Encanto (Film Review)

Directors: Jared Bush and Byron Howard

Main Cast: Stephanie Beatriz, Wilmer Valderrama, Diane Guerrero, Rhenzy Feliz

If it took a decade to get “Let It Go” out of your head, brace your vocal chords because they won’t be getting off the hook that easy this time!

The setting is the enchanted Colombian hillside town of Encanto where the Madrigal family lives. At the heart of its loveable ensemble of shapeshifters, fortune tellers and healers is unassuming teenager Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz), the one child in the family not to receive a unique power in a special ceremony involving a candle. Her door to magic is literally slammed shut in her face, and he’s forced to become an unlikely hero when the clan’s magic is threatened.

Encanto has a few nifty plot pivots and surprising reveals, but it’s the animation itself that steals the show. Zootopia co-directors Jared Bush and Byron Howard and their animators have really emptied out the Disney crayon box to render its luscious flowers, hair textures and skin tones. The result feels like a genuine love letter to the diversity of Latin America.

Encanto’s South American swagger continues the studio’s recent hot-streak (Raya and the Last Dragon, Frozen 2 and Moana) by adding a new flavour into the pot. More shoulder shimmy than tearjerkers, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pen is in bang on the money once again. The spirited soundtrack unpacks family foibles, self-worth and identity, but is still catchy enough to leave the kids and parents singing “Welcome to the Family Madrigal” all the way home.

The characters are infectious, too, and well-drawn, enriching Encanto’s world with gifts that extend far beyond their bestowed powers. It might sound a little cheesy but the message that the truest magic comes from being yourself never gets old. Excelente!

Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Barz

Have You Seen Encanto? Are The Songs Still Stuck In Your Head Or Did They Hit A Flat Note? Does It Make It Into Your Top 10 Films Of The Year?

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