Vivo is a fun and entertaining musical animation, thanks to never-ending songs that work well in making up for the film's deficiencies.
Directed by Kirk DeMicco and produced by Sony Pictures Animation for Netflix, the film stars Lin-Manuel Miranda as the titular character, a gifted Kinkajou who must journey to Miami, Florida to fulfill his late friend's dying wish.
Vivo encounters the spirited Gabi (voiced by Ynairaly Simo), a musically inclined young girl who happens to be the great-niece of his deceased pal.
Put off by her overbearing nature, ditches her at first but when he sees an opportunity to travel inside her bag to get to his destination, he goes along for the ride.
Gabi is a rebellious child who misses her late father. Her mother doesn't understand her and their relationship is a little strained. So, she's ecstatic when she finds Vivo in her bag on getting to the city. Together, they form a temporary partnership that grows into a bond made stronger by the adventures they encounter in their musical journey.
I wasn't thrilled by the character designs and the storyline is basically a rip-off of almost every musical animation ever made. Apart from Vivo, Gabi and the latter's mother, the other characters in the film don't leave any lasting impressions.
The first 20 minutes or so of the movie was torture for me but things become really interesting when Vivo and Gabi reach the city.
In terms of the voiceover work, the actors do a fairly good job. While lead star Lin-Manuel Miranda won't win an Oscar for his performance here, I must say that the dude sure knows a lot about music and song composition. These more than anything else, save Vivo from being another mediocre animation.
The musical numbers are memorable (I particularly enjoyed Gabi's first rap song) and the visual effects that go with them, even more so.
For those who want a fun movie for the enjoyment of the entire family (especially those who love music), Vivo will appeal to you. Those looking for a film in the ranks of Disney's best, kindly look for something else to watch.
In the end, Vivo does just what it was created to do; entertain.