En route to Amazon, 'Rio 2' explores Brazil's musical diversity
By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the opening scenes of "Rio 2" begins, so does the beat.
The film, a follow up to 2011's successful animated film "Rio," picks up where the first one left off, with hip-shaking rhythms and Tropicalia styles along Rio de Janeiro's famous beaches.
But this time around, the movie about a family of the rare Spix's macaw birds shows off the South American county's diverse musical heritage, branching off from the signature bossa nova and Carnival music of the Atlantic Coast and venturing into the rhythms of the Amazon region.
"It's hard to think about Rio or Brazil without thinking about music," said director Carlos Saldanha, a Rio native.
In the 3D animated film, which will be released by 20th Century Fox in U.S. and Canadian theaters on Friday, music works as a vehicle to help illustrate the melting pot of Brazilian culture, the 49-year-old director said.
"This was always the kind of stuff that came to my head when I was making this movie," he added. "It has to have a very integrated musical component to it because I wanted to be able to explore different rhythms, different styles and vibes."
The film begins with the vibrantly blue family of macaws, headed by the father Blu, as voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, and mother Jewel (Anne Hathaway), who leave their bird refuge in Rio for a trip to the Amazon to find a possible colony of their critically endangered brothers and sisters.
But first, the movie aims to draw in audiences with its biggest hope for a radio hit: R&B singer Janelle Monae's song "What Is Love," a Brazilian-influenced dance track that is supposed to evoke Rio's roaring New Year's Eve parties. Continued...