by Hans A. Carpenter
Streaming – Disney +
Directors: Jared Bush and
Starring: Stephany Beatriz, Maria Cecilia Botero,
and John Leguizamo
Mister Marquee Says:
Mirabel (Stephany Beatriz) is a member of the Madrigal family. A miracle many years ago saved the family from death and granted them a magical home. Along with the home, the miracle also gives each family member their own magical powers at a certain age, except for Mirabel. When the miracle is threatened, Mirabel must find a way to save her family.
This is Disney at peak form. In fact, this is beyond peak Disney and in terms of story, deep themes, rich characters, and animation can go toe to toe or downright dominate the celebrated classics of the 90s heyday. Featuring boating crowd pleasing musical numbers (let’s be real, that’s Disney’s main concern), Encanto is as catchy as Frozen but with a more ambitious and soulful story.
There is no mustache twirling villain, just a family battling generational trauma, the fear of failure, and the pressure of expectations. This is pretty heavy stuff for a kids’ movie but done in an accessible way that kids can follow along and enjoy the ride just the same.
This is a Disney Princess flick that eschews a lot of the trappings of the line and feels more like one of the good Pixar movies. Mirabel is a regular girl in a family of magical powers. She struggles with self esteem and fails as she tries to keep her family together. She is a much more relatable hero than even the good Disney princesses.
Encanto does a great job of showing that even some of the more powerful, seemingly “together” members of the family all struggle with their own issues that aren’t apparent on the surface. Never judge a book by its cover. There are some genuinely heart-ripping scenes. Like Mufasa’s fall, Bambi’s mom getting capped, and the first 15 minutes of Up all rolled together.
Encanto is a beautiful movie and one that hopefully kids and adults alike can take something from.