Post the clinical and merciless evisceration of Brazil by Germany in the World Cup (the visitors rocketed in seven goals to one, if you were on another planet and didn’t hear), prints of this film are belatedly being screened in black and white to sobbing audiences in the land of Pele, Ronaldo and Neymar.
O jogo bonito (the beautiful game, or just plain soccer to those of us not in the least interested) suddenly got ugly for the blokes in yellow and the meticulously planned dovetailing of it with this kids’ blockbuster was subsequently drained of much of its colour (you’re a braver man than I if you are prepared to bet that ‘Rio 3’ will not be released to coincide with the 2016 Olympics).
Quite often (if you’ve not done your reading in prep), one of the most intense and diverting pleasures of animated features such as this lies in trying to identify who is voicing a part.
The lines of Blu, the macaw from Minnesota who flies away to Brazil with Jewel, were spoken in a deadpan, wise-cracking way that was driving me nuts!
Who is it? Finding out that it was Jesse Eisenberg blew me away and (rightly or wrongly) led me to a retrospective re-evaluation of the movie.
Visually, and in accordance with its very young market, it is strictly cartoonish as opposed to the stylised realism employed for older children (eg How To Train Your Dragon), but it is nonetheless beautifully drawn and splashed with daubs of primary, vivacious colours.
The musical scenes are especially good and it is encouraging to note that there are such things as carnivores out there in the jungle.
Rio 2 is what used to be called a bit of a romp and, as harmless fun, it can provide a decent dose of simple pleasure to whoever pulls the short straw and has to take the ankle-biters to the afternoon session.
~ John Campbell