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‘Vivo’ Review—Vivid, Vibrant, Victory

No spoilers!

By Jonathan SimPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

This is a review for Vivo, which you cannot watch on TiVo; it’s a movie from Sony, it’s not about a pony, it’s about a kinkajou, the cutest animal since Pikachu!

You notice how your body is locking up from the cringe that has resulted from my attempt at rapping? That should give you more respect for songwriters and lyricists like Lin Manuel-Miranda, whose talents are the reason why I have no place in the music industry.

Anyways, the newest animated musical comedy has arrived on Netflix. Kirk DeMicco directs Vivo, the second film of the year to feature a screenplay from Quiara Alegría Hudes and music from Miranda after In the Heights. This movie follows a kinkajou named Vivo (Miranda), who goes on an adventure to deliver a love song.

2021 has given us wonderful animated films such as Luca and my favorite of the year, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, another Sony Pictures Animation film to go directly to Netflix. Is this movie as good as that film? No. But not many films are.

This is an enjoyable, likable animated film that is sure to entertain families everywhere. It’s a wonderful option for parents who want to turn something on for their kids at home without having to pay an extra $30 for a Premier Access title like Jungle Cruise.

Anyone who has seen Hamilton or In the Heights knows exactly what to expect from a movie with music from Miranda. You’re gonna get amazing rhymes, excellent performances, and songs better than you could write in a million years.

Are the songs here as good as those in Hamilton and In the Heights? No. Those were much larger productions with greater ambitions. This is a 99-minute movie made for kids. The musical numbers are smaller-scale. No one song stands out as better than the rest.

If you’ve seen a Disney animated musical, you’ve probably heard better songs from a PG movie. The songs of Vivo may not catch on the way Miranda’s other work has due to the film’s dedication to having children as the target demographic. However, they’re still quite nice to listen to.

DeMicco, who previously gave us The Croods, helms this film with a charming energy. The opening musical number gets creative with how the “camera” moves throughout the scene, using transitions and visuals to give the film a wonderous sense of fun.

In the long run, the film can be a bit forgettable, with an adventure story that feels like something made for four-year-olds on broadcast television. It can also feel a bit jarring hearing Miranda’s distinct singing voice come out of the character of Vivo, who doesn’t look like he would have Miranda’s voice.

However, the film is entertaining. It has a few excellent moments of comedy that can even make the parents watching laugh. The movie doesn’t end in a big finale action sequence the way most films do, but instead, the film goes for a quieter, more emotional ending.

It spends a serviceable amount of time with the characters, and the emotional moments work well. Boasting colorful animation and some nice songs, this is a vivid, vibrant victory that is sure to bring a smile and maybe a teardrop to the families who turn it on.

Grade: ★★★✬☆ [7/10, B-]

Jonathan’s Tips: Just like with Jungle Cruise, if you want your kids preoccupied for a bit, turn this on. If you’re a huge LMM/Hamilton/In the Heights fan, lower your expectations a little, but try this out.

Watch Vivo only on Netflix on August 6.


About the Creator

Jonathan Sim

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings.

For business inquiries: [email protected]

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