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Encanto | Disney MoviesReview

Encanto (Family, Musical, Animation) (2021)


Director: Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith

Writer: Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith

Stars: Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, John Leguizamo, Diane Guerrero

Years ago, when the founding member of the family Madrigal had to flee from conflict, she was mysteriously transported to a magical realm. To this point, her family still lives in this magical place, each with a special gift they get at a certain age... Except for Mirabel, she somehow never received her gift and thus feels left out of the family.

Taking about five years to develop after Jared Bush and Byron Howard had finished ‘’Zootopia’’, they brainstormed with Lin-Manuel Miranda to make their idea of creating a Disney Musical a reality. Having the co-operation of Miranda defined the concept and created the thought behind the Latin-American family dynamics driving forward the plot. Despite hesitance to feature as many fully-developed characters as ‘’Encanto’’ does, it was also Mirando who convinced Disney Animation studios to do so, influenced by the idea that in the film ‘’Moana’’ the main was meant to have several brothers before they were cut from the project.

Encanto (2021) - IMDbArriving after Disney and Pixar projects like ‘’Soul’’, ‘’Raya and the Last Dragon’’ and ‘’Luca’’; ‘’Encanto’’ furthers the line of cultural identities within Walt Disney Studios. It seems like a positive development, having thoroughly enjoyed all previous films named. As well as including a cultural theme, it appears to be very much inspired by older Disney movies, not only due to it being a Musical, songs being a prevalent motif in the classics, but also the living home, which seems similar to ‘’Beauty and the Beast’’ Where the furniture had animated appearances.

Review: Encanto (2021) | It's A Stampede!

As colourful and vibrant as the aforementioned films were, ‘’Encanto’’ feels especially vivid due to its South American setting. Family is on top of the board as the narrative guides household Madrigal through an increasingly problematic situation. It’s a less intense plot, though; there are no evil monsters and the reason the family head fled her original village is also not a worry since they’re protected by the valley they inhabit. The only supposed ‘’villain’’ is Bruno, the scapegoat who’s been ousted due to his ability to prophesise the family’s troublesome future.

Looking into the songs, ‘’Surface Pressure’’ positively surprised me due to its messaging and more untraditional sound for a Disney film. Most songs do, in fact, sound like modern pop songs, less traditional ballads as we’re used to from the classics. So many characters within it do seem to struggle a tad with giving them all their time on-screen with proper development, the hit-song ‘’We don’t talk about Bruno’’ is the prime example of this, giving each character their time to sing and dance despite being somewhat under-used the rest of the film.

Having said all that, I applaud the animators for the realistic feeling animation, the subtleties in body movement of most characters felt accurate while, of course, still being 3D animation. And I preferred the general aesthetic over the ‘’La Luna’’ animation used for ‘’Luca’’. Still, the narrative itself felt slightly lacklustre; there just wasn’t enough time to include a gripping story within about an hour and a half of running time.


While a magical ‘’living’’ house might sound perfect, it just isn’t as ideal as you’d think.