After the success of animated movie The Mitchell's vs. The Machines back in April, Netflix are back with Vivo, a musical about a Cuban street performer named Andres who is invited to perform live in Miami with Marta Sandoval, his love that left to pursue her career in music. Unfortunately, Andres' untimely death means he is unable to make the concert, leaving it down to his pet Kinkajou named Vivo to deliver a song that Andres wrote for her. He never got the chance to tell Marta he loved her, so Vivo must make sure she finds out.
Written by Becca Johnson
After Hamilton's arrival to Disney+ and the theatrical release of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda is becoming a household name and a family favourite. Vivo sees him pairing up with Sony once more for their first-ever musical adventure, and his song-writing flavour runs true throughout the run-time. The songs never quite hit the heights of his previous accolades, yet there are some undeniably great songs that will ensure the audiences feet are tapping throughout. Vivo has fast-paced, rap style tracks aplenty, showcasing Miranda in his comfort zone with some very clever song-writing. The tunes are catchy, the lyrics are fun and the movie is bound to leave you smiling and dancing.
As the movie takes viewers from the Caribbean to Florida, all visuals and animations are gorgeous. It's colourful, vibrant and bright, from the streets of Cuba to the depths of the swampy jungle. Our lead character Vivo is bound to be a firm favourite, the kinkajou not just appearing as tremendously cute but offering hilarious screams and funky upbeat tracks. It opts for a similar visual style to The Mitchell's vs. The Machines yet is also reminiscent of Pixar classics; wherever the team got their inspiration from, Sony never fail to create beautiful animation.
At the centre of the movie is a gorgeous love story about a man who let the love of his life go to pursue her dreams, and it has huge heart. It's great to see Vivo travelling and helping his owner to achieve something he never had the time or courage to do, showcasing love in its purest form. We also meet Gabi, a young girl who helps Vivo cross the country to deliver the song; she understands his journey as she too lost her Father. The story is there, as are the important life lessons for a young audience, yet at times it feels like something we have seen before. It sits comfortably in the world of animated family movies, yet struggles to do anything new and stand out from the rest. A few of the characters unfortunately appear as annoying rather than likeable, and the same can be said for the songs.
Vivo is a solid effort from Netflix. A cute animal in the lead role is always entertaining, the animation is gorgeous and the story has a nice balance of fun and emotion. It easily has the ability to tug on the heartstrings of the audience, as well as get them up dancing with their loved ones. However, the writing is a little weak at times, with sub-plots that force the central storyline to lose its momentum and take a back burner, and characters that may not always be welcomed by viewers. The tracks are far from the best that Lin-Manuel Miranda has written, but they are definitely catchy and perfect for their target audience. Vivo is bouncy and upbeat at the time, but perhaps not the most memorable.