Vivo Movie Review - A Family Musical Journey

VIVO - (Pictured) VIVO (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda). ©2021 SPAI. All Rights Reserved.

There's something special about the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda and now he is back in action making musical magic families can enjoy together.  From Sony Animation and Netflix, Vivo is an adventure filled with friendship, love, and - yes - music!  Miranda voices the adorable title character, an adorable kinkajou named Vivo.  Will families love Vivo?  Let's find out!

Vivo Movie Review 

Let's start with the story.  Vivo, a musically minded kinkajou, works together with a young girl, Gabi, to travel to Miami from Havana, Cuba which leads to the adventure of a lifetime.  There's so many good messages throughout the film.  Gabi certainly marches to her own beat and isn't afraid to challenge everyone's idea of who she should be.  Vivo has to learn to embrace the uncertainty of the journey in life to achieve his goals.  The movie and it's messaging just felt "good" watching as a family together!

VIVO - (R-L) GABI (voiced by Ynairaly Simo) and VIVO (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda). ©2021 SPAI. All Rights Reserved.

What steals the show in Vivo though?  The music!  This should be no surprise when you know that the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda is behind the songs and voices the title character of Vivo.  I dare you not to be dancing in your seat watching this one. . .and it will probably only take another viewing before we're singing along too.  The music has a very In The Heights feel to it - the rhythm is quite infectious!  

I also enjoyed how well made the movie is from a production standpoint.  The animation is spot on and the vivid colors add to the feeling of a fiesta!  The cities chosen as the setting for the movie - Havana, Key West, and Miami, are often times not featured in animated films and the movie does a great job of highlighting the culture and feel of these cities.  I've visited each of them and felt like I was transported back to each one throughout the movie.

Vivo - Background image from Netflix and Sony Animation

Ultimately, Vivo is about friendship, love, and perseverance.  It's a musical journey that the whole family will absolutely love.  We can't wait to watch it again (and again. . .and again!).  This is another homeroom hit from Sony Animation and Netflix this year - joining the already critically acclaimed The Mitchells vs. The Machines.  Vivo debuts on Netflix August 6, 2021!

About Vivo (From Sony Pictures and Netflix)

From Netflix and Sony Pictures Animation — the studio that brought you Oscar winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and this year's critically acclaimed blockbuster The Mitchells vs. The Machines — comes Vivo, an animated musical adventure featuring all-new songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Hamilton and In the Heights. Vivo follows a one-of-kind kinkajou (aka a rainforest “honey bear,” voiced by Miranda), who spends his days playing music to the crowds in a lively square with his beloved owner Andrés (Buena Vista Social Club’s Juan de Marcos). Though they may not speak the same language, Vivo and Andrés are the perfect duo through their common love of music. But when tragedy strikes shortly after Andrés receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval (three-time Grammy-winning Latin pop legend Gloria Estefan), inviting her old partner to her farewell concert with the hope of reconnecting, it’s up to Vivo to deliver a message that Andrés never could: A love letter to Marta, written long ago, in the form of a song. Yet in order to get to Marta, who lives a world apart, Vivo will need the help of Gabi (newcomer Ynairaly Simo) – an energetic tween who bounces to the beat of her own offbeat drum to fulfill his owner’s wishes.

Also featuring the voices of Zoe Saldaña (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Gabi’s mother, Rosa; Michael Rooker as a villainous Everglades python, Lutador; Brian Tyree Henry and Nicole Byer as a pair of star-crossed spoonbills; and Katie Lowes, Olivia Trujillo, and Lidya Jewett as a trio of well-meaning but overzealous scout troops, VIVO is an exhilarating story about gathering your courage, finding family in unlikely friends, and the belief that music can open you to new worlds.

The film is directed by Oscar nominee Kirk DeMicco (The Croods), co-directed by Brandon Jeffords (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2), written by Quiara Alegria Hudes (In the Heights), produced by Lisa Stewart (Monsters vs. Aliens), Michelle Wong (Hotel Transylvania 2) and Oscar winner Rich Moore (Zootopia), with visual consultation by Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049). Serving as the film’s composer and executive music producer is Tony and Grammy award-winner Alex Lacamoire (The Greatest Showman), and the film is executive produced by Miranda, Golden Globe winner Laurence Mark (Dreamgirls), and Louis Koo Tin Lok (The Mitchells vs. The Machines).

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