Starring: Stephanie Beatriz, Diane Guerrero, Wilmer Valderrama, Angie Cepeda, Rhenzy Feliz, Carolina Gaitan, Jessica Darrow, Adassa, María Cecilia Botero, Mauro Castillo, and John Leguizamo
Directors: Jared Bush and Byron Howard
Though not flawless, Encanto is a movie full of joy that families are sure to fall in love with. It bursts with life and color in every frame, and while the songs may not be Disney’s strongest lyrically, they’re all deeply infused with a Colombian energy worthy of the wonderful instrumentation throughout. The story itself takes a few narrative shortcuts at the film’s expense (namely in the third act) and it all wraps up a bit too neatly, but the ultra-detailed animation and fun characters make up for most of that. It would seem the Disney formula still makes magic.
Simply speaking, I was delighted by every moment of Encanto. As per the case with most of Disney’s animated efforts, it’s gorgeously animated, it’s really funny, and it hits you directly in the feels. Lin-Manuel Miranda's original songs are both catchy and powerful, and they pair well with the film’s themes of family and self-worth, as well as the culture it’s representing. My only real gripe is that I had to see it in 3D, which I truly hate. Other than that, this movie is undeniably charming.
The recent focus on animated features delving into different cultural backgrounds has been refreshing, but doing so doesn’t guarantee a great film, which is evident here. Similar to Pixar's Onward, Encanto is just sort of there. It’s notes of Happy Feet with a magical twist, and that works fine. Unfortunately, in a year of musicals, most of the songs here are forgettable the moment they end. That is really what plagues this film overall… it just isn’t as memorable as its predecessors. The animation is gorgeous as expected, but otherwise this was a bit of a letdown.