When we think of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s name, we automatically think of perfection. After all, the prolific artist is behind some of Broadway’s most successful musicals, most notably “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” (the latter premiered in theaters under the title “In A Neighborhood in New York “, which has won over audiences around the world). As if that wasn’t enough, Miranda was also responsible for the flawless “Moana” soundtrack and starred in the entertaining “Mary Poppins Returns”, alongside Emily Blunt. So it’s no surprise that the upcoming “A Jornada de Vivo” animation has created very high expectations for fans, including yours.
The story, quite simple and intended for an audience of children and young people, takes us to the vibrant world of Cuba, and revolves around Vivo (Miranda), a little jupará passionate about music who performs in the central square of La Havana next to the owner. , Andrés (Juan de Marcos González). At first, the two have a very pleasant life without too many problems – that is, until the moment when Andrés receives a letter from an old love, Marta (Gloria Estefan), a famous artist who puts an end to his musical career and wants to sing one last time song on stage by his side. Andrés has always been in love with Marta and hasn’t had the opportunity to reveal his feelings to her, deciding to cross the ocean and meet her at a spectacular Latin club in Miami. Vivo is not very happy with the decision to leave the house he knows, but after the unexpected death of his owner, he decides to make his last wish come true.
Overall, the feature, which marks Sony Pictures’ first musical foray into music, had it all going for it, especially given the vast culture behind the plot. However, the result is far from what we expected and becomes a tedious amalgamation of empty formulas that only speak the obvious. In fact, even the songs, also composed by Miranda, don’t seem to escape the obvious as they did in previous productions: in playing Vivo, the performer uses the same rap verbiage, combining it with uninspired cumbia. and a Cuban salsa that does not have a place in history. Even the most emotional moments have no effect on the viewer – or perhaps those looking for something as marketable and unidentified as any other half-ass title on Netflix.
Nothing seems to fit smoothly here: Kirk DeMicco’s direction doesn’t try to dare a little more, devising a melodramatic and simplistic emulation of “The Croods”, animation he was responsible for in 2013. The script does not. find no flaws in the imitations he makes – and borrows pages from the classic hero’s journey without knowing how to deconstruct them. After all, Vivo leaves her comfort zone for a grandiose mission, crosses paths with several forgettable and disposable secondary characters, just to complete what we had imagined from the beginning. Along the way, none of the obstacles faced by him or his human companion, Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) are credible enough to engage audiences.
The antagonists – if you can call them that, since they don’t change the plot in any way – squander the talent of names like Estefan, Zoë Saldaña, and Michael Rooker on characters so one-dimensional they are funny. The very aesthetic of the production feels raw and unfinished – and it’s remembering that the legendary Roger Deakins was hired as visual supervisor: the inappropriate expressions and forced catharsis the script wants to ram his throat into culminates in a circular surrender that says nothing more than we were already expecting and that is worth Vivo’s kindness (when he didn’t provide any dialogues).
The assembly process does not go too far off the curve, tangent to an attempt at dynamism that fails in all aspects. At one point, Vivo and Gabi walk through a swamp filled with crocodiles, giant snakes, and a torrential storm, singing to forget their troubles and keep Andrés’ memory alive. Erika Dapkewicz, in charge of editing, aims to make the overcoming of adversities spectacular, creating encounters and disagreements which, in the end, only leave us more exhausted than before and reveal no artistic value.
VIVO – (LR) Lin-Manuel Miranda as Vivo and Ynairaly Simo as Gabi. © 2021 SPAI. All rights reserved.
I cannot, however, fail to comment on the film’s beautiful intention to model a narrative about friendship, sacrifice, and love that, detached from so many amateur mistakes, had enough potential to thrill viewers of all. ages. In the end, the promises of ‘A Jornada de Vivo’ are limited to the world of the imagination, fleeing reality to the detriment of cinematographic truisms and a total lack of originality.
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