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dir Carlos Saldanha
prd Bruce Anderson, John C Donkin
scr Don Rhymer, Carlos Kotkin, Jenny Bicks, Yoni Brenner
voices Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Jemaine Clement, Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars, Kristin Chenoweth, Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Rita Moreno
release UK 4.Apr.14, US 11.Apr.14
14/US Fox 1h41
Feathers-in-law: Jewel's dad welcomes most of her family
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
This animated sequel has a somewhat scattershot approach, mixing lively characters and some visually stunning sequences with lazy writing, clunky direction and several forgettable songs. And most of the story elements feel compromised to make them soft and safe, which squeezes the life out of the movie.
Now living happily in their Rio de Janeiro bird sanctuary, blue macaws Blu and Jewel (Eisenberg and Hathaway) have three precocious children and a menagerie of buddies. But when they learn that their keepers Tulio and Linda (Santoro and Mann) may have discovered a blue macaw colony in the Amazon, they all migrate north to see for themselves. Sure enough, this turns out to be Jewel's old home, run by her father (Garcia) and guarded by her heartthrob ex Roberto (Mars). Meanwhile, an evil logger is trying to destroy this section of the rainforest.
There are essentially three movies crowded in here: the central Meet the Parrots silliness as Blu has to prove himself to a demanding father-in-law; a save-the-rainforest adventure; and a goofy revenge action-comedy involving Blu's old nemesis Nigel (Clement) and his amorous poison-frog partner Gabi (Chenoweth). If the screenwriters had concentrated on two of these, something might have caught hold. But the frantic, zany mayhem never feels properly constructed, so this ends up feeling like one of those sequels that merely coasts on the charms of the original without offering anything new.
That said, after the clunky opening sequence in Rio, the jungle scenes have a visual vibrance that's impressively detailed, plus elaborate musical-number choreography and some enjoyably whizzy action sequences. And the voice work is energetic and engaging, most notably Chenoweth's operatic excesses. But the Latino-style songs are forgettable, and there isn't a single surprise in the simplistic plot.
In the end, nothing about the sequel feels nearly as focussed as the sharply witty first movie. The plot lines get lost in the contrived antics, and the characters flutter around without much to do besides crack jokes. Even Blu's arc from the city to jungle feels like rehash of his journey last time round. So while we enjoy the general on-screen chaos, it's difficult to care. It's as if the filmmakers thought that dazzling the kids with colourful plumage was enough. And it just might be.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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