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Soundtrack review: Rio 2 (John Powell – 2014)

Composer of the month Franchises John Powell month

Soundtrack review: Rio 2 (John Powell – 2014)



“Rio 2” is the 2014 sequel to the animated movie about the macaws and cockatoos. I really enjoyed John Powell’s score for the first movie so I’m looking forward to this one as well.

Even more than the first score, this second one focuses on the traditional Brazilian sounds and instruments. John Powell also invited a few well known Brazilian guitarists and percussionists to help on some cues and the result is wonderful if you like bossa nova or samba music.

It takes a while for this score to grow on me. The first half is ok but serves more as background music. It’s not until the gorgeous “Escorted to the clan” that “Rio 2” really takes off. It doesn’t do more than that though and even if it’s melodic and enjoyable from then on it is weaker then the first score. It lacks the freshness and fire of that one, it lacks the nonstop fun that ”Rio” provided. The action cues are always interrupted and I cannot get attached to a motif because it stops abruptly and another one comes in.

“Rio 2” ended up as a rather frustrating listening experience for me. I had my mind opened for a good animation score, I loved the first one but this time I could hardly find anything to related to or enjoy. The score felt a little rushed in parts and lacked the heart of “Rio”…

Cue rating: 66 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 6 / 51

Album excellence: 11%



Escorted to the clan


Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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