"We are not people, we're birds. We have to get out into the wild and be birds."
Director Carlos Saldanha takes us back to the colorful world of Rio in this sequel that takes place mostly in the Amazon jungle. I enjoyed the first film for the animation and how beautiful they made it look. Rio 2 is probably my least favorite animated film of 2014 so far, but I still have to give it a pass for the gorgeous animation. The film looks beautiful, it's a shame that the characters aren't as well developed. I wasn't a huge fan of the plot either, but the animation is so breathtaking that it is worth it. Adults might not have as much fun because it isn't as smart or witty as other recent animated films, but kids will enjoy this for the colorful characters. Of course like in most sequels you have to try to outdo yourself, more characters are introduced and ultimately the film just felt too crowded and the subplots and new characters didn't work very well. They kind of took me out of the movie, but the Amazon jungle is so gorgeously captured that I still had a decent time with this. I'm giving this a mild recommendation, but there isn't much more to this sequel other than that.
As for the plot, the film continues to center on the surviving blue macaws that are living in a special reserve in the city of Rio. Believed to be the only surviving birds of their species Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) have formed a family of their own and have three kids. Things take an unexpected turn for them when they discover that there might be more macaws in the heart of the Amazon jungle. They decide to travel to the wild jungle to meet up with the rest of their kind. They are not alone on their journey however, as Nigel (Jermaine Clement) is waiting for the perfect moment to have his revenge along with his new sidekick, a venomous frog named Linda (Leslie Mann). Once they arrive they are surprised to discover that among the surviving birds there's Jewel's father, Eduardo (Andy Garcia), who is happy to have found Jewel again. However, Blu has trouble adopting to the lifestyle of the wild and his father in law doesn't seem to take a huge liking of his city ways.
The sequel has some funny moments and I chuckled a few times, but the plot was weak and predictable. It felt a bit long and dragged at times. It also felt too preachy with all the ecological messages and I could have done without those subplots with the humans tearing down the trees. Most of the characters are back from the first film and a lot of new ones were added although I really didn't care much for any of them. There are some fun musical moments that helped me get past the more tedious moments but overall I didn't have such a good time as I did with The LEGO Movie or Mr. Peabody & Sherman. The film is not even as close in terms of being witty, but it does look more beautiful and kids might enjoy it more for all the colorful scenes and the choreographed musical numbers. By the end of the film I kind of felt tired and exhausted, but the kids seemed to have enjoyed it.