My wife and I brought our nieces to see Rio 2 last week. Despite all the negative reviews, we had a blast. Still, some of the reviews bother me a little bit. Various outlets critiqued the film as if it was a Shakespearean play gone tragically wrong. I think the fact that Rio 2 is a children’s flick is lost on some.
While certain quality standards need to be upheld for any film, an animated feature such as Rio 2 lends itself to more of an imaginative telling of events. I’m going into spoiler territory here, but some didn’t like how Luiz, a loveable slobbering Bulldog, managed to travel over 2000 miles from Rio de Janeiro to the Amazon.
There are countless animated features where animals creatively travel great distances to reach their destination. Plus, Luiz arrived at the very end of the film so his journey is a little realistic if you want to get technical. My point is that there is no reason to get technical or read into it with any deep analysis. The audience was happy to see Luiz after it appeared he wouldn’t be able to join his friends in their Amazonian adventure.
Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Blu brought the character to life as his portrayal of a domesticated bird in the wild consistently brought a smile to my face. His domestication is looked upon as a handicap, but it’s ultimately his greatest strength and what saves the day, with a few hiccups along the way.
There is one scene where the Blue and Red Macaws played each other in a Soccer match. I predicted what the outcome would be, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it any less when Blu scored the winning goal for the opposing team. It came off like a Sportscenter moment gone wrong, and Blu’s victory dance before he realized his mistake, was the icing on the cake.
Rio 2 falls short of living up to its predecessor, but that’s ok. It’s a film that stands enough on its own to merit positive praise instead of “egg-laying” discontent. It’s fun, funny, and kind of makes me wish I had a fanny pack-wearing Blue Macaw.