Rio 2

Composed By: John Powell

Distributed by: Sony Music

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In Rio 2, the sequel to the computer animated film Rio, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and their three children decide to leave their happy domestic life in Rio de Janeiro for a trip to the Amazon.  Seeking to assist Blu's former owners with their rescue of some wild macaws, the family comes into contact with a number of interesting characters...most interesting of all: Blu's father-in-law.

                Having created the musical score for the first film, it was no stretch of the imagination that the creators of the sequel would once again look to British composer John Powell to create the score for Rio 2.  Beginning his music career as a child by training to become a violinist, Powell eventually ventured into jazz and rock, playing in a band called the Faboulistics before graduating from London's Trinity College of Music.  Composing music for commercials led to a job as an assistant composer to Patrick Doyle.  By 1995, Powell had co-founded Independently Thinking Music, a London-based commercial music house.  By 1997, he had created the musical score for Face/Off and there was no looking back.   Since then, Powell has created scores for such notable films as The Bourne Trilogy, The Italian Job, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, X:Men: The Last Stand, Happy Feet, Jumper, Hancock, Bolt, Green Zone, How to Train Your Dragon and more.

                Based in Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon, the score of Rio 2 has an island feel, featuring instruments like guitars, maracas, brass, strings and keyboards.  In an effort to create that special sound, local artists were employed to work on the album - artists like the instrumental group UAKTI; well-known Brazilian singer, songwriter and guitarist Milton Nascimento; singer Carlinhos Brown; and the Barbatuques, a band that makes organic music using the body as an instrument.

                The result - even the 20th Century Fox Fanfare receives the island treatment.  Batucada Pagode is such an amazing percussion performance, I found myself drumming along on my desk.  This island sound mixes in well with Powell's comedic score that we have come to expect from animated films.  Romeo and Juliet's Unfortunate Demise features that classic cartoon romance sound, surrounded by the island sounds supplied by UAKTI and Barbatuques, a perfectly enjoyable blending of the two styles.

                The Rio 2 Soundtrack is a fun musical experience featuring a classic animated score blended with a Rio de Janeiro sound that is well worth taking a listen to.


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