Sequels so often disappoint, but unlike most, Rio 2 is far from a disappointment. It's bigger, bolder, brighter and livelier than 2011's Rio, with plenty to keep the kids entertained.
Rare blue macaws Blu (Eisenberg) and Jewel (Hathaway) and their three kids are living in domestic bliss in Rio de Janeiro. But when the news breaks that they may not be the last of their kind – blue macaws have been seen deep in the Amazon jungle – the family sets off to investigate. Meanwhile, Blu's former "owner" Linda (Mann) and her bird-brained husband Tulio (Santoro) also head deep into the Amazon jungle in search of the newly-discovered "missing" blue macawas, but along the way they encounter a group of illegal loggers threatening the birds' native habitat. And also meanwhile, nasty Nigel (Clement), the cockatoo bested by Blu in Rio, is still out to get his revenge.
There's a lot going on in Rio 2 – as sequels go, it's a very busy one. There's a bunch of new characters to meet, not least of which is Jewel's long-lost dad Eduardo (Garcia) and her former paramour Roberto (Mars). Introvert Blu not only has to deal with being a fish out of water deep in the Amazon jungle – he's very much a city bird, lost without his satnav and his fanny pack – but he also has to try to impress to a bunch of butch birds led by his father-in-law. But the standout addition to this film is poisonous frog Gabi (Chenoweth), the "evil" sidekick to nasty Nigel who is absolutely besotted with him. And it has to be said that Nigel almost steals the entire movie with a wonderful rendition of the classic Gloria Gaynor number I Will Survive.
Rio 2 is a lot of fun. It received a lot of criticism for not being as clever or as knowing as a Pixar or DreamWorks film – but where those studios make their films for a family audience, Rio 2's maker Blue Sky (also responsible for the Ice Age series) is happy to make a film just for kids. And what's wrong with that? Kids deserve good movies too, and Rio 2 is perfect for children. It's big, bold and colourful, with lovely animation, great music and excellent use of 3D. Rio 2 is pretty much spot-on all round.
3D QUALITY ★★★★ It will come as no surprise to learn that the 3D is just as good on Blu-ray as it was in the cinema – perhaps slightly better, thanks to the shutter-glasses technology used for 3D TVs being a bit better than the passive, polarised-glases technology used in cinemas. CGI animated films seem to work better in 3D than live-action films, and Rio 2 is no exception in this regard. And as with most animated films of this kind, the 3D is at its absolute best in the flying scequences.
EXTRAS ★★★ TThere are two discs here, one with the film in 3D - plus a 3D deleted scene (0:39)- and the other with the film in 2D, plus the bulk of the extras, which consist of: the Rio Refresher (3:21), which is a quick precis of the first film; a the same deleted scene as on the 3D disc (0:39); the featurette Boom Shake, Snap: The Local Sounds of brazil (19:28); the featurette Birds and Beats: The Singing Talents of Rio 2 (10:19); the behind-the-scenes featurette Nigel the Shakespearean Cockatoo and Friends (7:17); the Music, Dance, Sing-Along Machine; the featurette You Be The Judge (1:49); the music video What Is Love, by Janelle Monae (1:37); a stills gallery; two theatrical trailers; the featurette I Will Survive Multi-Language Sequence (1:58); the featurette Protect The Macaws (0:33); and the teaser short Almost Home (1:52), for the new DreamWorks animated film, Home.