Voices of Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, Jessica Darrow, Wilmer Valderrama, Maluma, Adassa, Diane Guerrero, Alan Tudyk
(7-Very Good Film)
Bright. Appealing. Frustrating.
Tagline: Magical house. Magical family.
Encanto, as far as I can tell, is Disney Animation’s first dysfunctional family film. Historically, Disney is notorious for its characters’ parents and families being nonexistent. It’s a storytelling trope. If there are no parental figures for the main character to fall back on, then that character is left to figure things out for his or her self. Encanto is different. It’s charming protagonist, Maribel (Beatriz), is surrounded by family. Starting with her domineering abuela, her parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and sisters all live under the same magical roof (their house is alive and helps them in their everyday routines) and they all have some special magical gift except for the ones who married into the family…and Maribel. Something went wrong for her and she’s left to be treated like the black sheep of the family. Heavily advertised spotlighting Maribel’s unique family and their gifts, I wasn’t prepared for what Encanto actually is, a film about its protagonist being mistreated for a large portion of the movie by a family that mostly stinks. The result is frustrating at times but it’s intentional, and though there is no real romance or legitimate villain, by the end, Encanto does tell a satisfying story. The music is interesting (some of it great, some of it strange) and the second half is less enjoyable than the first, but overall, it’s a solid entry into Disney Animation’s 60 film canon.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-