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‘Encanto’ is a welcome change from Disney
A review of Disneys latest movie, Encanto, and the impact it’s had on viewers.
January 27, 2022
Disney’s latest movie release “Encanto” has broken records and left an effect on everyone from adults to toddlers. Encanto is a definite change from Disney’s mostly American appealing casts and shows that the company is ready to expand its borders, both literally and figuratively. This is the first movie with Latino representation that solely Disney has come out with, and fans are excited about it.
The movie takes place in a Colombian village named Encanto and revolves around the Madrigal family. The audience soon learns that this is not an ordinary town and that the Madrigals are a magical family.
Every direct family member (except the main character Maribel) has a magical gift that is exclusive to them. The family uses these powers to help the town flourish and run smoothly. But one day there is a disturbance within the magical Casita and panic fills the town and overtakes the family.
The family magic is held by a golden candle that was blessed by an unknown source when Abuela was running from people that overtook her hometown. After Abuela’s husband is killed by these men, the candle glows, and the town of Encanto rises from the ground.
A common conspiracy is that the grandfather is the one containing the magic and blessing the family, often appearing as a golden butterfly.
The beginning of the movie introduced the audience to all the characters and their powers in a song. The most noteworthy characters include Abuela, Antonio, Luisa, Isabella, Bruno, and my personal favorite, Maribel. Many fans have shown love for their favorite Madrigal, but a character that has been getting some hate is the misunderstood Abuela.
Abuelas’ character has been through a lot, she left her war torn home with three babies and lost her husband. While this does not excuse her behavior, I do not think people realize how difficult that is. The difference in showing affection in non-American families is also commonly not understood. Abuela showed her love for her family by wanting the best for them and giving back to the town in order to not seem ungrateful for her husband’s fatal sacrifice.
The movie’s presentation is simply amazing. The animation lives up to everything we expect from Disney and the lively vivid colors give the movie a truly magical touch.
The aesthetic is perfectly backed up with the two most popular songs composed by well-known Lin-Manuel Miranda. The song “We don’t talk about Bruno ” even reached number 2 on Billboard’s Top 100 list, and Luisa’s solo “Surface Pressure” was a hit and did an amazing job of providing a sense of relief to many family leaders.
Don’t let the dancing donkeys distract you from the important message that Luisa’s song delivers. It shows how older siblings in many Latino families must step up and be leaders by taking on tasks to help their family and the burden that comes with that. Not being the most musical theater loving person, I was entranced by the songs. I will admit the song “The Family Madrigal” was a little repetitive, I overall loved it.
Throughout the movie the audience is shown that the “curse” destroying the family is unresolved family trauma. This conflict is preventing the Madrigals from coming together and finding out that whats truly magical about them is themselves.
The audience learns that Mirabel is the only one that can prevent the magic from fading and she does the unthinkable for most families, she asks questions about the past. Mirabel shows she is determined to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma, and she ultimately succeeds.
After a lot of finding their true selves and losing powers because of the dying magic, the characters finally realize that their powers are not the only special thing about them. The family comes together to rekindle with the absent and misunderstood Bruno. At this point the family is ready to truly be a team.
While Disney did a lot of good with this movie, there are some things that are missing. The Latino, specifically Colombian, representation is there, I just think that Disney could have done more. Disney shows the culture in a way that is still appreciative, but there’s so much more that’s a part of Colombia.
Disney shows the hardships faced in the country’s history in a way that kids will still find comfortable, which is completely fine, but they didn’t really fully dive into the culture and lifestyles found in Colombia. I will say the diversity in the movie was refreshing to see. Disney did an excellent job of showing the diverse range of people in Colombia.
The ending of Encanto played out well, after the Madrigal candle burns down, Casita collapses and the magic is gone. But when the family realizes their true value and concludes that they are not only their powers, they decide to rebuild the house unified. When the house is built, Maribel puts in the final doorknob and the magical Casita comes back to life.
My only flaw with the ending is how everything goes back to how it was before. While they learned a valuable lesson, there is not really a permanent impact made on the lives of the family. If they realized they did not need their powers to be useful, why do they just get everything completely back?
Overall, the movie is perfect for people of all ages because of its ability to incorporate important lessons in scenes that kids can enjoy, and adults can relate to. I give Encanto a 4.7/5 and highly encourage everyone to watch it.