At 80-plus, I'm probably the world's oldest and most ardent fan of Blu and Jewel and their stories in "Rio" and "Rio 2." I'm ashamed to confess how many times I've watched and re-watched their adventures unfold. The delightful characters, avian and human, teach us important lessons about conservation while keeping us laughing every step of the way.
I love the way Jesse Eisenberg develops the vulnerable and impressionable Blu as he travels from his cage in Minnesota to the Brazilian jungle. Anne Hathaway, for her part, achieves perfection as she interprets Jewel's self-assured mastery of nature and ultimately reveals a tender spot for Blu. Their lines are funny, clever, and wise.
All the characters are great, the music is awesome, and some of the scenes of Brazil, especially Rio, capture the beauty of this land in "4"-D, better in ways than photography could.
In Rio 2, we find Blu and Jewel now happily married with three children. This sequel is less about personal transformation and more about saving the rainforest. Still, most of the same characters come back to delight us. The lines and the acting are equally excellent and the entertainment value is just as high.
These two films are favorites in my book, definitely recommended for all ages!