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  • Composed by John Powell
  • Varese Sarabande / 2011 / 47:04

From the director of the Ice Age films and Robots comes Rio, an animation about birds going on an adventure in the Brazilian capital.  It has been a seemingly endless wait since the last time we got to hear a new John Powell score for an animated movie (about three days, I think) so it is with some relief that his name is found on the credits.  Ubiquitous they may be, but actually Powell’s work on these films is generally very good and there has been little sign of burnout (How to Train Your Dragon was one of 2010’s most popular scores and I loved Mars Needs Moms from a few weeks ago).  All the ingredients are here for another winner – the lively orchestration, the sweet themes, the underlying sense of fun – but I wonder if this score might just provide the first sign that the composer might need to take a bit of a rest from animation for a while.

It might just be me who needs to take a bit of a rest from listening to them, of course – it would be difficult to find much if anything here that I could put my finger on and say “that’s the part I mean.”  Rather, it’s all essentially a variant on something that’s gone before.  I expected much more in the way of building in the samba rhythms etc which one might expect, given the setting (and title) – there’s a bit of that, especially in the credited interpolation of various songs into the score, but mostly this is the very familiar sound that Powell’s fans have now heard on numerous occasions.  “Stale” would be pushing it – this is still enjoyable, still slick, still impressive.  Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with it at all.  I just don’t think I need to hear another one of these for a while.  ***

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  1. Paul (Reply) on Wednesday 20 April, 2011 at 16:39

    I must say that RIO IS NOT THE BRAZILIAN CAPITAL, OK?!.. ITS BRASILIA!! B-R-A-S-I-L-I-A. Your president has just come up here and U still don’t know it properly?! Too bad, so sad! =(

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Wednesday 20 April, 2011 at 23:05

    Aha, you spotted my deliberate mistake. Well done! The prize is on its way to you.

    However, I do not (as far as I know) have a president, unless you are referring to Herman Van Rompuy, which I doubt (he is rarely referred to apart from those commenting on how dull he is).

  3. christopher (Reply) on Thursday 21 April, 2011 at 01:17

    Bravo, James.

  4. Paul (Reply) on Thursday 21 April, 2011 at 22:14

    Deliberate mistake?! I do not think so, James…that’ a common mistake commmited by foreigners against Brazil (especially Americans and europeans) who have a narrow view about the nation and its people. Fortunately, you haven’t said that Brazilian capital is Buenos Aires (this could be considered deliberate!). As far as this review is concerned I must say that you’re better and better on doing so. Congratulations!

  5. Jason Farcone (Reply) on Wednesday 2 October, 2013 at 04:13
  6. Jason Farcone (Reply) on Wednesday 2 October, 2013 at 04:30