Rio 2

Being a fan of the first Rio movie released in 2011, I was expecting a little more from Rio 2. I normally don’t have high expectations for sequels but with returning voices, catchy music and vibrant colors I was expecting this movie to soar. The overall quality of this 2014 movie was grand with beautiful computer animation and enjoyable music. I enjoyed new cast members including Oscar nominee Andy Garcia, Oscar/Emmy/Tony winner Rita Moreno, Grammy winner Bruno Mars and Tony winner Kristen Chenoweth. The storyline wasn’t too complex but the plot and character development was a little unorganized. It was difficult to really relate to some of the other characters besides the main cast because the story didn’t really keep my attention. Some of the characters were also unmemorable and a few of the songs within the film didn’t really relate to the plot itself. I did enjoy the message of the movie and the internal and external conflicts of the main character, Blu. There were also more than a few important messages, children and adults shouldn’t overlook. A few of the messages were related to environmental/ecological awareness, finding beauty around you, having a sense of belonging/purpose and finally, bringing your family happiness.
movieRio 2 was produced by Blue Sky Studios and directed by Carlos Saldanha who directed the Ice Age films and Rio. Rio 2 is also the first film to have a sequel for Blue Sky Studios that isn’t related to the Ice Age franchise. The film was distributed by 20th Century Fox with a budget of 103 million dollars. With mixed reviews, the film still did well financially gaining 480 million dollars at the box office. The story initially takes place in Brazil but the overall plot of the film takes place in the Amazon. Rio 2 will be released on Blu-Ray/DVD July 15, 2014. A rumor of Rio 3 is being circulated around the Internet but nothing has been confirmed. I would recommend seeing Rio 2 and I do expect it to win a few Annie Awards this year because of the soundtrack, concept work and storyboarding but I don’t think it’s Oscar material for best animation compared to other animated films this year.

When Marnie Was There

Omoide no Marnie or translated to Marnie of Memories is an upcoming Japanese film from Studio Ghibli. Studio Ghibli, if you’re not aware of has produced Academy Award winner, Spirited Away and other classical films from My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, Howl’s Moving Castle and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The film will be released on July 19, 2014 and is based off of the critically acclaimed novel, “When Marnie was there” by Joan G. Robinson.


With Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement more than a few months ago, the film has been written by Hiromasa Yonebayashi who will also direct the film. Hiromasa Yonebayashi has past experience with Studio Ghibli consisting of working on Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, From up on Poppy Hill and other famous works from Studio Ghibli. Toshio Suzuki who is a long time friend of Miyazaki and former president of Studio Ghibli, will produce the film. He is well known as being Japans most successful producer of all time.
“When Marnie was there”, tells the story of a mysterious friendship surrounding the main character Anna who befriends a stranger named Marnie. Much like other previous Studio Ghibli themes the story will revolve around adventure, friendship, family and belonging. The artwork for the film still uses the same 2D, “creative formula”, as past Studio Ghibi films with a few differences, but i do hope it doesn’t fail to disappoint. The soundtrack is beautiful with many instrumental tunes and complimentary color schemes. The movie has gained popularity in Japan from TV shows to commercials.  With an international release date yet to be announced I know from personal experience, Americans will be just as thrilled to see the movie. The trailer below will give you an idea about the film and later on throughout the month I will give you a detailed rating, once it’s released.

The Book of Life

The Book of Life will be another movie on my watch list this year. The Book of Life will be released October 17, 2014 and will be a computer animated adventure/romantic comedy. The film is produced by Reel FX, which is based in Dallas, Texas and founded in 1993. Jorge Gutierrez, a Mexican animator and writer, who has been nominated and awarded multiple Annie Awards and Emmy Awards, will direct the film. The movie will also be produced by, talented Guillermo del Toro, who is well known for his films Pans Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim.

The Book of Life is not an ordinary story about life and death. This film tells the story of a young man named Manolo who happens to go on a journey through three unique worlds to return to his love on earth.  The story gets a little complex considering there are major characters that play a threat to Manolo and other characters that wish to help him. One of these worlds includes the world of death where Manolo faces external conflicts as well as internal conflicts for his love and happiness. The story encourages people to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.
With a few setbacks on the films release date the designs of the film from backgrounds to characters are flawless and unique. The visual style has many vibrant colors and puts together cultural fashion as well as mythological storytelling from Mexico. The movie also has a wonderful cast including, Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Kat del Castillo and many more. Personally I think this movie that has spooky and Halloween elements will do very well for 20th century fox in the same month as Halloween.

The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls has been on my movies to keep on watch for, since it’s unveiling from Laika a few years ago. The Boxtrolls is an upcoming 2014, 3D and 2D stop motion comedy/adventure film that will be released September 26. The Boxtrolls is loosely based off of the novel, Here Be Monsters! written by Alan Snow. The novel has been well received for young adults and has been compared to books with fantasy and magic in likeliness of Harry Potter. I don’t want to give out to much information on the novel but the movie should be promising.

I remember watching the first trailer of Boxtrolls and immediately fell in love with the quirkiness, detailed stop motion effects, and music.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Laika does with this film considering their past films with stop motion consist of Coraline and Paranorman. Both films have been critically acclaimed throughout award shows and audiences in general. It has even been rumored that, The Boxtrolls will be a strong contender in a nominee for best animation at the Oscars later in the year, which I’m hoping for.
Boxtrolls promotional poster
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