2011's computer-animated hit "Rio" featured one element that superseded the mundane plotting and only-okay script: its dazzlingly distinctive depiction of Brazil's seaside city of Rio de Janeiro and the area's flashily colored annual Carnival celebration. If the writing was mostly uninspired and the character types exceedingly familiar, at least the title locale was cool to drink in. For "Rio 2," returning director Carlos Saldanha and screenwriters Carlos Kotkin, Jenny Bicks, Yoni Brenner and the late Don Rhymer (who passed away from cancer in 2012) have made the bewildering decision to set at least ninety percent of the film two thousand miles away in the Amazon rainforest. Indeed, after the opening ten minutes, the eclectic, visually resplendent city is never seen again, traded in for a comparatively monotonous backdrop of near-constant greenery. More baffling still—and despite its luscious appearance—Rio is viewed negatively as a smog-filled rat-trap worthy of escaping and never coming back. Suffice it to say, the Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau should be none too pleased—nor should anyone expecting the film to keep the momentum going following the recent much-better animated features "The LEGO Movie" and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman."
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