‘Rio 2′: The Reviews Are In

How does the animated sequel fare with critics?

A few years ago, the delightful, colorful “Rio” flew into theaters and audiences’ hearts and became a huge animated hit.

Now the Blue Macaw gang is back in “Rio 2,” with Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway reprising their roles as Blu and Jewel, the endangered lovebirds from the first movie. And they’re joined by some new talent, most notably Jamie Foxx and Andy Garcia, who plays Blu’s intimidating father-in-law.

The huge cast of voice actors also includes will.i.am, Bruno Mars, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Rodrigo Santoro, Leslie Mann and even Jemaine Clement as the hilariously villainous Nigel from the first film.

While the film is sure to be as vibrant as the first, it’s always hard for a sequel to capture the magic of the original. Do critics think “Rio 2″ soars, or are they casting stones at the movie’s birds? Here are some of their thoughts on the movie, which opens Friday (April 11).

“Solid Animated Gold”
“With a splashy Brazilian-themed musical score, top-notch voice talent and sharp-witted writing, the sequel to ’Rio’ (2011) is one delightful animated romp. It’s as good as the first one and sure to please both the kiddies and adults with its two-tiered humor.
“Kudos to director Carlos Saldanha — who helmed those wonderful ’Ice Age’ films — for again mining solid animated gold from his bevy of exotic (and not-so-exotic) avian creatures.” — Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times

Don’t Stop The Music
“Supervised by composer John Powell, more emphasis has been placed on the music of this film, which benefits from numbers by artists like Bruno Mars (who also voices the smooth bird Roberto in the film), Janelle Monae and celebrated Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown.” — Jessica Herndon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Kids Will Love It And Learn From It
“The storyline is a bit on the scant side so adults aren’t going to find it terribly engaging. But younger audiences, preteen and earlier, are going to come away with a couple of useful lessons — the first about not rushing to judgment about others, and the larger one on the importance of protecting nature from human depredation — that are presented in a way that is entertaining [with minimal] preachiness.” — Bruce DeMara, Toronto Star

A “Silly Symphony,” “Entertainment Machine”
“Enjoy the silly symphony of jungle colors, in that lush ’Avatar’ palette, and unexpected moments of inspiration like the montage of the Blu family’s flight to the rain forest, in which tourist sites are fleshed out from pop-up book items to the fulfill the movie’s 3-D potential. Even when it’s coarse and calculating, this is an eager entertainment machine that will keep the kids satisfied.” — Richard Corliss, Time.com

Come For The Colors, Stay For The 3-D
“We’re grading on a sliding scale here. But if ’Rio 2′ is hardly Pixar quality, it’s certainly better than the average animated sequel … Most impressive: the striking vibrancy of the animation. This is the rare movie that earns the extra cost of 3-D glasses. And then, of course, there’s the fact that it’s out just in time for spring break. Come next week, Saldanha may well be the best friend a frazzled parent has.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News