Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) is now a family bird living with Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and his three children. Now living in a bird sanctuary created by Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), Blu is perfectly happy making pancakes for the little ones and living in a domesticated lifestyle. When Jewel finds out that Linda and Tulio have found more of their kind, she convinces Blu to go into the Amazon and find them. Along the way, Nigel (Jemaine Clement), the insane cockatoo, plans his revenge on Blu, but Nigel is the least of his problems as he is trying to cope with a new life and fitting in with the wild macaws.
Just as the World Cup comes to its conclusion and everyone has either left Brazil happy (or upset in some cases), Rio 2 arrives in stores to take us back deep into Brazil. Like the first Rio, Carlos Saldanha directs Rio 2 and the majority of the ensemble has also returned for this sequel. Rio was charming, funny and unique in its own ways, so Rio 2 had the task to meet the same bar or surpass the predecessor, but like many sequels tend fare Rio 2 didn’t quite meet the same bar.
Rio 2 does include a lot of the same elements that made Rio one enjoyable, in fact it does contain a good amount of laughs and also found our protagonist in silly situations along with the rest of his friends and family, but something was missing and things didn’t really click all together. Characters weren’t altered, but somehow they weren’t the same. A few newcomers made their debut and certainly brought something new to the story line, but other aspects of the film felt weird like the poisonous frog and her obsession over Nigel. The jokes were funny and I certainly enjoyed a few aspects of the film, but I still think much of the comedic aspect of Rio 2 was spotty or too far apart.
The musical numbers were also a big part of the sequel and for the most part they offered an incredible blend of samba, jazz, and pop, I may be missing others, but the way the music was produced was excellent. There are some redeeming qualities about Rio 2; the story itself provided an excellent message of the importance of family and friends, which only gets better as the film progresses.
Overall, the story remained enjoyable and it was entertaining. The movie offers something for the whole family and despite a few of the shortcomings Rio 2 still provided a good family entertainment so it easily comes as recommended.
Rio 2 arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p image presented in a 2.40:1. Rio 2 looks fantastic from beginning to end with an exquisite vivid and bright colorful palette. The picture features a good amount of detail especially with the different animals found within the film. The birds easily have the most details with the many distinguishable layers of feathers. The colors are vivid and bright throughout and the black colors are deep and inky. My only real issue here, same as in the first film; humans are devoid of detailing and textures for some odd reason. Other than that, Rio 2 looks great on Blu-ray.
The audio is perhaps the best part of this release, with a 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio track included in the release, Rio 2 sounds fantastic. From the beginning to end the track sounds great with clear dialogue and excellent directionality. The rears and surrounds offer good atmospherics and other effects throughout, but the track really comes to life once the music takes over the center stage. The different musical numbers within the film are really an aural delight. The LFE channel lights up when needed with excellent accuracy. The track is just superb and it delivers all the nuances of the film to simply make Rio 2 a fantastic sounding Blu-ray.
Rio Refresher (3:21) – This featurette feels more like an extended trailer of Rio, but alas it serves its purpose as a quick refresher of the sequence of events prior to Rio 2.
Deleted Scene (0:39) – This scene shows Niguel practicing for his Shakespearian number.
Boom, Shake Snap: The Local Sounds of Brazil – This feature is separated into multiple sections, see them detailed below.
1) The Bodybeats of The Barbatuques (6:09) – Carlos Saldanha and Sergio Mendes introduce the Barbatuques and this talents to make beats without instruments.
2) How to Play The Barbatuques Way! (3:48) – The Barbatuques show the viewers how to play like they do.
3) Rhythmic Rio (5:00) – Carlos Saldanha and Sergio Mendes talk about Carlinhos Brown and what his return to make the sequel meant for Rio 2.
4) The Upbeat Uakti Jam (3:01) – Sergio Mendes talks about the Uakti and their unique ways to make music.
Birds and Beats: The Singing Talents of Rio 2 (10:19) – This featurette shows the viewers the many different talents behind the music of Rio 2.
Nigel The Shakespearean Cockatoo and Friends (7:17) – Carlos Saldanha gives a tour of Blue Sky studios and allows the different designers to talk about the different animated characters. The focus is on Niguel, the single best bad guy in an animation film.
Music, Dance, Sing-Along Machine – This is split into several featurettes, but it’s essentially a sing along and jukebox.
You Be The Judge – Split into three sections: Tapir Audition (0:39); Turtle Audition (0:37); and Monkey Audition (0:39).
What is Love by Janelle Monae (1:37) – Music video/sing-along for the song “What Is Love”.
“I Will Survive” Multi-Language Sequence (1:58) – This featurette shows the viewers Niguel’s I will Survive sequence in different languages.
Rio 2 more or less met my expectations with good fun moments and excellent musical numbers. The characters didn’t undergo much change, aside from a particular demented cockatoo, which became more entertaining this time around. Aside from a few annoyances, Rio 2 was fun and if you enjoyed the first one, the sequel should be right up your alley. The video looks great, but the audio track is phenomenal and it really lights up when the music starts. With that being said Rio 2 is recommended.
One a final personal note, this marks the last time I write for Hi-Def Ninja. I saw the site grow from the ground up and it has been a complete blast over the course of 5 years. It pains me to leave, but I realize that all cycles have an end and as I reach mine, I am thankful for the good times and good friendships I have forged over years here at HDN. I wish everyone good luck and you can find me on Twitter @Horhay2313. Thanks for everything!