Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Encanto (2021)

Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Encanto (2021)
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama, Musical
Length: 102 minutes
Rating: PG
Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, Feelgood Entertainment, Forum Hungary, HKC Entertainment, NOS Audiovisuais, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+, The Walt Disney Company Iberia, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Directors: Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith, Jared Bush
Writers: Charise Castro Smith, Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Jason Hand, Nancy Kruse, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Actors: Adassa, Alan Tudyk, Angie Cepeda, Carolina Gaitan, Diane Guerrero, Hector Elias, Jessica Darrow, John Leguizamo, Juan Castano, MarĂ­a Cecilia Botero, Maluma, Mauro Castillo, Noemi Josefina Flores, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Rhenzy Feliz, Rose Portillo, Sarah-Nicole Robles, Stephanie Beatriz, Wilmer Valderrama
RottenTomatoes Blurb: The Madrigals are an extraordinary family who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a charmed place called the Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift -- every child except Mirabel. However, she soon may be the Madrigals last hope when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is now in danger.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was predisposed to liking Encanto. I practically live on TikTok and the music has taken over my FYP. I couldn’t wait to set it for the schedule.
From the music alone, I thought I would relate to Luisa. I was waiting for it. Instead, I 100% related to Mirabel. Let me tell you, it is a hard movie to watch when that’s the case. By a half-hour in, I had already ugly cried once. Granted, where Disney/Pixar is concerned, they put out a lot of movies with sad beginnings. In this case, however, it’s not going to seem all that sad if you don’t relate to any of the characters.

Films that touch on main characters that feel ‘invisible’ tend to put it all on that character. By the end, the story almost always shows that the person in question only felt that way because of their own perceptions. In real life, that’s not always the case. In Encanto, Mirabel’s worries aren’t brushed off with an ‘it’s all in her head’ twist. The movie sees her and shows her in a way that most wouldn’t.
As satisfying as it is to feel SEEN, it also makes the movie very difficult to watch. Sometimes it’s easier to feel alone in the way you feel – especially when you don’t wish it on other people.

There’s also a moral in there, weighing the heart of family against the desire to keep up traditions. I can tell you, that I never want my daughter to relate to pretty much any of the characters in the Madrigal family. If she does, you can bet I’ll be examining my actions as well as those of her family members.
Everything else was as expected. The characters were interesting, and the music was crazy good. It’s the kind of film you turn on for your kids but wind up getting more enjoyment out of than they do.

Cat’s Point of View:
My family and I didn’t get a chance to see Encanto in theaters, as we’d originally hoped. In a way, it ended up working out for the best. We were able to watch it for the first time on Christmas Eve when it became available on Disney+. There was a bonus – aside from being able to maintain social distancing at home – we had my father-in-law visiting for the holiday. We were able to all watch together.
Let me tell you, it was an absolute blast to watch it again.
Encanto’s music is phenomenal. Though, that pretty much went without saying due to the composition efforts of Lin-Manuel Miranda (His Dark Materials, DuckTales, In the Heights). While he didn’t lend his actual voice to any of the songs within the movie, or any speaking parts for that matter, his spirit is clear in every note. It was glorious.

There have been times in the past where a wonderful cast is brought together with a phenomenal composer, and the film still failed to hit its mark. I am pleased to report that was not the case here. Encanto was firing on all cylinders and it was easy to get swept away with the catchy music and the inherent magic that surrounded the Madrigal family.
I haven’t been so giddy about a house since Beauty and the Beast (1991) introduced us to enchanted furniture. No animated objects start singing in Encanto, but the house - the Casita – is a character unto itself.

Encanto was Disney’s 60th full-length animated movie, and they broke new ground hitting that mark. I mentioned in November 2021’s Top 20 that Mirabel was the first Disney “princess” to wear glasses. She also sported a more realistic body frame than the usual cartoon heroine. I also applaud the House of Mouse for digging deep into the cultural roots of this production  - from the details within the story and animated setting to the casting of actors with roots in Latin America.
Aside from all the visual bells and whistles, the tale spun by Encanto was more than its enchanting namesake. It had all the feels, and then some. I could relate to Mirabel and even her mother – who is trying her best to support her daughter even though things just aren’t going quite right.

The moral of the story delved deep into the meaning of family, sibling relationships, feelings of self-worth, and how pride, good intentions, and sometimes denial can sometimes blind us to what is happening right before our eyes. I found the message here just as empowering as Elsa’s “Let it Go” in Frozen (2013).
Encanto is absolutely worth the watch, and I’ll likely be watching it again… and again.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 93%
Metascore –76%
Metacritic User Score – 6.9/10
IMDB Score – 7.3/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5
Movie Trailer:

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