Encanto was directed by Jared Bush and Bryon Howard, the big minds behind Zootropolis, before Encanto was released on the 26th November 2021, I started reading up on the base storyline and the characters To be honest, before I saw the movie, the base storyline sounded cliche to me, the Madrigal family having special gifts except Mirabel. I thought, well…who knows she’ll be maltreated, and then she’ll marry the prince just like Cinderella but I was beyond thrilled that it barely grazed my bland expectations. Before I start going deep into it, I’ll talk about impressions and themes.
- Brilliant Display of the Latin American Culture
I am calling this review a lasting embrace of cultural diversity because Disney isn’t really known to deviate from the white narrative before they started out movies like The Lion King, Moana, Raya, and now Encanto. In Encanto, we see the beauty of the Colombian culture in the tiniest details, such as the food, clothes, plants, animals, and language making it obvious that the writers wanted a place that felt like home to the Colombians.
It’s not just about the brilliant cultural display but the sharp contrast of their main character Mirabel, as compared to other Disney main characters. Mirabel, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, is the first Disney heroine to wear really large glasses and to have short black messy hair at the same time. Her appearance was inspired by the looks of the tour guide, Alejandra Espiona Uribe, who accompanied Bush, Howard, and Miranda on their research trip in Columbia while working on Encanto. Her appearance completes the evidence of Disney’s embrace of dynamism and cultural diversity.
2. Subtle But Profound Undertone of Colombian History
I barely knew anything about Colombia until I saw Encanto. Looking at the way the patriarch of the family, Abuelo Pedro, left the scene made me do tiny research on Colombian history. I found that the Colombians have been fighting wars for over a hundred years and they’ve had people sacked from their homes and massacred during several wars.
Knowing that the history of a people cannot be separated from their culture, is explicit evidence of thorough research and display of uncanny discernment. This way, the audience can feel what the Colombians felt as they watched the patriarch of the family get lost in the similitude of these wars.
The movie was not just for entertainment but a beacon of light and an extension of a hand of hope to the Colombians, they took it further by drawing the audience deeper into the intricate emotions of every character. Rumors have it that most Colombian-inspired movies concentrate on the fatality of the Colombian wars rather than bringing entertainment and hope to the people which is why I appreciated the fact that they were able to tell a little history and not stray away from the story that they were meant to tell.
3. Music and Dance
The music and dance were an outward display of the cultural Colombian atmosphere, the complicated beats and the rhythm was impeccable so much so that they perfectly aligned with the intricate vocal cords of every singer despite their diverse tones and singing patterns. Lin Manuel Miranda knew the right notes to crack open, this is why I was not so surprised when I heard that one of the movie tracks ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ bagged an Oscar Nomination.
There was a song for every feeling and a dance step for every emotion no matter how complicated it seemed. I loved the choreography of every song, most especially ‘Under the Surface’, who would’ve thought that donkeys could have such unbelievable dance moves?? I was excited that the impact that Lin Manuel Miranda wanted was implemented in the hearts of his audience as many people have commended his efforts tremendously. Now to the best part of my reviews;
- The Danger of Comparison
There’s this extra pressure that comes on when you compare your growth with another person’s results. Mirabel was born into a family where everyone except her had magic powers. It’s hard not to get mad at the world but Mirabel was able to keep her head above water, she became several other things and did her best to show how much she loved her family.
It was quite evident to the audience that although Mirabel didn’t see it, there was strength, prowess, and creativity that she displayed that separated her from the rest. Wisdom comes only when you’re able to recognize your achievements, realize your weaknesses and amplify your strengths, this clears your vision to better horizons of life, just like it did for Mirabel.
2. The Torment of Fear
First, this is one of the first Disney movies where the grandmother becomes the villain of the story, this is not because Alma wanted it to be so but ‘cause fear is a horrible master. Alma had gone through painful experiences that had registered traumas alongside triggers in her mind, the fear that affliction would rise again in her home caked her up in pressure, this is the same pressure that she inflicts on her the entirety of the family.
I know that pain does not last long, and trauma would last a while, however, it’s very important to never let fear kill the last ounce of happiness that you have left. This movie tells the audience that letting fear, traumas, and triggers become the catalysts to our actions and decisions would bring nothing but a bland life and a blind eye to the emotions of the people around us
3. The Salient Pressure Cycle Of Family Responsibilities
Every man as long as you’re under a certain family tree can relate to the pressure of responsibilities heaped on every member of the family, so the lower you are on the family tree, the lesser the responsibilities.
Encanto properly brings the audience to this light, especially with the song ‘Under The Surface’ by Lin Manuel Miranda. Lin Manuel lets us know that this song is inspired by his older sister as he laced the lyrics with the pressure that older siblings carry. The responsibility to light up the path of the younger chaps always falls on the shoulders of the first child of the family. In one way or another, the movie puts the audience in their shoes and we can appreciate and relate to their efforts through the character Luisa.
On this note, there’s always more to say about Encanto but this is where I’ll draw the curtains on this one. Encanto is an 80% for me. If you’re still not sure whether or not to see Encanto, the trailer is available below and a variety of quotes from the movie have been splattered all across this post to tickle your curiosity. I’ll like to know your thoughts on Encanto in the comments section, don’t forget to subscribe!
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