Review: Disneys Animated Musical "Enchantment," Offers an Empathic Form of Enchantment

Publish Date : 2021-12-02 00:00:00


Review: Disneys Animated Musical "Enchantment," Offers an Empathic Form of Enchantment

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They are gifted and eccentric, even a little creepy. It is not the Addams Family, but the Magical Madrigals. “Encanto,” Disney's latest animated film takes audiences into a colorful and enchanted world of Colombian magical realism, featuring the Madrigal family, who have been bestowed with extraordinary gifts except for one member, our heroine, Mirabel (Stefanie Beatriz ), who has yet to discover his own magic.

Jared Bush and Byron Howard, who co-wrote and co-directed Oscar-winning “Zootopia,” have teamed up with Charise Castro Smith to write and direct “Encanto,” while Jason Hand, Nancy Kruse and Lin-Manuel Miranda contributed to the story. The result is an upbeat musical that is typically poignant and compassionate, rooted in the kind of therapy-inspired personal lessons in self-esteem that these films commonly underpin, with the soundtrack of Latin pop songs written by Miranda.

The magic of the Madrigal family was born out of extreme trauma and pain when the matriarch Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero) lost her husband while fleeing the violence in their village. Desperate, she screamed for protection for herself and her triplets, so a magical candle raised mountains around a haunted house, where she has raised her family ever since. Each Madrigal is gifted in a coming-of-age ceremony, with powers ranging from super strength, high-powered hearing, or talking to animals, to spinning flowers out of nowhere, shapeshifting, future-guessing, controlling. the weather or curing food.

The only exception to the magic rule so far is the sweet and intelligent Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), who never received her gift and has felt like the outcast of the family ever since, doing her best to earn her place. When she begins to see cracks in the foundations of her beloved little house, Mirabel delves deeper into the magic of the family. Ultimately, he realizes that all members of his family are caught in the trap of perfectionism, believing that they have to use their gifts the way others want them to without remaining authentic to themselves and their lives. wishes.

The animation is an energetic swirl with vibrant tones of almost non-stop motion, and Miranda's songs leap from genre to genre, from traditional Disney ballads to reggaeton-inspired melodies and even a tribute to Colombia's rock goddess. Shakira. The script is fast and furious, full of jokes and references. There are times when I wish everything would slow down for a moment to allow time to get to know some of the supporting characters better, but the story of “Encanto” is refreshing, satisfying, quick, and composed.

Mirabel's magic shines through in who she has been all along: A good listener, empathetic and caring. She allows her family members to share their stories, as well as vulnerabilities, and creates a safe space for their authenticity. With her tiny stature, round glasses, and curly hair, she's like a mini-super therapist to her family; In fact, sometimes finding that person who allows you to be yourself, whatever it is, feels like the greatest gift of all. It is a simple but resonant story, but "Enchantment" is a charming and beautiful film that could also offer a bit of relief.

Katie Walsh is a film critic for the Tribune News Service.

If you want to read this article in Spanish, click here

Miranda’s slinky soundtrack and unexpected subtleties align as Disney’s new outsider heroine tries to save her family from ruin

The Madrigal clan are a little unusual. The burly Luisa (voiced by Jessica Darrow) possesses superhuman strength, Isabela (Diane Guerrero) has the ability to make flowers burst into bloom, Pepa (Carolina Gaitán) can control the weather with her mood. It’s only bespectacled Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) who hasn’t been blessed with magic. 

An outsider in her own family, she fits right into a lineage of recent Disney animation heroines, including Moana and Frozen’s Elsa. 

When the Madrigals’ prized enchanted candle begins to dim (and with it, everyone’s powers), cracks appear in the foundation of the family casa. It’s Mirabel who must figure out how to keep the flame alight.

Set among the mountains of Colombia, this sparky musical covers plenty of well-trodden terrain, including sibling rivalry and the crushing weight of family expectations. What’s interesting and unexpected is the film’s subtle acknowledgement of culturally specific generational trauma and displacement. 

We cant lose our home,repeats matriarch Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero), who recounts being forced from her house by “unknown forces once before. The film also boasts a soundtrack of earworms written by Lin-Manuel Miranda; the slinky, salsa-influenced We Don’t Talk About Bruno rattled around in my head for days.

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