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Nothing less could have been expected from a film with stars like Manuel Miranda and Gloria Estefan than pure music gold.

This is a film that takes musicals to their purest form and utilizes animation to its highest benefits by not just representing the character's emotional turmoil or joy but transforming the world around them in ways that only animation can make possible without destroying the temporal barrier of the space-time continuum. And boy do they try to break the fabric of reality, with moments transcending into something akin to what Disney has done in the Fantasia films, adding surrealistic and abstract elements that flow with the melody.

The story has its flaws, no doubt about it, the best stories have flaws, I mean how small do they think the everglades are? You can’t cross them on a raft in a few hours.

That aside I personally disliked some tropes used here such as Andres dying, which I don’t think would have mattered if he had stayed alive but whatever flaws the story would have, are saved tenfold by the charisma of the characters and the music.

There is a clear progression in their relationship, and it is entirely natural how they move from being strangers to being family, and even the well-intentioned “antagonists” if so, can be called the scouts, do very naturally move from rivals to friends, nothing is forced.

But then that is a theme in the film, overcoming resistance to change, to new ways to a new life, but at the same time respecting what the old ways taught and knowing how to evolve through them not just blindly and pretentiously thinking you can make something out of nothing.

This is best represented by the two protagonists Vivo an alumnus of traditional Cuban music and Gabi a little girl with one of the most interesting designs I've seen in animated films and who with blind passion runs headfirst into music pushing to be as loud and original as possible. The clash goes initially as well would be expected but eventually, a balance is found. And while this is a relative trope of modern films it is also done masterfully well-handled and even the obligatory dance sequence at the end that has many of us rolling our eyes is in fact something I was looking forward to because of the musical aspect of the film. But if I am, to be frank, I would have been just as satisfied without it.

Vivo is a certain must-watch even if you think the story has been done a million times it takes bold chances not the least of which are the main characters themselves. The particular musical composition Manuel Miranda and the presence of the legendary Gloria Estefan and Juan de Marcos Gonzales help make this film something truly unique.

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