Encanto ★★★½


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Encanto is a delight. I’m always down for a new Disney film especially one that’s release falls on Black Friday and reverts back to Disney’s roots of being a colorful musical. It’s a tradition in my family to go out into the shopping hungry world every Black Friday to see a newly released animated film in theaters and most years that animated film is made by Disney. I’ve primarily loved the past couple of Disney films and in this film’s case for once I really dug a Disney/Pixar films marketing so I was pretty excited going into this animated adventure. While this film didn’t fully meet my expectations and I certainly don’t love it as much as some people do I still had a blast with this vibrant tale which made for another great family experience at the theater. It’s been a few months since theaters came back into the spotlight and at least in the USA there’s no signs that they’ll be closing any time soon but almost every time I’ve been to theaters this year I can’t help but feel grateful for them to have returned even if they’ve been back for a bit now, watching this film with my family brought up that feeling of thankfulness for the theaters even more than usual though. 

This film manages to feel like a fresh new outing for Disney but then at the same time it comes off as formatic and familiar one too many times. Like I mentioned before I won’t be one of the many people who came out of this film being able to call it one of their favorite modern Disney films but for what it is I think it’s a relatively flawed but seriously fun film. Lin Manuel Miranda’s music shines especially in this type of musical and the compelling energy of our memorable main character Mirabel truly makes the events of the film fly by due to the vivid enthusiasm brought to the table.

The plot is good it’s a foreseeable but entertaining story. By far the aspect that makes the story stand out is that it doesn’t have a bad guy, there’s no big battle or action in general besides one or two scenes that sit on the border, political messages, and many more parts that make up a generic blockbuster story. By the end of the film it honestly felt odd that there was a conflict at hand which is solved but didn’t involve mindless armies of animation or a large action sequence but I’m absolutely all for it. The stakes are always kept from ranging low despite the frequent predictability of the story 
The themes of family, self meaning, pressure, and grief are dealt with in a way that blends very well with everything about the story. Also I loved how the magic/miracle and the reason why Mirabel never got a gift is never explained, being left to be wondered about. There’s a handful of flaws with the story the biggest ones being the premise presented is something the world has seen thousands of times before and a number of plot points deserved some more expansion alongside the events going on in the story. 

The pacing is great since it’s such a colorfully entertaining story there isn’t any slow or uninteresting moments. The voice acting is great from the entire cast especially from Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, María Cecilia Botero, Jessica Darrow, and Diane Guerrero. All of the characters in the family are memorable and have their moments in the sun. Some had much more development than others and I liked a couple significantly more than others but when it comes to entertainment all do their job of capturing the attention and hearts of the audience even if it’s only for one scene. Mirabel is such a fun and engaging main character who will join the ranks of the most memorable Disney protagonist. I know she’s not a princess but if she was she’d easily be tied with Moana for my favorite Disney princess. 

The direction is really good from Jared Bush, Byron Howard, and Charise Castro Smith mainly in how each execute this vibrant and culturally encapsulating vision. The script is good it’s a well written and simplistic script that plays all the right beats. The cinematography and editing are very good too. The animation is fantastic all the locations and characters are beautifully designed especially the house in how it interacts with the characters. It’s crazy how amazing Disney/Pixar are getting at showcasing truly top notch animation. The comedy is good the film’s in no means an animated one that relies on humor but the jokes/gags that are there are nice. In terms of the Oscars this film will get the same treatment Moana got, a Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song nomination without a win in either category. For the first mentioned category that could very well change but as of now I think Flee and Luca have better chances of taking the spot as the frontrunner. The ending is a very happy ending that may have been foreseeable but packs a much stronger emotional kick than expected. Overall Encanto is a lively and melodic animated film that stays within the lines of feeling familiar but also provides enough aspects to stand out as a fresh Disney outing. 

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