Friday, November 26, 2021

Encanto - Movie Review


The Movie: Encanto

The Directors: Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Charise Castro Smith

The Cast: Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, María Cecilia Botero, Diane Guerrero, Jessica Darrow, Angie Cepeda, Wilmer Valderrama

The Story: The tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto.


The Review:
This is the 60th animated feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios and wow did they pull out all the stops for this one. Just look at how beautiful the images are in this review and then imagine what the whole movie looks like on a big screen in a theater. I will tell you that it is an absolutely amazing experience from a visual standpoint and then we also get a great story as well so this movie is a win all the way around. The word encanto translates in English to charm, or delight, or joy which is very appropriate because this is such a charming story that is a delight to watch and it will fill you with joy.

The story is set in Colombia and the creative team goes to great lengths to add in the culture and traditions and values of the region in very thoughtful ways. Every part of the world has its own traditions and history that shapes and forms the people that inhabit these spaces so it's always great to see when one is given time to shine on such a grand scale. This is by no means a classic fairy tale story yet it does have fantastic elements to it like how each member of the family is given a special gift, or super power ability in a way, that helps them to make a contribution to their community.

Mirabel, the teenage outlier of the family, is the focus of the movie and her journey is very much a coming of age tale, the kind where she must find her place within the family in order to save it. Overall the story is pretty straightforward when it comes to the Disney formula but the execution is nearly flawless and the immersion into this magical world is pretty amazing. Also, the representation of South American and Latin culture is very important and it's amazing how many people get to see themselves now in a big time Disney production.

As I mentioned earlier, the animation is absolutely stunning which is impressive because Disney, Pixar, and other studios have been churning out amazing works of animation for years so it's no easy task to come up with something that provides those jaw dropping moments. The colors are so vibrant, the textures look and feel so natural, and the whole thing is presented in such a vividly charming way, I really can't see how another title for the movie could have been any more appropriate. Oh, and the music is pretty incredible with a score from Germaine Franco who previously received the Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature for Coco as well as songs from the incomparable Lin-Manuel Miranda.


The Verdict:
Encanto highlights the beauty and vibrant textures of Colombian culture in a way that is so joyful, you can't help but get caught up in the storytelling. This movie is a triumph in animated filmmaking and an essential entry into Disney Animation's catalog of family friendly features.


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