All the colours of the world :: I had decided not to watch a movie until Easter, but this Saturday was always going to be a free day, and another movie and some writing was around the corner. I hope you all had a good Good Friday, and yes, this day before the Easter Sunday is at the animated Amazon for me. A sequel to the animated movie of 2011 stays alive this week too, much to my surprise, and I decided to watch it this time even as I had chosen not to go for it last weekend due to the powerful flow of too many movies. The one thing everyone was to be sure about was that the movie was to be incredibly colourful. Well, it has too many blue birds, and the other colours just support the one dominant colour, and this presence of colours is not really the Vampire Bat’s area. In fact, there is always something about colours as far as most of the animated movies are concerned. But the Vampire Bat does like birds, even as he doesn’t fly (Rio itself was about a bird who couldn’t fly). Then there is Rio de Janeiro along with the Amazon forests, as one of those dream cities which needs a visit in one life or the other. So Rio 2 is in the list.
A flashback :: When Rio released in 2011 with the tagline “from the creators of Ice Age“, it was something to be missed. It was not to be as popular as the other creature-animation stuffs like Ice Age and Madagascar, but it was to leave something good enough to bring more later in the form of Rio 2. Another successful franchise was to begin there, and continue the success that most animated movies enjoyed. It was the story of two macaws, Blu and Jewel as they struggle to escape from smugglers, making a lot of friends in the city of Rio de Janerio and also falling in love. We see that the owners of the two birds who fall for each other build a sanctuary for them at the end and the hero who was a flightless bird getting to fly by the end and saving his love, the only other bird of the same species. It had a seventy two percent in the Rotten Tomatoes and did well with the audience too, as it scored nice at the box-office. But does this movie work well enough to be a worthy successor for that movie? I did have my doubts about that.
What is it about? :: Rio 2 continues the story a few years after the incidents of the first movie. The hero birds are having a good time in the city of Rio with their three kids, who are too naughty and strangely smart to handle. The things change when they come to know that they are not the last of their kind on the planet, as more macaws are alive and can be found somewhere in the Amazon. Jewel is very interested in going into the forest and finding the others, while Blu is uncertain and kids are looking for an adenture. He finally agrees to go as the other members of the family wants it so much and his friends have also decided to join the team, except for the bulldog who gets late. Meanwhile, their old enemy Nigel notices the team and pursues them with his newfound minions, a poisonous frog who is in love with him and a hesitant ant-eater who is always looking for food. The birds soon find what they were looking for, and the leader of the macaws turn out to the father of Jewel who is rather unimpressed by Blu’s domesticated and human-loving behaviour. But as humans invade and attempt to clear the forests, they have to work together so that they can save the macaw home as well as save the environment.
The defence of Rio 2:: Rio 2 has assembled the most colourful birds with animation, and this time, there are a few animals joining the party too, not just a bulldog; but the movie remains about birds and birds only. The major colour remain blue, thanks to our star birds, then there are the red ones, all moving around in the green forests, making the whole things mostly about three colours and its variants. These creatures dominate the screen and easily entertain the kids and impress the eyes of the elders. The success of this movie will be more about how the kids and the families take all these. Other than the birds, there is the beauty of Amazon forests as well as the charm of the city of Rio de Janeiro which will stay in our minds for quite some time, especially the Christ the Redeemer statue, the mountains and the aerial shots of the Amazon river surrounded by green forests. There is nothing like a landscape so beautifully recreated through animation. There is a certain amount of joy that one can get from watching such a spectacle on the screen, and there is no denying it. As one of the jewelry ads here say, “beauty meets quality”, that meeting was something needed by the movie though.
The claws of flaw :: The movie moves through predictable lines. There is nothing too unexpected. There is nothing much that you haven’t seen before either. There is the father’s relationship with the kids and the husband’s differences in opinion with his wife. There is the misunderstood male protagonist in the centre of all these, and nothing really makes us feel that much. That makes this more of an unnecessary sequel for the regular viewers, even as the box-office collections are going to prove that it was much needed for the makers. The songs are actually less interesting, and any expectation that it was going to be something like those in Frozen is not going have a happy going. They rather affect the movie in the wrong way instead of helping it. The villain has turned Shakespearean here, as a birdy Hamlet with a skull in his hands and saying “to be or not to be” and continues to perform as if he is on a theatre, but otherwise, he is less effective. His side-kick or the new Juliet feels more like a dropped frog from Romeo and Juliet, and sings rather too much. The 3D is wasted, and that hurts the visual experience, especially if you had to pay extra for the glasses.
Soul exploration :: The movie is all about the protagonist attempting to keep both the human and animal world with him, not disheartening his wife and children who are more into the wilderness stuff. He tries his best, but both the father-in-law as well as his wife’s childhood friend seems to feel that he is a misfit and a pet of humans who will betray the birds on this day or another, and in no way does he belong with them. There is so much of family issues right there. The nature conservation theme runs all around the movie, but is mostly lost, thanks to all the attention that is given to the colourful birds and all the thinking as well as stupidity that they perform while remaining cute. The evil of deforestation could have been given more importance, and nature had to take the centre stage like in Dr. Seuss The Lorax and Epic, but this one is clearly targeting the kids from the way in which they have treated the subject. Illegal logging has to be stopped and forests are to be conserved, but this movie doesn’t really give it more importance than the issues of a group of birds. By the way, the Shakespearean speeches are adorable.
How it finishes :: I would consider this the seventh best movie from Blue Sky Studios, after all movies of the Ice Age series, Epic and Rio. With Peanuts and Ice Age 5 coming up from the same animation film studio, we surely have a lot to expect from the same studio. For now, Rio 2 has survived and is still going strong enough even at this part of the world where the regional movies have captured most of the multiplex screens. With the Hindi 2 States and the Malayalam 1 By Two released this weekend, Rio 2 is still attracting the family audiences, and there lies its strength. The kids simply can’t resist these birds, and neither can the parents who find it a safe choice to watch with their little ones. Tarzan also had the India release here, but seems to lag. We can talk about innovations and new ideas all day, but this movie will surely continue to do well with the same idea so many movies have used and its own predecessor further adjusted. Even I didn’t want to miss this movie and after delaying the procedure of watching it for a week and rushed for it. Now the next challenge is Transcendence, and its critical opinion seems to drive people off.
Happy Easter! 🙂
Release date: 11th April 2014
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Starring (voice): Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Bruno Mars, Jemaine Clement, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, William Adams, Rodrigo Santoro, Jake T. Austin, Tracy Morgan, Bebel Gilberto, Andy García, Kristin Chenoweth, Rita Moreno, Rachel Crow, Amandla Stenberg, Pierce Gagnon, Natalie Morales, Janelle Monáe, Philip Lawrence, Miguel Ferrer, Jeffrey Garcia, Kate Micucci, Randy Thom
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.