Movie review: Encanto

Published January 8, 2022

Encanto is a very special Disney film; it is not only the 60th animated feature film from the animated studio but also revolves around magic. Here, that magic makes ‘Madrigal’ family special in its own way, as each and every member has superhuman abilities — except Mirabel. 15-year-old Mirabel might live with her family, hidden between the Encanto mountains, but she doesn’t have any magical powers, and that’s what makes her special.

When the magic surrounding their house is in danger, Mirabel is the only one who can figure out how to undo it all. But can she do it without having any powers? That’s what Encanto is all about because here, the most talentless person becomes the saviour. Mirabel is not alone in her quest and is helped by her family throughout the film that focuses on strong family values. It shows that if a family remains united through tough times, all the damage done, can be reversed.

Directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard (with writer Charise Castro Smith as a co-director), the film is all about family. In a world, where immigrant families have spread all around, ‘Encanto’ provides the current generation with a better sense of belonging or at least put forward the experience, their previous generation had to go through.

Since this is a family venture of sorts, there is no villain here, which is strange since Disney always has a proper, scary and dangerous antagonist. Who can forget the impact of characters like Scar (The Lion King), Jafar (Aladdin), Screenslaver (The Incredibles 2), Captain Hook (Peter Pan), Lady Tremaine (Cinderella), and Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty) on their childhood, but there isn’t any villain here. The closest Encanto had was Mirabel’s grandmother Abuela, the matriarch of the family but she had her own reasons to be different than the rest. She has seen the world, and knows exactly when things are going down, but has to keep up the act of being the wisest and the bravest.

Kids of today would be able to relate to Mirabel’s story since it is their story. Mirabel represents all those kids who don’t get the required attention or are considered good for nothing. Also, the journey of her family also has something common with most families, be it in the USA or Pakistan. It begins just like any family does — with a sacrifice of an elderly — and that’s how the family gets a ‘magical’ homeland. Thankfully, that trait survived the magic and the family was saved by the smartness of one of the youngest members.

Released on Thanksgiving in the USA and now available at Netflix, ‘Encanto’ is a movie for the whole family and has magic for everyone. Fans of TV would be thrilled to know that Stephanie Beatriz of Brooklyn 99 and Wilmer Valderrama of NCIS are amongst the voice actors here, while the songs are from the award-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda. He has made the songs in Colombian tradition, giving them the magical feel, they needed. Fresh from the success of Vivo, Miranda delivers chartbusters like We don’t talk about Bruno, the Family Madrigal and What Else Can I Do?, and one shouldn’t be thrilled if the movie ends up winning an Oscar for its music.

Published in Dawn, Young World, January 8th, 2022

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