Academy Award Winner Anne Hathaway reprises her role as the voice of Jewel in “Rio 2.” Separated from her family after a massive fire where they nested, she finally reunites with her family in the second outing of Blue Sky’s worldwide hit (“Rio”) where she and Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) finally get to live with their own Blue Macaw species.
Jewel, along with the reluctant Blu and their three chicks named Bia, Tiago and Carla fly to the Amazon when Linda and Tulio, now married, discovered a single blue feather swung past them after a dangerous fall from the Amazon’s rivers. Convinced that the Blue Macaws are nestled somewhere within the thick forest, Linda and Tulio set out farther into the forest to find them.
Armed with the knowledge of Linda and Tulio’s finding, Jewel decides her family must pick up stakes and take a walk – make that flight – on the wild side. “In ‘Rio,’ we learned that Blu and Jewel were the last of their kind, but in the new film they learn they might not be –that there may be other Blue Macaws out there,” notes Hathaway. “So it becomes important to Jewel to find who’s out there in the Amazon. She’s thrilled there could be more like her and Blu.”
Upon their arrival, Blu and Jewel meet the locals, including Eduardo (Andy Garcia), a larger than life patriarch with a firm set of rules, who becomes a comedic obstacle for Blu; Mimi (Rita Moreno), Eduardo’s warm and sassy sister, who likes to speak her mind, even to her overbearing brother; and Roberto (singer-songwriter-record producer Bruno Mars), a perfect specimen of a wild bird who charms everyone around him and makes Blu self-conscious. As Blu tries to fit in, he worries he may lose Jewel and the kids to the call of the wild.
Among “Rio’s” multitude of fans are two of its leading lights: Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. “The filmmakers and director Carlos Saldanha set a high bar with ‘Rio,’ but they’ve just blown the sky open with “Rio 2!” exclaims the Oscar-winning actress. We’re reintroduced to Hathaway’s Jewel and Eisenberg’s Blu in RIO 2’s spectacular first scene, which tops even the gala musical sequence that opened “Rio.”
As Blu remains as domesticated as ever, but Jewel is concerned that the children are becoming more like humans than birds, and that they may never know how to be birds. Anne Hathaway explains: “Jewel grew up in the jungle and the kids are being raised in Rio, so there’s definitely more of a human influence on them. They listen to music players, eat pancakes and watch TV. Jewel is not the biggest fan of that kind of domesticity.”
Finally arriving at their destination – the largest jungle in the world – the family takes in the marvels of the Amazon: massive trees of all types, the limitless flora and fauna, and giant rivers. It is a much bigger canvas, and thus more challenging to render than building the city of Rio in the first film.“We wanted to capture the vibe of the forest and its harmony, with nature and with animals,” comments Saldanha.
To everyone’s shock, especially Jewel’s, the family discovers that the leader of the lost flock of Blue Macaws is Jewel’s dad, Eduardo, portrayed by Andy Garcia. “Eduardo is the top bird,” says the veteran actor and Oscar nominee. He’s passionate about his family and his flock, as well as the Amazon and the sanctuary he’s created for his fellow Macaws.”
“We had the idea of adding the emotional core of exploring Jewel’s back story,” producer John C. Donkin continues. In ‘Rio,’ Jewel had remarked that humans had taken everything from her. So we came upon the idea that she had been separated from her family and that was a perfect thing to call back when they get to the Amazon sanctuary, where they discover that her father is the leader of the Tribe of Hidden Macaws. That became one of the film’s big moments. And it also sets up the humor about Blu not being able to fully relate to Eduardo, and vice versa.”
Initially grateful that Blu has brought Jewel back into Eduardo’s life, the stern patriarch quickly becomes a disapproving father-in-law. “Eduardo is joyful about reuniting with Jewel and discovering he’s a grandfather, but as he gets to know Blu, he finds much about his son-in-law to be annoying, or worse,” Garcia notes.
“Rio 2” opens April 9 in more than 200 screens nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.