Kirk DeMicco, Brandon Jeffords
Kirk DeMicco, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Peter Barsocchin
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldana
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG for some thematic elements and mild action
Vivo (Lin-Manuel Miranda) is a music-playing kinkajou who was raised from a young age by a musician in Havana. After receiving a letter from a long lost love, Vivo embarks on the journey to fulfill his promise to deliver a love song to Florida, in this new Sony animated musical that may not be a classic, but still has a lot of things to offer.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has had quite the decade in entertainment, and these past couple of years we have been receiving a lot of the new ideas and projects that Miranda signed on to post-Hamilton (not entirely sure if that’s accurate here due to how long animated films take to make). ‘In The Heights’, and Hamilton have both been given uniquely different film treatments, and now we have an animated musical to add to that.
The film has a beautiful story that may be emotionally difficult for younger kids in the first few minutes of the story. be warned, it does have a pretty sad moment that may be hard for a child to be able to bounce back from in one viewing. I love the message of s second chance, whether it be personal in your career, family, or love. the voice acting is all top-notch and the singing is great.
Some of the music can feel a little too familiar to Miranda’s previous work, and if you are looking for that style and tone you will love the film. To me there didn’t seem to be any “hit” that I can see myself listening to in the car later on, and I have done that with both ‘Hamilton’ and ‘In The Heights’. But to be fair, this is a kids movie, maybe I’ve aged out from this style.
Still, there was something missing with ‘Vivo’ that just doesn’t quite make it as good as it could be. Sony Animation has been working really hard with ‘Spiderverse’ this years ‘Mitchell’s vs. the Machines’, but this story just doesn’t feel as fleshed out and explored like the others, even if emotionally it still packs quite a punch.
Overall, I had a pretty good time with ‘Vivo’ and did tear up in the end enjoying the journey I had watching it. Definitely check it out this weekend if you have kids, it is far better than a lot of animated films that are out there and the music may resonate with you and them more than it did for me. Still supporting the Lin-Manuel Miranda supremacy!