways.There's almost too much happening in Rio 2: apart from Blu's family troubles, the macaw tribe's haven in the jungle is under threat from a ruthless logging company. Fan favourite Nigel (Jemaine Clement) - the most puffed-up, actorly, diabolical cockatoo you'll ever meet - returns to take revenge upon his nemesis, Blu, with poisonous tree frog Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth) in tow.
As per the first film, Rio 2 also packs its soundtrack with joyful, high-energy numbers - which is explained away by Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Pedro (will.i.am) auditioning jungle denizens for a spot in the upcoming Rio Carnival.What's so impressive about this film is how it manages to make all the disparate elements of its overstuffed plot work. Powered by a loopy, irrepressible charm, Rio 2 dashes from scene to scene,(Download Rio 2) but doesn't forget to pack in moments that range from affecting (Jewel's tender lullaby Don't Go Away) to absurd (Blu's GPS charting the route to Funky Town). The characters in any given sequel are usually the first to get lost in the shuffle, but they each get moments to shine here. Blu's connection with his human companion Linda (Leslie Mann) isn't the focus of this film, but nevertheless makes itself felt in the final act. The relationship between Blu and Jewel is also beautifully heartfelt, dealing with ideas of compromise and growth after the honeymoon is long over.
There's even room for a new breakout character. The shock of delight provided by Nigel in the first film - so gleefully subversive a villain - is largely eroded here, and he comes off more as a determined buffoon than anything else. But he's ably matched by the amorous Gabi, whose hopeless adoration of Nigel is channelled into two of the film's highlights: Poisonous Love, an overblown ballad with several hints of The Phantom Of The Opera; and a wacky, wonderfully rearranged rendition of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive.Unwieldy though its plot may be,(Watch Rio 2 Online In HD) Rio 2 breezes through it all with cheeky energy and eye-wateringly glorious animation. But what makes Rio 2 as good as - if not better than - its predecessor is director Carlos Saldanha's understanding that losing sight of his characters will only damage the film. And so, amidst the tumult of mid-air football games and swooping aerial dance formations, Saldanha roots everything in the big, loving hearts of Blu and his extended family. The film - and the franchise - are all the better for it.
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