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Soundtrack review: Rio (John Powell – 2011)

Composer of the month Franchises John Powell month

Soundtrack review: Rio (John Powell – 2011)



“Rio” is one of the multitudes of animation franchises form the past few years. The story of the funny macaws has already seen a second part. This review is part of “John Powell month” and there is a reason John Powell gets to score the most famous animation movie series: he’s the best at it.

The opening of this score, “Morning routine” is magic. You enter wonderful and relaxing place and I swear I hear an instrument that also features on Hans Zimmer’s “Last samurai”. There was an echo in this cue that transported me instantly to that special place. There are a few moments like this one on “Rio” and these sudden bursts of emotions (listen to “Bagged and missing” and “Bedtime flyers”) on top of the usual fun and adventure cues are what make Rio work for me even better than other animation scores.

The excitement also comes from the Latino influences in the music. You’ll have a blast listening to the dance of “Chained chase”. The inserts of bird noises also work very well and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this composition. I am having way more fun listening to it than I was expecting. I think the variety of themes and influences keep “Rio” fresh and entertaining. There also a dash of James Bond in “Idiot glider” or an old school romantic comedy sound in “Juicy little mango”. For me “Rio” never loses its steam and I recommend it if you want a taste of a Tropical vacation.

Cue rating: 82 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 45

Album excellence: 38%


Morning Routine

Bagged And Missing

Chained Chase

Idiot Glider

Bird Fight

Rio Airport


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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