The new Disney animated masterpiece ENCANTO sparkles with life and energy. This makes the musical adventure, peppered with songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of the best films in recent Maushaus history and impresses with characters like you and me. And that despite the fact that the magic oozes from every pore of the film. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: Encanto (USA 2021)
The Madrigals live hidden in the mountains of Colombia – a completely extraordinary family. Here they live in a magical house on the edge of a vibrant city, in a wondrous, enchanted place called Encanto. The magic of Encanto has blessed each child in the family with a unique gift, ranging from superpowers to the ability to heal – every child except Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz). But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, may be the last hope of her extraordinary family.
It is a tradition that the production house Disney or Disney Animation releases a so-called “Christmas film” once a year. This doesn’t mean the content; Strictly speaking, it didn’t exist yet a pure Disney animated film with a plot centered around the holidays. Even the two “Frozen” films actually take place in summer, if it weren’t for Elsa, who freezes it in an involuntary skip plot. What is meant by “Christmas film” is the release time. Once, at the end of the year, the mouse company drives the families – ideally in droves – to the cinemas and shows them the latest result of months of animation work. In the case of his latest work “Encanto” – now the 60th film in the canon of masterpieces – the term “Christmas film” could once again not be further from what we see on the big screen. From the moment the Disney logo appears, a colorful hustle and bustle and song vehicle full of life, energy, good mood and sunshine unfold. Actually the perfect summer film, if this award hadn’t already gone to “Luca” this year…
Mirabel Madrigal wonders if she even fits into her magical family…
Hardly any opening sequence in recent Disney history has better captured the tone of the hours that followed than that of “Encanto”; The musical genius and “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Encanto” is his second engagement for the company after “Moana”) hits all the strengths of “his” film on their head so perfectly, with which the main character Mirabel and her family of members from all of their generations who are endowed with magical powers enchant the audience. The rather inconspicuous Mirabel, equipped with glasses and a fuzzy head, whirls singing and dancing through the Madrigals’ magical property, whose shutters, wooden floorboards and stairs – to name just a few magical house components – have a life of their own and actively determine the rhythm of the song. In every new shot there are more details to discover that make this house, which is literally full of life, so incredibly magical. Another attribute that “Encanto” can decorate itself with: magic. Even the brother odyssey “Onward,” which directly addressed this topic, did not manage to transfer the magic of its story (even if, admittedly, it was primarily about the absence of the same story) to its audience. “Encanto,” on the other hand, is pure animation film magic. And we haven’t even started the story yet.
“In every new shot there are more details to discover that make this house, which is literally full of life, so incredibly magical.”
This is once again set in a world cleverly enriched with fantasy elements, which on the one hand is decidedly down-to-earth (with its all-encompassing themes of family ties, but also coming to terms with the past and the fate of migrants) and, with targeted supernatural elements, still takes you into a universe in which you can only imagine yourself loves to dream into it, even if it couldn’t be further from reality. This makes a crucial contribution to broad identification options; Firstly, about the basic plot about a young girl who feels like an outsider in her own family, has to look for her place in life and earn the recognition of various family members. On the other hand, the screenwriters tell Jared Bush (“Zoomania”) and Charise Castro Smith (wrote episodes for various TV series, including “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Exorcist”) about the importance and value of a family structure and how this not only promises cohesion, but also puts immense pressure on their relatives can. And so every element of personal magic has its barbs; And the art of making flowers rain from the sky is suddenly no longer as enchanting as the people around you suggest every day.
Home Sweet Home.
The fact that Mirabel, who is not blessed with magical power, is the one who exudes it most in “Encanto” is certainly due to the accessibility of the story. The writers, who are also responsible for directing, together with “Rapunzel” and “Bolt” director Byron Howard, follow the tradition of Disney film history with their film, in which the protagonist’s search for meaning and the discovery of her own, individual strengths (which one… It’s easy to forget when you’re constantly told that you’re not as interesting as the others, even if your parents suggest this just a little too clearly) are a central part of the story. Nevertheless, the character of Mirabel is not only extremely cleverly written and proves to be pleasantly volatile and therefore unpredictable in her existence as a pubescent teenager. The content of the songs is also so meaningful that we haven’t seen or heard since the evergreen “Let go now” from “Frozen”. With them, each performer reveals his or her deepest inner self and reveals emotional weaknesses and inner insecurities, which ensure that the individual character traits are freed from any one-dimensionality. “Encanto” is a potpourri of characters that are full of rough edges – even though the film is actually an ode to celebrating the introverted and ordinary as well as the spectacle.
“The character of Mirabel is not only extremely cleverly written, but in her existence as a pubescent teenager she also proves to be pleasantly volatile and therefore unpredictable.”
Speaking of spectacle: What makes “Encanto” this is not only the intoxicating look, which impresses less with its lifelike animation than with its tremendous attention to detail, strongly inspired by the Colombian backdrop, but above all with the sound. Nine songs in 90 minutes – “Encanto” is a musical through and through, to which Lin-Manuel Miranda has put his own stamp; And that without repeating his incomparable sound. Ballads and up-tempo numbers alternate, embracing the film with loving warmth and driving it forward in the crucial moments. And some of them become catchy tunes. And so, at the end of the year, “Encanto” takes us into one of the most beautiful film realities of 2021 – we don’t need anything more urgently at the moment.
Conclusion: “Encanto” is one of the best Disney films of recent years. It is full of life, impresses with its incredible attention to detail and figures full of rough edges. You immediately lose yourself in the Colombia setting and you fall in love with the protagonist Mirabel from the first second. Together with the directing and screenplay team, songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda in particular has created something completely magical.
“Encanto” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from November 25, 2021.