Monday, April 21, 2014

Unrequested Critique: Rio 2

I want to congratulate the writers of Rio 2 for doing such a fabulous job writing such a terrible script. The problem with the script had nothing to do with the writers and everything to do with the directors, producers, and other studio suits who threw a slew of garbage into the film and then expected the writers to actually write a film containing all said garbage. That they pulled this much of a comprehensible script out of their asses shows their metal.

That much said, Rio 2 is an object lesson on how to not write a story.

Let's begin with the forced plot. I don't mean to say that the plot consisted of square pegs smashed into round holes, I mean to say that there were no holes to smash the shapes through in the first place. Every single character was forced into the story. Normally you expect that some characters will feel forced into a story, but in this case, even the title characters felt forced in except Dad, who already lived where everyone else was going.

As best as I can tell, some suit said, "The film happens deep in the Amazon," so the entire former cast had to pull up its city roots and move to a different location that wasn't Rio at all. They even got the dog there. (Mind you, getting the dog there was a good running gag, but really people, you didn't need the gag.)

We also had the textbook definition of too many plot lines:
  • Blue & Jewel
  • The Kids
  • Nigel's revenge
  • The poisoned frog's longing for Nigel
  • Tulio and Linda
  • Loggers
  • The handsome rival
  • Blue & Dad
  • Casting the Carnival show
  • Territory Rivalry
This film felt ADHD by the time that you reached the end.

Was this film fixable? Of course it was. Start cutting plot lines and expanding the plot lines that work better.
  • Here's what I would cut:
  • The Kids
  • The Hip-Hop birds and the casting of Carnival
  • Nigel
  • The Loggers
I would concentrate on the Blue & Dad & Rival, and the inherent tension caused by Blue's attachment to Linda. For that to happen, we would have to write an actual comedy with an actual story line rather than have a film filled with funny moments that is billed as a comedy.

* Linda and Tulio find the Blue Macaws
* Linda and Tulio release Blue and Jewel into the wild
* Jewel is welcomed home while Blue does badly fitting in
* An old rival to Blue shows up
* The blue macaws are in territorial rivalry with the red macaws
* Keep the brilliant soccer game
* Blue returns to Linda, a failure.
* Hand-wavy bit here
* Happy ending

Really, folks, the plot is very simple. It's a city boy in the country style comedy. It's a know staple. There are years worth of such film to mine for plot ideas.

New Boy -> Awkwardness -> Defensiveness -> Tries to fit in -> Blows It -> Gives Up -> Plot Twist -> New boy proves himself -> Final musical number

That's the plot that the writers used. Sneaky bastards. They got that past the suits.