Disney's newest animated film charms viewers while bringing magic to life.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is back with its 60th film in a beautiful portrayal of Colombian culture. With a stunning soundtrack, vibrant animation, and a compelling message, Disney creates magic once more in Encanto.
The film whisks viewers to a dazzling world of color deep in the mountains of Columbia, introducing the magical Madrigal family. Presided over by Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero), the Madrigal family is defined by a miracle that gives the entire family special powers, all except for Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). Mirabel stands out as the only one who isn't "special" among relatives who possess abilities like superhuman hearing, prophesying and healing. While struggling to find a place in her extraordinary family, she stumbles upon a mystery concerning the fate of the miracle.
Venturing on a journey to solve the mystery, save the miracle and prove herself, Mirabel reveals both the pain and love of the Madrigal family. Along with her sisters, Isabela (Diane Guerrero) and Luisa (Jessica Darrow), Mirabel helps her family find themselves while discovering herself.
Encanto emphasizes a message of self-acceptance and being yourself, while portraying unbreakable familial bonds. Showing both Mirabel's affirmation of her identity without powers and Isabela's and Luisa's revelation that their powers don’t define them, Encanto conveys that every individual decides who they are. All in all, the film expounds the universal message that family is always family, and no matter how different members of a family are, they will always love and be there for each other.
Of course, also being a musical, these revelations are accompanied with songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, famous for the hit Broadway musicals "In the Heights" and "Hamilton". His signature lyrical flow meshed with traditional Colombian instruments and a seamless score by Germaine Franco make the songs catchy beyond end. Every song perfectly encapsulates the characters in Encanto using traditional instruments such as the tambora bass drum, marimba de chonta, and the gaita.
The opening number, "Welcome to the Family Madrigal" has an energetic percussive instrumental that accompanies Mirabel as she whirls through town. The vitality and beauty of the town are accentuated in vivid color, with seamless transitions. Characteristic of Miranda's flow and lyrical genius, "We Don't Talk About Bruno" is one of the best songs in the film as the lyrics and beat fuse together perfectly.
Not to be forgotten is the majestic presence of Colombian culture throughout the film in the vibrant color palette, architecture design, soundtrack and more. In an interview with Condé Nast Traveler, along with co-director Charise Castro Smith, directors Bryan Howard and Jared Bush (known for Zootopia and Moana) remark on the inspiration they took from Colombian culture. "There’s just so much of Colombia that feels like a place of wonder and fantasy and magic—and that's definitely something we're hoping people get to see in the movie and want to go see for themselves," Bush says. Taking a two-week-long research trip to Colombia, Howard and Bush traveled throughout the country, with its rolling hills and its small towns, to meet up with local artisans to create the setting of Encanto.
The film is also accompanied by Disney's animated short, Far From the Tree, which is dedicated to parents everywhere who are trying their best. A perfect introduction to the familial themes of Encanto, Far From the Tree speaks to all parents out there as it tells the story of a parent and child raccoon exploring a sandy beach.
In and of itself, Encanto is a film about family. With masterful story-telling, the film leaves viewers with warm smiles on their faces. Filled with both moments that have viewers laughing out loud and tearing up, Encanto has something for everyone. Engaging for children and meaningful for adults, Encanto is the perfect choice for an enchanting family movie night over the holiday season.
"Encanto" is rated PG for thematic elements and mild peril and is now playing only in theaters, including at Regal Majestic Stadium 20 & IMAX, AMC Wheaton 9 and AMC Center Park 8.
Isabelle Yang. Hi! I'm Isabelle (she/her). Outside of SCO, I love to listen to music, hike and solve puzzles. More »