The Art of Rio

An in­sight into how con­cepts for Rio and its se­quel were cre­ated.

ImagineFX - - Reviews - Au­thor Tara Ben­nett Pub­lisher Ti­tan Books Price £25 Web www.ti­tan­ Avail­able Now

As the colourful and charm­ing world of Blu, the rare Blue Spix Macaw, re­turns to the big screen in Rio 2, fans can now en­joy the artistry be­hind both movies in this lav­ish 192-page hard­back. Fea­tur­ing over 300 pieces of con­cept art, char­ac­ter sketches, paint­ings and in­ter­views with artists, this is a de­tailed, pre­dom­i­nantly vis­ual guide to how Blu and co were brought to life.

The book opens with an en­gag­ing for­ward from Car­los Sal­danha, the film’s di­rec­tor, who pas­sion­ately de­scribes how both movies ended up be­ing a love let­ter to the vi­brant city of his child­hood. And how, even though hav­ing only three Brazil­ians in a vis­ual crew of over 300, each artist be­came im­mersed in Rio’s colourful cul­ture, which in­spired a wealth of amaz­ing art­work.

The first chap­ter – and the best of the lot – is on char­ac­ters. These pages are over­flow­ing with in­spi­ra­tional im­agery, in­clud­ing rough sketches, early con­cept art, paint­ings, fi­nal ren­ders, sketches of ges­tures and poses, the de­tail of which you could pore over for hours. The ded­i­cated bird sec­tion in this chap­ter is par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy, fea­tur­ing beau­ti­ful il­lus­tra­tions of all kinds of species of Blu’s feath­ered friends, com­plete with a stun­ning early colour vari­a­tion chart by artist Vin­cent Di Ngu­gen. There’s no deny­ing the amount of won­der­ful art­work on these pages. How­ever, we’d have like to have seen some ini­tial sto­ry­boards from both films, along with a few more early it­er­a­tions of cer­tain char­ac­ters, just to see how each was de­vel­oped over time.

The copy that runs through­out the book is ex­ten­sive but not im­pos­ing, and doesn’t dis­tract from any of the art­work. With in­ter­est­ing movie facts and in­sights from the film’s artists, it’s def­i­nitely worth a read.

The lo­ca­tions sec­tion is also well done. It opens to mul­ti­ple pages of in­tri­cately drawn pen­cil sketches of build­ings and in­te­ri­ors, be­fore mov­ing on to lush, colourful land­scape paint­ing and il­lus­tra­tions. True to Rio’s roots, it’s here where you can see the amount of in­flu­ence the city had on the film’s artists, with the essence of Brazil’s cap­i­tal cap­tured in the most beau­ti­fully stylised way, mak­ing it recog­nis­able while not re­sort­ing to pho­to­re­al­ism.

As an ac­com­pa­ni­ment to Rio and its up­com­ing se­quel, this book does a beau­ti­ful job of show­cas­ing the amaz­ing crafts­man­ship and talent be­hind both films.

From ba­sic body shapes, the art team used a range of crest de­signs and coloura­tion to pro­duce these ex­otic song birds.

The tongue of Char­lie the anteater, a hench­man from the sec­ond film, gave him ex­tra per­son­al­ity.

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