Director Jared Bush, Byron Howard
Voices Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo
Scott’s Review #1,323
Reviewed December 16, 2022
Encanto (2021) is a lovely film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. It’s part musical, part fantasy, and part comedy with plenty of bright, colorful, and culturally significant sequences, that are quite pleasing to the eyes.
The musical numbers are wonderfully catchy and fun, especially the standouts ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ and ‘Welcome to the Family Madrigal’. Since the musical numbers are mostly created by Lin-Manuel Miranda and composed by Germaine Franco they are professional and memorable.
The film has a wholesome, upbeat yet diverse quality that makes it challenging not to enjoy.
The representation provided is a significant win for the film.
The setting of Columbia helps with this and the main character, Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) is darling. Her positive and forthright personality is cheerful and instantly likable and I imagine inspiring young girls everywhere.
It’s nice to see Disney branch out to an international reach in today’s world of inclusion and diversity.
The Madrigals are an extraordinary family who lives hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a charming residence called the Encanto.
The magic of Encanto is well known throughout the nearby town and its magic has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift, except Mirabel who mysteriously has no gift.
Or so it would appear.
When Mirabel discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger of running out she may be their last hope.
The success of Encanto lies in the character of Mirabel. She is imperfect and unique but she is strong and confident, not fitting a mold. This is what Disney does well to make her relatable. You could say that Mirabel feels left out and isolated, different from her more conventional siblings.
The most important goal is to create a character that the audience can embrace and feel that they are similar to. Since the target demographic of Encanto is young females the idea is successful.
The animation is also inspiring. Challenged with replicating the mountains of Columbia in a genuine way the gorgeous, lush locales can frequently be seen in sequences. The way the family estate rests along the landscape made me want to be there with them.
The colorful pastels and psychedelic moments are dizzying in a good way. The costumes alone are evidence of this including embroidered wool with cool patterns. With pinks, purples, blues, and yellows it’s an orgy of spectacular images.
The Madrigals appear to be an affluent family revered by their community but besides having magical powers it’s unknown how they cultivate their wealth. They serve the villagers with their gifts but what does that mean exactly? Are they paid with cash?
Encanto (2021) won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and this is no surprise. The Academy sometimes rewards creativity and diversity over mainstream fluff and this film is an example of when the academy gets it right.
The film can be enjoyed by the entire family for multiple reasons instead of a product appealing to kids whose parents are forced to tag along.
Oscar Nominations: Best Animated Feature (won), Best Original Score, Best Original Song-“Dos Oruguitas” (won)