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Blu, Jewel and their three kids are living the perfect domesticated life in the magical city that is Rio de Janeiro. When Jewel decides the kids need to learn to live like real birds, she insists the family venture into the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in with his new neighbors, he worries he may lose Jewel and the kids to the call of the wild.
For more about Rio 2 and the Rio 2 Blu-ray release, see Rio 2 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on July 14, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Writer: Carlos Saldanha
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx, Rodrigo Santoro, Leslie Mann, Jake T. Austin
» See full cast & crew
Rio 2 Blu-ray Review
Is this another sequel that's strictly for the birds?
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, July 14, 2014
Sergio Mendes was robbed. There, I've said it, and I'm glad. This iconic Brazilian musician, arguably the biggest music star from his nation since the redoubtable Carmen Miranda, has had an indelible impact on popular music since Brasil '66 first stormed the charts in its eponymous year with the now legendary "Mas Que Nada". Sergio continued to ply a remarkably successful (both commercially and critically) blend of Latin rhythms and American pop and jazz throughout the rest of the sixties and early seventies, before falling into something of an "easy listening" black hole for a few years. He then started exploring more soul influenced music on a variety of albums in the mid to late seventies (including some great collaborations with Stevie Wonder) before hitting the Top 5 jackpot again with his "comeback" ballad, "Never Gonna Let You Go". That in turn spurred a whole second act in the venerable musician's career, culminating in his Grammy for the world music masterpiece Brasileiro and ultimately leading to several chart topping collaborations with The Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am. And so when Sergio, who not so coincidentally changed my life when I first heard Brasil '66 as a little boy, was nominated for a Best Song Academy Award for "Real in Rio" from Rio, I was convinced one of my favorite musicians was a sure lock on a trophy, especially since in one of the mini-scandals that erupt over Oscar nominations every year, only two nominees in that category were announced. I know a few voting members in the Academy, and though they're not really supposed to divulge how they vote, an informal poll I did seemed to suggest "everyone" was voting for Sergio. Only "everyone" didn't, and of course "Man or Muppet" by The Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie won the prize (and no disrespect is intended here toward Mr. McKenzie or his achievement). The Academy has a long history of issuing "career awards", even in the usually more insular music category (does anyone really think Elmer Bernstein won his Oscar for Thoroughly Modern Millie for that film?), and while Mendes' contributions in the film world have been relatively slim, in the overall scheme of things, no one in my estimation deserves a career accolade more than the still spry and productive keyboard player and composer. Sergio has at least a chance at another nomination for Rio 2, for the film is chalk full of tunes, many co-written by the Brazilian superstar, but it looks like it's actually Janelle Monae's "What Is Love?" that is being touted as the "big" tune from the movie. But Sergio's influence is all over the soundtrack of this film, with echoes of several of his albums as disparate as Primal Roots to Arara floating through the dense tropical jungles that serve as the setting for this sequel, and in fact it may be the soundtrack that is one of the chief selling points of this enjoyable but largely by the numbers follow up.
Rio 2 reassembles much of the creative crew that helped Rio take flight a couple of years ago, including director Carlos Saldanha and (of course) Executive Music Producer Sergio Mendes. Jesse Eisenberg is on hand again as Blu, now a husband to Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and father to three semi-adorable kids. When their protectors Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) stumble upon a flock of other spix's macaws, suddenly Jewel realizes that she and her little brood are not all alone in the world. She convinces a hesitant Blu, who is more than happy to hang out in Linda and Tulio's house making pancakes for the kids, that a trip to the Amazon is in order so that they might reunite with more of their species.
As the family makes their way to the Amazon, they of course manage to cross paths with Nigel (Jemaine Clement), the demented cockatoo who nurses a rather strong grudge against Blu for past indignities and a continuing inability to fly. Nigel teams up with one of this film's weirder but funny additions, a poisonous frog named Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth), who nurses an unrequited adoration for Nigel. But Nigel and Gabi aren't the only villains in Rio 2, a film that often mistakes noise and activity for plot and character. Big Boss (Miguel Ferrer), a human operating an illegal logging operation in the forest, wants to find the macaw hideout and destroy the birds before meddling environmentalists like Linda and Tulio manage to gum up the works by having the entire region protected.
Also playing into the overstuffed plot are several characters from Jewel's past, including her father Eduardo (Andy Garcia), former boyfriend Roberto (Bruno Mars), as well as Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Pedro (Will.i.am) from the first film. Bebel Gilberto, herself Brazilian music royalty (her father is Joao Gilberto and her mother is Miucha, Chico Buarque's sister) lends her supple voice to the character of Eva, wife of toucan Rafael (George Lopez).
There's not a real surprise to be had in Rio 2, but the film is relentlessly colorful and ultimately enjoyable, albeit in a kind of manic way a lot of the time. The best bits here are reserved for Nigel and Gabi, and in fact the score offers a rather smartly done Puccini-esque aria for Chenoweth (with a little help from Clement) called "Poisonous Love". The environmental subtext of the film may grate on those not particularly well disposed to that line of thought, but there's a sweet focus here on family and friends, all set to a swirling musical soundtrack full of samba, bossa nova and just good old fashioned American pop.
Rio 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
This edition of Rio 2 contains a 2D version of the film with a 1080p presentation in 2.40:1. As with Rio, this film explodes with color, though it seems just slightly tamped down at times when compared with the original. The bright cerulean blue of the spix's macaw is once again a tonal highlight of the film, but so many of the other birds feature such eyeball shattering hues that it's hard to even compile a cursory list of the often incredibly engaging palette. The 2D presentation is graced with exceptional fine detail that offers great discrete looks at feathers and even the tangled vines that weave in and out of the rain forest trees. Some of the human designs don't fare quite as well, with a somewhat textureless look to characters like Big Boss. The image is completely stable and contrast is very strong.
Rio 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Rio 2's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is a nonstop array of incredible music and sound effects, with consistent and engaging surround activity. From the first sequence, which blends music with fireworks to create a beautifully immersive experience, it's obvious that the film is going to be a kaleidoscope of sounds, including the wonderful battery of percussion instruments that are Brazilian hallmarks. There are so many great little sonic set pieces in this film that enumerating them could take a week, but everything from a crazy canoe trip down rapids for Linda and Tulio to the efforts of the nefarious loggers offer the soundtrack innumerable opportunities for punchy foley effects, and this lossless track delivers them all with absolute clarity and precision. Dialogue and the song score all are mixed beautifully, and (as stated above) it's the soundtrack of Rio 2 that may linger in memory long after the film itself has receded.
Rio 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Rio 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Rio 2 just keeps throwing characters and colors at the screen in such an arresting array that the lack of any real surprises isn't quite as debilitating as it might otherwise be. This is often a noisy, busy film, but it has its fair share of laughs and both the design aesthetic and the superb soundtrack make it breezily enjoyable. Technical merits on this Blu-ray are very strong, and Rio 2 comes Recommended.
Rio 2: Other Editions
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Rio 2 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, July 14-20: Rio 2 Travels to Number One - July 24, 2014
For the week that ended on July 20th, Twentieth Century Fox's Rio 2 debuted at the top spot on the Blu-ray-only and overall package-media rankings. This sequel to the 2011 animated hit overcame mediocre critical notices to find commercial success at the global ...
• Rio 2 3D Blu-ray - June 3, 2014
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced and detailed the 2D and 3D Blu-ray combo pack releases of Rio 2, which features the voice talents of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Mann, Andy Garcia, Tracy Morgan, Rodrigo Santoro, Bruno ...
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