Encanto Review

Disney and Pixar have paved a path all their own in the animation genre. Encanto is in a category by itself within their canon and this genre. The definition of the title of the film, is quite frankly how I would describe this film. It has a beauty all its own, a richness of color and vividness of tapestries I rarely see in films these days. It stands on its own in the pantheon of Disney animated films in that regard.

The Madrigals are a family of gifted people who live in the jungles of Colombia. Years previously, the matriarch of the family found a magical candle. It helped her set up her Casita, where she could make a family and raise her children accordingly. As the years went by, the children were all granted gifts at a certain age. Gifts of strength, shapeshifting, controlling the weather, beauty, and so forth. Until one child, Mirabel, came along that didn’t get a gift for some unknown reason.

Encanto has a lot of metaphors about family and how they can be very dysfunctional at times. The young sibling feels they are left out in regards to their older brothers and sisters or even nephews and cousins. This is a familiar trope in movies going back many years. As an example, the Louisa May Alcott book Little Women (and its adaptations) deal with a similar subject matter.

Also, the main girl in the film has to get her elders to respect her on a level she thinks she deserves. Having parental or leadership figures not giving younger people respect is another familiar trope in films going back many years. They have a genre for that as well. It is called coming of age films. John Hughes made a career in films such as these. These two genres of films mixed with gorgeous Disney animation makes Encanto one of the best-animated films of the year. It’s definitely in the conversation for Best Animated Feature this year and could be nominated the Academy Awards.

A hallmark of animated films and Disney animated films specifically are the songs. Some very iconic songs have been sung in Disney animated films in the past decades by performers such as Elton John, Phil Collins, Idina Menzel, just to name a few. Dwayne Johnson sang “You’re Welcome” in Moana and that was very enjoyable yet surprising, to say the least. Lin-Manuel Miranda played a huge part in writing songs in Moana as well as Encanto, but the songs were more memorable to me in Moana than Encanto. The songs just didn’t have a hook I could get behind in this film. It’s not the worst thing though. The rest of the film is very solid.

A key element of animated films is their voice-over work. A who’s who of actors have voiced characters in animated films in the past. This film has a lot of Spanish-speaking actors and actresses in the roles. Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, Wilmer Valderrama, and Diane Guerrero just to name a few. The names, in this case, are probably more familiar with Latino audiences than me, but they all did a great job making me believe the dialogue being said on screen completely. I loved all the family banter being said and the accents.

The key elements that make Encanto a great animated film for me are the family elements, the breathtakingly gorgeous animation, and the fantasy Disney has come to be known for in their films. These three things make Encanto a must-see for all families especially those with little children and Latino families. This film has a magical feel to it that exudes beauty, love, and happiness.

4 1/2 stars

Dan Skip Allen

Sean Boelman

Founder/EIC disappointment media

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