The Vue theatre in Leicester Square is transformed into a tropical rainforest for the VIP screening of Blue Sky Studio’s Rio 2. The atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation as children, adults and celebrities alike looked forward to the return of some of their favourite animated characters to the big screen.
The film itself doesn’t disappoint. Following the box office success of its 2011 predecessor, Rio 2 continues the story of Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their three children as they embark on a 2,000-mile journey to the Amazon in search of other blue macaws. With them once again are their trusty companions, toucan Rafael (George Lopez), cardinal Pedro (will.i.am) and canary Nico (Jamie Foxx), with Blu’s old nemesis cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement) hot on their tail feathers. And there a new threat as well: a gang of shady loggers, determined to cut down the birds’ natural habitat.
Rio’s impressive voice cast returns in this sequel with some exciting new additions that include Andy Garcia as Jewel’s father Eduardo and Bruno Mars, whose performance as dashing wild macaw Roberto makes for a pleasant and hilarious surprise. Kristin Chenoweth delights as slightly deranged, love-struck poison frog Gabi.
The script’s various subplots can seem a bit overwhelming, with the crippled but wonderfully unhinged Nigel – an ironic nod to Hollywood’s casting of Shakespearean actors as villains – Blu’s owner Linda and her husband Tulio, the loggers, and a flock of red parrots all making for different storylines, the film sometimes feels as if it has bitten off more plot than it can chew.
Yet with scenes like a football match between parrots and macaws for dominance of the forest grove they share, and poor Blu being put through a macaw boot camp by his unimpressed father in law, director Carlos Saldanha’s colourful homage to his native Brazil has something for everyone. Catchy samba rhythms enliven the film’s meticulously timed score.
Although the human characters don’t quite compare with animations in Frozen or How to Train Your Dragon, the animal characters are flawlessly beautiful. Rio 2’s jungle setting with its abundance of lavishly coloured trees, flowers, and not least macaws, makes it look even prettier than its predecessor. The 3D really works too, adding a real wow effect. Rio 2 is a colourful Brazilian carnival that will capture the hearts of old fans and new viewers alike.
Rio 2 is released nationwide on 4th April 2014.
Watch the trailer for Rio 2 here: