Encanto Review!

breakdown of the most magical movie to hit theaters this year

Olivia Kumar, Sandscript Author

  “Encanto” is a movie about a young girl, Mirabel, who only wants to find her place amongst her extraordinarily magical family despite her lack of apparent magical abilities and her slightly judgmental Abuela, who only offers her disappointment with every turn. For Mirabel, it’s tough to stand out, especially when her mom, Julieta can heal people with her cooking, specifically, her delicious arepas con queso.  Additionally, Mirabel’s sister Luisa can lift the heaviest of objects with ease, and her other sister Isabela can grow stunning flowers, mostly roses, without thinking about it. When Mirabel notices cracks starting to appear throughout the family’s casita she alerts her family, but no one believes her and dismisses her worries. Now it’s up  to Mirabel to figure out what is happening in order to save not only her home but her family as well. 

     The directors of ‘Zootopia’, Jared Bush and Byron Howard along with co-director Charise Castro Smith have created another movie about misfits trying their best to do the right thing. One thing that separates this movie is that there is not a villain, contrary to most other Disney movies which typically do. Instead, an “unknown” threatens the Madrigal family and their home. There is minimal external conflict, which gives Mirabel more time to discover where she fits in her family despite her lack of magical abilities. However, this lack of conflict causes the story to move slower. 

      To account for the loss of action, the animation and design of the movie is exceptionally brilliant, with vivid colors and characters that are incredibly expressive. The movie really makes use of the house with its doors to other worlds and music that allows for artistic freedom. On the topic of the music, and after hearing the songs in Encanto, it’s definitely time that award winning music director, Lin-Manuel Miranda takes a break. His work on Hamilton, In the Heights, and Moana, was great, but his 2021 work left a lot to be desired. The songs weren’t terrible in Encanto, as a few were mildly catchy, but there’s still a sense that they are unfinished works from past projects. The songs that Isabela and Luisa sing, “What Else Can I Do?” and “Surface Pressure,” are overly repetitive, while “The Family Madrigal” is a very similar less effective version of the opening song for, In the Heights. The unimpressive soundtrack is an unfortunate downside to Encanto but thankfully, there are other elements of the movie to enjoy. 

The talented and upbeat voice cast was something Disney really put a lot of thought into, matching characters very well. Beatriz is fantastic as Mirabel, her voice embodies pain and love throughout the film, without ever losing the goofy playfulness that makes her character so likable. Another impressive element of this movie is the inclusion of skin tones and hair textures, that vary amongst the same family, especially while being an animated film.  Additionally, the directors were able to include important cultural elements such as Colombian fashion like ponchos, flowing embroidered skirts and brightly colored dresses as part of a character’s outfit. Encanto is definitely one of the more lighthearted and likable films to start this new year in the theater.