Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Rio 2
I previously reviewed Rio and thought it was... a movie. It is so middle of the road that I couldn't get passionate about the film, either positively or negatively. That said, it made a ton of money, especially internationally, so it should come as no surprise that Rio 2 was made. Does it improve upon its predecessor? Does it get worse? Or is it yet another movie that just exists?
The film begins during New Year's Eve celebrations where we are (re)introduced to the animal characters. Blu and Jewel have three kids: Carla, the creative one; Bria, the smart one; and Tiago, the rambunctious one (and the only boy).
After the prologue, we also see Linda and Tulio in the Amazon releasing an injured bird they had rescued. After a wild ride down a waterfall, Tulio sees a feather, a blue feather. It's another Spix's macaw. They make the announcement about their discovery on TV and Blu and Jewel see it on the news. Jewel decides the family has to fly to the Amazon to see if the reports are true. They might not be alone after all. They certainly won't be alone on this trip. Rafael, Rico, and Pedro will be going with them.
However, there are two problems. Firstly, there's Big Boss, a "businessman" who made his fortune through illegal logging in the Amazon. He knows if the Spix's macaw are real, he will be shut down. Secondly, there's Nigel, the nemesis from the last movie, who has been reduced to playing the part of a fortune teller in a market. He survived his encounter with the plane propeller, but he lost his ability to fly. When he sees Blu and his family fly by the market where he works, he decides to get his revenge and chases after them with a poison dart frog named Gabi and a silent anteater named Charlie.
To answer my question above, Rio 2 is just another movie that exists. The film is so stunningly average in so many aspects of filmmaking that it is hard to come up with something to say. It has inspired so little emotion in me that I have almost nothing, good or bad, to say about the film. The good... the film looks great. The technical aspects of the animation are amazing, especially on Blu-ray. Also, I do like some of the South American music we get to hear in the movie. But really, that's it. The only negative aspect of the movie is the overstuffed plot. Because so much was going on in the movie, none of it was developed sufficiently enough to be engaging. They should have trimmed a plot point or two and not been quite as frantic. The overall plot is fine, for a kids movie, but that's hardly high praise. There's a good environmental message in the movie and some points about family. Standard stuff, really. Some of the characters are fun, like Gabi, but for the most part the movie is filled with big names who are better actors in live action movies. I think younger kids will still like the movie, if they liked Rio, while adults won't be horrified at the prospect of seeing the movie with their kids.
Rio Refresher is a three minute look at the plot of the first film, in case you've forgotten it. There is a single deleted scene. There is a multi-part, 19-minute featurette on the music and the sounds of the movie. Birds and Beats spends 10 minutes looking at the voice cast. Nigel the Shakespearean Cockatoo and Friends is a behind-the-scenes of the studio, while they also spend time on the three animal villains in the movie. Next, you can listening to some of the music from the movie in dance-along and sing-along modes. You Be the Judge has a couple of fake auditions for a couple of the characters. Up next is a music video for "What Is Love?" while you can listen to "I Will Survive" in different languages.
The technical presentation is stellar, as to be expected. The level of detail is phenomenal and the colors are incredibly vivid. The contrast is strong and the blacks are as dark as can be without swallowing details. It goes without saying that there are no compression issues. It's not quite reference level quality, but it is close enough. The audio is even better with a fantastic 7.1 surround sound track that is very immersive. The music was arguably the best part of the movie (the visuals being the other) and the track certainly sells the movie well.
Unfortunately, I didn't get the 3D version to compare.
The DVD costs $15, while the Blu-ray and the 3D Blu-ray cost $20 and $23 respectively. That's not a bad price for this type of release, especially the 3D upgrade.
If your kids liked Rio, they will likely enjoy Rio 2 as well. It is neither better nor worse than the original in any significant way. If you are interested in buying, the 3D Combo Pack is the better deal over the DVD or the Blu-ray Combo Pack.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-07-20