A vivid and delightful animated spectacle, “Rio 2″ is chock-full of colourful 3-D wonder and jubilant musical numbers set against a tale of family dynamics and environmental dilemmas.
The sequel opens with a vibrant New Year’s Eve bash, as partying in the music-filled streets of Rio de Janeiro is punctuated by fireworks bursting above the Christ the Redeemer statue.
Supervised by composer John Powell, more emphasis has been placed on the music of this film, which benefits from numbers by artists like Bruno Mars (who also voices the smooth bird Roberto in the film), Janelle Monae and celebrated Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown.
After mating in Brazil in 2011′s “Rio,” rare macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) now have three lively kids who have become accustomed to the same domestication Blu was brought up on in Minnesota. They’re attached to gadgets like iPods and eat pancakes for breakfast, which irks the raised-in-the-wild Jewel.
But the family heads off to the Amazon rainforest, to Jewel’s delight and Blu’s strife, when they get wind that a tribe of blue macaws may live there and are being pursued by Blu’s past owner and animal lover, Linda (voiced by Leslie Mann), and her husband, Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro).
With a few of the quirky supporting characters from the first film in tow — including birds voiced by George Lopez (as frisky toucan Rafael) and Jamie Foxx and will.i.am (as rapping canary-and-cardinal duo Nico and Pedro) — they soar through a dazzling journey to the rainforest, making the often-wasted 3-D effect worth it as we take in the broad scope and graphically layered flair.
Once there, Jewel discovers the large macaw crew is led by her long-lost father (Andy Garcia), who is unimpressed with his daughter’s choice of a mate. He can’t help but roll his eyes over Blu’s use of a GPS or a Swiss Army kit rather than the use of his own sharp beak. But their classic in-law banter is sublimely comical.
Brazilian native writer-director Carlos Saldanha and Don Rhymer returned to pen the story. But they try too hard to make up for the minimalist plot of the original and drown in subplots: Blu battles with Jewel over staying in the wild versus returning to the city; Linda and Tulio clash with a few bad guys threatening to cut down the rainforest (the film’s eco push); and Blu’s old rival, Niguel (Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords”), pops up with a beautiful yet poisonous neon pink and purple frog (an angelic and cutesy Kristin Chenoweth) plotting revenge. Phew!
And then there are the moments when characters break out into song. Niguel’s hotshot rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” seems a little ill-set when he really should be crooning a sinister track a la Ursula’s “Poor Unfortunate Souls” in “The Little Mermaid.”
The sweet voice of Hathaway shines with her solo lullaby. But it’s Chenoweth’s Broadway-like delivery that trumps all when she belts out an anthem on forbidden love. Though the original songs here are whimsical and fun, few are irresistible.
With so much going on, it’s a wonder this kids’ movie is only five minutes longer than the original. But for the music and brilliantly picturesque look, it’s worth the 3-D ticket.
“Rio 2,” a 20th Century Fox release, is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America. Running time: 101 minutes.
Nikon Introduced 18-300mm f/3.5–6.3G ED VR in DX Format
If you want a single lens that can cover every imaginable shooting situation and doesn’t weigh down your bag, this is it. Offering the same incredible reach as Nikon’s acclaimed AF-S DX NIKKOR 18–300mm f/3.5–6.3G ED VR lens in a much more compact body, this new NIKKOR is ideal for budding photography enthusiasts looking for a lightweight option that captures diverse perspectives. A truly versatile ‘all-in-one’ lens, Nikon’s advancements in lens design ensure a remarkably compact build without compromising image quality: ED glass and aspherical lens elements deliver sharp, high-contrast images, and Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system ensures dramatically clearer still images and video capture even when shooting handheld at the super-telephoto end of the range. Perfect for travel as well as amateur sports or wildlife photography, this lens is a strong performer with remarkable reach.
Incredible reach, compact build
The high-power AF-S DX NIKKOR 18–300mm f/3.5–6.3G ED VR puts practically any subject or composition well within your reach, while the surprisingly compact design makes this lens the smart choice when you want to travel with minimum kit. The incredibly versatile 16.7x zoom range goes from wide-angle to super-telephoto (35mm equivalent: 27–450mm), easily covering countless situations: from group shots to vast landscapes and exciting cityscapes; from distant sports action to wildlife photography, this is a super-zoom that has all the angles covered. Built to offer maximum flexibility and maximum portability, the lens’ sophisticated optical and mechanical design allows a compact design that doesn’t sacrifice image quality: by suppressing the open aperture at the maximum telephoto position to f/6.3, Nikon’s engineers were able to realise a more compact design than the larger AF-S DX NIKKOR 18–300mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR. As its smaller and lighter sister, this new NIKKOR 18–300mm VR lens answers the demand for a powerful, and more affordable, all-in-one lens that can go anywhere and tackle any kind of subject.
Smooth and steady
Equipped with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system, this super-zoom delivers clear, blur-free images, whether you’re taking a wide-angle group portrait in low light, or zooming in to capture distant subjects. Designed to enable more stable handheld shooting, Nikon’s VR technology lets you shoot at slower shutter speeds, without the image-degrading blur that can be caused by camera shake. The optical VR system also stabilises the viewfinder image, enabling more accurate autofocus acquisition and framing, especially at the longer focal lengths of the 300 mm zoom range. In addition, Nikon’s compact Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology delivers fast, accurate and whisper-quiet AF operation across the extended zoom range with intuitive manual override.
Strong optical performance
Crafted to draw stunning results from high-resolution DX-format D-SLRs, the optical design of the new NIKKOR 18–300mm VR lens features 16 elements in 12 groups. Three ED glass and three aspherical lens elements are employed to effectively manage the risk of aberrations that can occur with super-zoom lenses: Nikon’s extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements minimise chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings, and the aspherical lens elements virtually eliminate aberrations.
Go light zoom
Weighing in at an economical 550g, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18–300mm f/3.5–6.3G ED VR is incredibly light for a lens with this kind of range. The lens features a weather sealed lens mount and boasts a zoom lock switch, which prevents ‘zoom creep’ (the lens moving under its own weight when tilted during transportation) and maintains compact dimensions when not in use.
16 elements in 12 groups (including 3 ED lens elements, 3 aspherical lens elements)
Angle of view
76° – 5° 20′
Minimum focus distance
0.48m (1.6ft), from focal plane at all zoom positions
No. of diaphragm blades
Filter attachment size
Diameter x length (extension from lens mount)
Approx. 78.5 mm x 99 mm
Approx. 550g (19.4 oz.)
67 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap LC-67, Rear Lens Cap LF-4