I am a sucker for many things in the movies, and one most definitely is when a film (animated or otherwise) has to do with a big family.
(Not to get too personal, but I have 6-8 siblings.)
Encanto, the 60th full length animated Disney movie (let that sink in for a bit) also adds in the ever common “black sheep of the family” scenario, another added bonus in my mind. The family of Encanto is the Madrigal family, a large family who got a magical candle from decades ago that has given each descendant a superpower.
Led by the family’s Abuela Alma (Maria Cecilia Botero), the job of the family is to protect the miracle inside their magical house (referred to as the titular Encanto). Each descendant (“We don’t talk about Bruno”.) has their own special room that is “bigger on the inside”, as one character says (another added bonus when anyone makes reference to Dr. Who.)
The only “normal room” belongs to Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz, who was Carla in this summer’s In the Heights), the only family member without any superpowers. While she has a sister that has super strength, aunts that can control the weather, and cousins that have super hearing, she is the one who is along for the ride (she is also the only family member who has glasses). She is not the only true oddball, as she tries to find out how she can truly fit in with her family.
Other talented vocal work is on display by the likes of John Leguizamo, Angie Cepeda, Diane Guerrero, and Wilmer Valderrama.
With all the great stories that the mouse house has given us over the decades, we may tend to take the animation for granted. Here, it is as vibrant as ever. There was a moment when the character Luisa (Mirabel’s super strong sister) is shown from the back. For a split second, I was able to notice her hair on her neck. I’m talking about the peach fuzz type of hair. I mean, as audience members, we can only imagine the pain staking about of time that animation could have taken.
Parents, it is an animated Disney movie, so your kids should be okay. It is indeed a great film for them to see (as well as the adults) to learn about the meaning of family, and how everyone has their own special place.
All of the songs and music of the film are done by one of the hardest working people in show biz today, Lin Manuel Miranda. Last year, he brought the Hamilton stage experience to our screens. This year, we saw the screen version of In the Heights, his directorial debut for tick, tick…BOOM!, he did the music for Vivo!, and now Encanto.
The man needs a rest.