2014 Running time: 101 Certificate: u Rating: 4
Rio-2-KA

Synopsis

It's fiesta time again as we rejoin city parrot Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) and his free-spirited other half Jewel (Anne Hathaway) for their second South American escapade. In this fine-feathered adventure, Blu takes his fledgling family to the Amazon for a taste of the great outdoors. From the familiar quirky characters and toe-tapping score to the fast-moving visuals and plot, it's a rip-snorting odyssey that even brings them beak-to-beak with Blu's old nemesis, cocky cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement).

Director

  • Carlos Saldanha

Cast

  • Jesse Eisenberg

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Jemaine Clement

  • Andy Garcia

  • George Lopez

  • will.i.am

Review

If you want to be taken to Rio, and in the words of Rihanna, fly o' the ocean like an eagle, there are many magical moments to savour in this toe-tapping, carnival romp.

It's a journey from domestication to emancipation for neurotic rare-bird Blu as he deals with his fears, such as lack of creature comforts, and a couple of adversaries in the form of Jewel's father Eduardo (Andy Garcia) and her previous boyfriend - the smoothly quiffed if slightly unstable Roberto, voiced in suitably cheesy splendour by Bruno Mars.

He's also got to face his new parental responsibilities to the trilling trio of Bia, Carla and Tiago.

Meanwhile, favourite characters return like familiar, much-loved toys.

Jemaine Clements' barbed, alliterative, bad-ass cockatoo Nigel will delight children and parents alike as he dreams up a deranged drama which sees him "pooping on your party promptly".

He's joined in his roguish plans by pint-sized, poisonous frog Gabi - a brilliant character articulated by the vocally gifted Kristin Chenoweth, star of Glee, who comes into her own with a glorious rendition of 'Poisonous Love'.

Comedic duo Will.I.Am and Jamie Foxx also return as Pedro the Canary and Nico the Cardinal bird, doing their bit to make it an invigorating ride through the music and movement of South America.

The soundscape (featuring tracks by Janelle Monae and Wondaland) carries the film - its pace and rousing samba rhythm providing fertile ground from which both story and characters can happily spread their wings.

The choreography is stunning, particularly in 3D, with flocks of jungle birds whizzing around in synchronised circular formations to theme track 'Beautiful Creatures'. The swirls and eddies of colour and noise continue throughout this musical visual spectacle, flinging feel-good, hot holiday vibes at the captivated audience.

Although slightly simple and predictable in narrative, there's enough Rio flavour - be it carnival, football, heat or culture - to keep the momentum.

There's also a deeper, over-arching environmental message, with the animals of the Amazon overcoming the threat from evil loggers.

While effectively highlighting the destruction of rainforest for younger viewers, it's all the inspiration you need to fling the sat-nav aside and go wild in the great outdoors.

Katie Colombus

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