Disney delivers a magical story with ‘Encanto’

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Photo courtesy of imdb.com

“Encanto” is the latest animated feature for Disney.

Ramona Shekhar, Assistant Entertainment Editor

When most people think of a Disney movie, they may picture watching another generic and predictable plot with bland characters, formulaic villains, cheesy songs, and superficial themes. 

With Disney’s animated film “Encanto,” I believe that it is safe to say that Disney has rejected traditional tropes and made a groundbreaking step toward a new era of animated films. 

Encanto follows the story of Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), the Madrigal family misfit who was born with no special gift and is often neglected. Throughout the plot, Mirabel is trying to find her place in her exceptionally gifted family. Her family has been blessed with a variety of unique talents such as shapeshifting, super strength, and healing. They all live in a magical house named Casita which is sustained by an everlasting burning candle. Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero), the matriarch of the family, runs and guides the family with their powers. She expects the family to master their skill to perfection, setting exceptionally high standards for them.  

As the movie progresses, Mirabel notices her family members’ powers are weakening and the house’s magic is in danger. She goes on a search to put an end to this disruption and save her family. Along the way, she begins to learn more about her identity and self worth. 

Encanto shines light on the people who forever wish to fit in and try to be as appealing as their counterparts. This animation highlights how Mirabel is constantly trying to please her Abuela through all her hard work and effort. 

While Encanto may be told through the perspective of a protagonist who feels like an outcast, it also acknowledges the family members who are put under a constant state of pressure to fulfill Abuela’s expectations. It gives the audience a chance to see relatable family dynamics being portrayed on the big screen. It reminds them that every family has flaws and that it isn’t always perfect. It’s the imperfections and the dysfunctional nature of a family that makes us all human. 

Directed by former co-writers of “Zootopia,” Jared Bush and Byron Howard with Charise Castro Smith as co-director, “Encanto” brings its story to life with its spellbinding animation. Each abstract detail is carefully drawn out from the lively patterns of the clothing to the design and structure of the house. 

Not only does the film create such mesmerizing animation, but it also integrates a compelling soundtrack assembled by the one and only “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda. Undoubtedly, Miranda’s lyricism successfully conveys the underlying troubles of each character. For example, Luisa (Jessica Darrow), Mirabel’s older sister who possesses superhuman strength, confesses her feelings towards Abuela’s unrealistic standards and how she can’t live up to the expectation of being the strongest one in the family. Of course, these thrilling tunes could have not been done without the help of voices Carolina Gaitán, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Wilmer Valderrama, Mauro Castillo, and Rhenzy Feliz. 

“Encanto” successfully presents a universal conflict afflicting many individuals today: the feeling of being an outcast. With the Disney franchise revamping their conventional storylines, characters, and music, it is clear that “Encanto” will be viewed as one of the most heartwarming and unforgettable animated films in the entertainment industry.