Disney has not lost its magical touch when working on animated films. Year after year they managed to release quality animated films on the sidelines of a flood of films from giant IPs like Marvel and Star Wars. This year, they have released three animations, starting with Raya, Luca, and the newest one is Encanto.
Like most recent Disney Animation films, Encanto still raises the theme of searching for identity and coming of age. This time, however, the story takes on a Colombian setting that Disney has never touched before. A similar animated film with the closest setting to Encanto is Coco, which was released in 2017 and is set in Mexico.
Film Encanto delivered from the viewpoint of a 15-year-old girl named Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). Being part of the magical clan Madrigal, Mirabel and her family live hidden in the interior of the Madrigal mountains. There, they live in a magical house made especially to serve all the “unique” residents. One example is Mirabel’s sister, Isabela (Diane Guerrero), who is able to grow flowers wherever she wants. Another example is Mirabel’s cousin, Camilo (Rhenzy Feliz), who has the ability to transform into anyone.
These unique abilities are said to be manifested when members of the Madrigal family touch the 5 year mark. Surprisingly, Mirabel never had a unique power until she was 15. The difference compared to other family members makes Mirabel often considered an anomaly, even underestimated even though she is happy without superpowers.
Everything changes on the day his cousin, Antonio (Ravi-Cabot Conyers) reveals his powers. Mirabel finds the magic of the Madrigal family’s house slowly disappearing, even though it is important to maintain the strength of its inhabitants. He tries to warn other family members, but is again belittled because he is considered different from them. Frustrated, Mirabel decides to find a way out on her own based on clues left by her cousin, Bruno (John Leguizamo) who has disappeared since predicting the future of the Madrigal family.
In terms of animation, the production quality of Walt Disney Animation Studios is unquestionable. Carrying the spirit of “the art challenges the technology and technology inspires the art” , Disney studios continue to improve and develop the quality of their animation following technological advances. The result is not only vibrant and colorful animation on the screen, but also feels alive and joyful in accompanying Encanto’s magical stories .
The real strength of Encanto , which is very, very noteworthy, is actually its musicality. Handled directly by one of the masters, Lin Manuel Miranda, Encanto succeeded in making us ( figuratively ) dance throughout the film. Its magical and sublime opening is one of its highlights, very typical of the work of Lin Manuel Miranda who recently worked on a film with catchy and snappy music in In the Heights.
Encant o also gave the cast members a chance to perform. Beatriz, who appears eclectic playing Mirabel, is also an alumni of In the Heights . When not singing, the Encanto cast did not forget to give a charming performance. For example, John Leguizamo as Bruno can combine humor, charm, and pain considering he is an outcast member of the Madrigal family, considered unlucky because of his pessimistic premonitions.
The stellar audio-visual side would be useless if Encanto didn’t have an equally engaging story . Fortunately, Disney is still consistent in presenting stories that are not only entertaining, but also emotional. Behind its magical and Latina setting, Encanto is a realistic and relatable coming of age and family relationship story. Many teenagers must have felt what Mirabel felt, the feeling of being “wasted”.