Review ‘Encanto’: Disney Animated Musical Tries to Sing New Tune

“Encanto” is an emotional movie about how family can hurt us and how “normal” can be a four letter word.

Throughout the 59 animated entries, Walt Disney Animation Studios has come a long way, not only when it comes to the technology used to weave their classic stories, but in terms of their overall ability to tell a story simply. The 60th entry in the Disney animated series, Byron Howard, Jared Bush and Charise Castro Smith’s Extravagance”EncantoFeels like one of the more emotionally complex animated features of the Mouse House, even if its story ends up trying too hard to wrap that nuance in a very neat bow. .

Mirabel Madrigal (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) comes from an exceptional family – literally. A magical candle has blessed generations of Madrigals with special powers, from super strength to the ability to talk to animals. Unfortunately for Mirabel, she’s the only one who doesn’t have any said powers, causing conflict between her and her Abuela Alma (Maria Cecilia Botero). As Mirabel begins to believe that the magic in the candle is fading, she is determined to do whatever she can to save her family and its incredible legacy.

At the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles, a preview of clips from each of the studio’s 59 previous animated films was given as a means of celebrating “Encanto” as the The latest in a long line of classic movies. But seeing the reminders of all those movies, while celebrating on the surface, also shows how similar “Encanto” is to dozens of other movies, from “Meet the Robinsons” to ” Beauty and the Beast”. That familiarity doesn’t hurt the movie, though, and often enhances (and sometimes helps tie together) the story of Mirabel and the other magical Madrigals.

Previous Disney movies often used fairy-tale elements to help their main characters stand out. In “Encanto”, it is Mirabel’s normal look that sets her apart from the others in her life. Here, we see Mirabel’s struggle for autonomy and acceptance in her family. Her parents, aunt, and uncle are good people, but they can’t hide their belief that Mirabel is different – especially her Abuela, who regularly tells her to stay out for fear of interrupting add the candle and its life. – the powers of forgiveness.

“Encanto” may not be public about your disability, but it cannot be unrelated to it (and Mirabel) if you come from a family where something about you is not considered “standard”. Despite how many people live in her magical casita, Mirabel is isolated, even having to sleep in the nursery because her lack of ability means she doesn’t have a super magical bedroom of her own. Beatriz’s voice work is a perfect fit for a young woman who tries to put on a brave face and smile, but feels constantly rejected. For all of Mirabel’s efforts to be her value prover, from being agreeable to taking care of the housework, it never fills the void of constantly feeling below average. jar.

Encanto Disney



However, because the emotion in Mirabel’s own journey is so rich, the rest of the movie tends to feel thin, even with the fairy tales, drama, and action that seem poised to happen. anytime. The candle’s magic is fading and the casita – and the entire family according to the extension – are threatened with annihilation, yet nearly half of the film’s story focuses on Mirabel and her family dynamics Long before the actual action takes place halfway through Mark’s movie, other characters are still being introduced, including Bruno (John Leguizamo), son of Abuela, whose gift of prophecy resulted in his expulsion. It’s unfortunate that Bruno shows up too late in the movie, as he and Mirabel are the two halves of the coin that need to work in sync.

The other supporting characters also stand out, and despite the reduced screen time, they often get a good scene before being forgotten. Jessica Darrow’s work as Luisa, Mirabel’s super-strong sister, is a particularly enjoyable one, especially in a live musical performance that includes dancing donkeys. Similarly, many of the musical’s songs are solid, though audiences will likely remember the specific scene in which they appeared – the dancing donkeys! – more than their actual title. No one would doubt that any of this would go into regular radio play.

Like “Raya and the Last Dragon” from earlier this year, “Encanto” boasts a similar vibrancy quality that wows viewers. The Colombian setting and casita are lush and engaging but more importantly, the difference in their characters and facial expressions is amazing. Simply seeing Mirabel’s reactions to things around her sometimes appears as if she were a live cartoon, not a live animation.

Despite lingering worries about the magical candles, it is the relationship between Mirabel, Bruno and their Abuela that really constitutes the central conflict of the story. However, for all the deep emotions that come from Mirabel’s attempt to be loved for who she is, “Encanto” ultimately tackles these dramas all too clearly. Hearing Mirabel tell how she messed everything up can only inspire deep hurt, and it seems like their entire tribe has endured decades of grief in their desire to be perfect for her. that. Mirabel’s sister Isabela (Diane Guerrero) is even willing to marry a man just because her grandmother wants her.

The screenplay for the film was written by Bush, Smith, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, which attempts to provide an exploration of how Abuela Alma came to be. Inevitably, it is associated with pain, trauma, and death. Has she provided for her family? Correct. Did she give them a beautiful life? Correct. But that doesn’t negate the decades of people around her believing that her love is conditional.

Mirabel, who had her entire sense of self-worth determined by Not strong, lived her life thinking that her Abuela didn’t care about her the same way she did when she was just a kid. It’s very difficult to undo all of that with a simple apology. Yes, this is a Disney movie, but with a script that tries to the last minute to say you are defined by how you see yourself, it would be much more satisfying to end up with something that implies that you can’t repair years of trauma like magic, at least anyone can start today. For those who look beyond ready-made dramas, “Encanto” is an emotional drama about the ways families can hurt us, and the word “normal” can be a four-word word. letters like. It’s a lesson and a tune that don’t always go together, but at least provide a magical, dramatic spark.

Class B-

A Disney release, “Encanto,” hits theaters on Wednesday, November 24.

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Aila Slisco

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