In 2011, animated film director Carlos Saldanha briefly slipped away from his immensely popular Ice Age franchise to helm Rio, a similarly family-friendly adventure, but one that took viewers into the much brighter and more colorful world of Rio de Janeiro - and into the lives of two very special macaws.
With its vivid, crisp animation, charming voice cast, energetic songs and upbeat tone, Rio became a hit with both audiences and critics, paving the way for Rio 2, which we are getting a peek at this week in a newly-released full-length trailer (above).
Like its predecessor, Rio 2 aims to benefit from its aesthetically-pleasing setting and its flock of life-loving characters. As outlined in the trailer, the sequel takes viewers on an adventure to the Amazon rainforest, where the domesticated Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), his mate Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their children plan to connect with their roots among the host of indigenous wild animals, which are sure to provide some thrills, laughs and lively musical numbers along the way.
However, as with any journey of self-discovery and growth into uncharted territory, danger constantly lurks nearby. In this film's case, that danger comes in the form of Blu and Jewel's old nemesis, Nigel the Cockatoo (Jemaine Clement), who is back for revenge after being bested by the pair of Macaws in the first film.
The sequel appears to be utilizing all the successful elements of the first film, including most of the original voice cast. Along with Eisenberg, Hathaway and Clement, Leslie Mann (This is 40) is returning as Linda, the girl who adopted Blu; George Lopez is reprising his role as romantic Toucan Rafael; Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is back as the bottlecap-sporting Yellow Canary Nico; and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock) is once again voicing Luiz, a bulldog with an embarrassing drooling condition. The film also introduces some new characters to the party, including Jewel's long-lost father Eduardo, voiced by Andy Garcia (Ocean's Eleven).
While Rio 2 will likely be short on surprises, it should delight fans (mainly the younger ones) of the original film and could provide an entertaining night out (or in when it comes to DVD/Blu-Ray) for the family.
Rio 2 flies into theaters on April 11th, 2014.
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