Encanto Is More Than Just a Children’s Movie

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The Madrigal family | Disney

Disney Studios, for the past couple of years, has been pumping movies like crazy – some more captivating than others. It’s sometimes hard to know what to watch with the oversaturation of their many movies. But Encanto serves as an example of the Disney magic that their movie studios are known for and are capable of. 

Encanto is Disney Animated Studios’ 60th animated film, directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard, who are known for their other films like Tangled, Moana, and Zootopia. While the film came out in theaters on the Nov. 24 of last year, it’s just recently been added to Disney Plus. The movie is heavily based on the country of Colombia, using its culture and rich music to tell a relatable story about family and expectations using the Madrigal Family.  

The story follows Maribel Madrigal, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, who is the only one in her family that does not have powers or miracles. These powers are steamed from a miracle that Maribel’s grandmother, Abuela Alma, voiced by Maria Cecilia Botero, received in the form of a magical candle. This candle created their village in the mountains and the extraordinary house the family lives in. It is also responsible for the powers of the many members of the family. The movie then shows Maribel trying to stop the candle from going out and protecting the gift her family has. 

The film is great, the amazing original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda are catchy and full of emotion and just plain fun to sing. They soundtrack combines many Latin sounds like vallenato, cumbia and reggaeton. It also features many Colombian singers, like Carlos Vives, and Sebastian Yatra. Favorites like “We don’t talk about Bruno” and “Colombia, Mi Encanto” are enjoyable to sing and listen to, as their catchy chorus and their rhythm makes them easy to sing and follow.  

The film also delves into complex themes that feel true today. The movie explores the trauma and stress that expectations can create in children and adults, as well as the hard and complex relationships that families have. These issues are extremely personal and most people can relate to the characters in the film, something that cannot be said for other Disney movies that are more fantastical, or that do not develop these themes well enough. 

However, the movie isn’t perfect. Some issues the movie has are that the setting of the story feels claustrophobic, and the plot seems dragged out. The movie is mostly based on the Casa Madrigal, and its magical rooms, but it does not show more than that, which is hurtful. Exploring more of Colombia outside of Casa Madrigal, would’ve helped with the worldbuilding. To remedy this, movie could have expanded more by visiting the other magical rooms of the other family members and the village. Also, the pace of the film is flimsy, and the stakes were confusing. When the movie gets to its climax, it feels like one has been robbed of a greater event, and the ending seems very rushed. 

Overall, the movie stands out, even with its flaws. It’s a great family film to watch and discuss. Songs are catchy and full of color, and the themes resonate well with the audience. Disney was also successful in exploring and showing Colombian culture in a respectful and understanding way. I would rate this movie an 8/10, as although the pacing and stakes of the movie were confusing, the music, characters, and themes helped the movie become more than just a children’s movie.