RIO 2 (G)
102 minutes / Opens tomorrow / **½
The story: Blue macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) lead a peaceful life with their three kids in Rio de Janeiro, but Jewel dreams of living in the wild. When their owners Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) and Linda (Leslie Mann) discover a hidden tribe of blue macaws in the middle of the Amazon, the birds fly out to see what life is like there, much to the chagrin of the overly domesticated Blu.
Visually, this movie certainly matches the standards of its predecessor, boasting images that are just as bright and stunningly colourful. The scenes in the Amazon are especially pretty to look at, when the rainbow-hued birds fly through the lush earthy jungle.
But the sequel lacks the heart and warmth of the earlier work, where rare Brazilian blue macaw Blu, voiced to geeky perfection by Eisenberg, was utterly believable as the insecure bird who eventually learns how to be more self-confident.
Here, he has a whole set of new problems to worry about, being a coddled pet bird who is thrown into the wild rainforest. But his characterisation is so thinly drawn this time around that he just appears bratty and tiresome throughout.
His partner Jewel fares even worse: Her sprightliness, so pronounced in the first film, completely disappears here, making her so bland that it would hardly have mattered if any other actress were to take over Anne Hathaway's voicing duties.