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Critics Review
Encanto review: Disney's 60th film wows with its aesthetics and a strong screenplay

Stephanie Beatriz voices the lead character, Mirabel Madrigal, in Encanto and she is indeed music to the ears.

3.5
Aishwarya Vasudevan
Nov 25, 2021
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Story:

Encanto narrates the story of the Madrigals, a remarkable family who live in the Colombian highlands, in a wonderful house, amid a bustling town, in a wondrous, enchanted area known as an Encanto. Every child in the family has received a unique gift from Encanto's magic, ranging from extreme strength to the ability to heal, every child except one, Mirabel. When Mirabel learns that the Encanto's power is in jeopardy, she realises that she, the lone ordinary Madrigal, maybe her remarkable family's final hope.

Review:

If you google the meaning of the word "Encanto", it not only means "charm, spell, or enchantment" but also "sweetheart" to address a loved one. The film title Encanto falls in both categories and it's a Disney movie, so that's not a surprise at all. Moreover, this is the 60th film produced by the legendary studio, and it does live up to the expectations. Encanto is a story about a mystical family of Madrigals where each member has a magical power, except for Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz).

Let's get into the details of each character's magical powers! Bruno (John Leguizamo), Mirabel's exiled uncle with the power to glimpse the future. Isabela (Diane Guerrero), Mirabel's older sister, is described as "perfect" and "successful". She can make flowers bloom anytime and anywhere.

Luisa (Jessica Darrow), Mirabel's second oldest sister, has the 'largest biceps' and 'carries all the duties and never complains', she has unrivalled strength. Julieta (Angie Cepeda), Mirabel's mother and Agustín's wife, can heal others through her cuisine. Pepa (Carolina Gaitán), Mirabel's aunt and Félix's wife, is 'overly emotional' and has complete power over the weather.

Dolores (Adassa) is Pepa and Félix's oldest daughter, Camilo and Antonio's sister, and Mirabel's cousin. Through heightened hearing, she 'knows everyone's dirt'. Camilo (Rhenzy Feliz) is Pepa and Félix's son, Dolores and Antonio's brother, and Mirabel's cousin who 'doesn't quite know who he is yet' and can shape-shift. Finally, Antonio (Ravi-Cabot Conyers) is Pepa and Félix's youngest son, Dolores and Camilo's brother, and Mirabel's cousin who looks up to her and considers her a big sister. The youngest one can communicate with animals.

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Beatriz plays Mirabel, the protagonist, who, unlike her family, is imperfect, strange, and quirky, but also intensely compassionate. Although she’s loved, they make her feel like the black sheep of the family for not having the special ‘gift’ which they all received. But she is special, just like any Disney film’s lead character—she’s extraordinary. Don't worry, there are no more spoilers on her powers.

The Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor is her charming self, and her voice is music to one's ears. She perfectly gets into the tonality and sound of a young teenager not only while delivering her dialogues but also while crooning the songs.

The best part of this musical is that every member of the Madrigal family has a song dedicated to them starting with the first one ‘The Family Madrigal’ which collectively describes their magical powers.

The first half takes place around the magical powers each one has, and how they take pride in that. But with their great powers, their responsibilities also increase which take a toll on each one of them. The whole village and their la casita depend entirely on their magical powers, which leads most of them to not have a happy life.

While the second half leads to their adorable castle being in danger, and starts cracking while on its path to destruction. It's heartbreaking to watch these sequences and also know the reason behind the mishaps. But the way it's created makes it look far more realistic than a computer-animated program.

The story for Encanto is penned by Jared Bush, Charise Castro Smith, Byron Howard, Jason Hand, Nancy Kruse, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The last name Miranda's involvement has got to be like a Midas touch to the film that can't go wrong. The story has a deeper meaning with a modern outlook.

Although they live in ancient times, the film has a matriarch, Abuela Alma Madrigal (Mara Cecilia Botero), who is the decision-maker of the house. But the thinking is backward, which helps the film get a perfect climax by approaching the modern outlook.

Encanto gets all the elements right with pitch-perfect voice artists, beautiful animation, an enchanting story and a 'happily ever after' ending. Thus, the film makes for a happy family watch for the very same reasons.

Some instances will remind you of Frozen, but with no villains. For the first time in many years, there's not an "antagonist" antagonist in a Disney film to act as a catalyst. Every character, good, better and best is within the family who are not bad people at all.

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But Disney took Spider-Man's iconic dialogue "With great power must also come great responsibility" in their animated flick very seriously, and that is the very basic premise of Encanto.

The South American representation has been done beautifully in the film by roping in the actors belonging to that community. Even the usage of words feels like how they do it in their daily life.

Germaine Franco's composition, blended with Miranda's lyrics, makes every song foot-tapping and memorable for its deep meaning. The visuals for it are enchanting, least to say.

Howard and Bush have directed the film and may have brought out the best Disney film since Frozen, which hit the big screens in 2013. The wait has been long and worth it.

Verdict:

Encanto brings out the best of Disney elements without going overboard and sticking to the magical story they have always enjoyed creating.


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