Take flight on the further – this time 3D – adventures of Blu, his family and feathered friends as they travel into the Amazon rainforest, rediscover Jewel’s long-lost family and face a series of showdowns with everyone from illegal loggers to the villainous Nigel.
This time around, the party kicks off from the show-stopping opening scene, with pulsating samba rhythms and shimmying feathered hips centre stage as fireworks light up the New Year’s Eve skyline under the beatific gaze of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue on the city’s Mount Corcovado.
The mood is equally feel-good chez Blu, the exotic blue macaw who, since the conclusion of Rio, has set up home with Jewel and their three feathery offspring. But Blu’s cosseted world of domesticated bliss is about to be shattered by the news that an entire flock of blue macaws has been discovered in the Amazon. What’s a bird (now possibly not-so-rare) to do? Well Blu would happily stay home in voluntary captivity, but Jewel yearns for the call of the wild. Following the dictum “Happy wife = Happy life”, Blu acquiesces, and the family set off, along with comic sidekicks: toucan Raphael, Tweety-pie look-a-like yellow canary Nico, and red-crested cardinal Pedro (Will.I.Am, who manages to sneak in his “super mega dope” catch phrase along the way).
Life in the rainforest proves challenging for home comfort-loving Blu. Jewel’s head-of-the-clan father, Eduardo, is less than enamored with his new son-in-law (with shades of Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents), while the flamboyant Roberto – Jewel’s erstwhile beau – ruffles feathers with his flirtatious ways. When Blu tries to redeem himself in an airborne game of footie (the beautiful game had to make an appearance!), he ends up with the greatest ignominy of all: scoring an own goal. Where will the shame end?
Any epic odyssey worth its while needs some trials and tribulations: cue a tour de force return from villainous Nigel the cockatoo (hamming it up in thespian baritones by Jemaine Clement), who is set on wreaking sweet revenge on the adversaries who made him a “flightless freak”
Nigel is joined by two accomplices: a giant anteater, Charlie, and – stealing the show with her fluttering eyelashes and sighs of unrequited love – a pink poison dart frog, Gabi. Added to this, there’s skullduggery in the forest as illegal loggers begin felling the trees. Luckily, Blu has the chance to earn his wings along with the respect of his fellow macaws in a dramatic showdown reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Birds.
As his previous movies have shown, local Rio lad Carlos Saldanha (with director and co-writer credits) is adept at creating likeable, memorable characters whose crises of confidence resonate with viewers young and old. So if your children liked the original, this will hit the spot with its mix of adventure, songs, comic gags and visual flamboyance. And of course, a happy resolution (not to mention hip shaking tracks) will leave all the family with the feel-good carnivale glow.
Pictures courtesy Blue Sky Animation | Trailers courtesy Blue Sky Animation and 20th Century Fox
Themes Family values, friendship, loyalty, being different, the environment, nature, wildlife
Feel-good factor Exuberant song-and-dance numbers, plus plenty of visual comedy and witty one-liners that provide laughs for kids and parents alike.
Scare score The main antagonist, Nigel, is a mean-spirited and sadistic sourpuss, whose promise “I’ll be pooping on your party promptly” is full of foreboding. There are some gags that play on the brutal animal food chain, and the untimely demise of a sweetly singing bear cub (but don’t worry, she miraculously revives at the end of the movie). The big-booted, cigar-toting logger boss also exudes a rightfully menacing air. For sensitive souls, Blu’s increasing feelings of isolation might also prove a point for post-movie discussion.
Biggest laugh The Amazon Idol talent show audiences featuring the slow motion moves from the Capoeira turtles, and Nigel’s snarling rendition of ‘I Will Survive’ (see video, above).
The Moral of the Tale Be true to yourself and brave enough to stand up for what you believe.
Parenting Motto “Happy wife = happy life”
Best for… Ages 3+