Encanto Review

Mirabel+Madrigal%2C+the+main+protagonist%2C+stands+in+front+of+her+house.+Her+house%2C+known+as+the+Casita%2C+is+filled+with+magic%2C+almost+having+a+personality+of+its+own.%0A

Photo Taken From disney.com

Mirabel Madrigal, the main protagonist, stands in front of her house. Her house, known as the Casita, is filled with magic, almost having a personality of its own.

Attention: The following article contains spoilers

Walt Disney is one of the biggest companies, having some of the highest income films. With this, the company constantly releases new films, which typically are wildly successful. One example of this is the recent release of the animated film, Encanto

Currently (As of January 10th, 2022), Encanto has been streaming on Disney+, Disney’s own streaming service. Before the movie was released, people were excited about the film, seeing as the soundtrack was written by award-winning songwriter, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is also the creator of Hamilton, In the Heights, and wrote Moana’s soundtrack.

Encanto, plotwise, is about the Madrigal family and their unique magical “gifts” given to each of the family members by a magical candle. Focusing on the protagonist, Mirabel Madrigal, who doesn’t have any magical gifts, finds that the magic in the Encanto may be lost through a vision, thus she goes on a journey to attempt to save it. 

Along the journey, Mirabel runs into her lost uncle Bruno, who according to the Madrigal family, is a shame and shouldn’t be talked about. His gift is to see into the future, yet the things he sees aren’t always the most positive. With this, some of the members of the family believe that he is the one who causes the havoc. Mirabel enlists his help as he is the one who had the vision of the magic being lost. When watching further in the vision, Mirabel sees a sign of hope represented by a butterfly.

Mirabel teaches the town kids about the Madrigal family. This was the moment when the kids found out that Mirabel didn’t have any magic.
(Photo Taken From disney.com)

With this new full vision, Mirabel sees the magic grow stronger when she hugs her older sister, Isabela Madrigal. To make the magic grow stronger, she makes an attempt to hug her sister. The problem is, a day before, Mirabel ruined Isabela’s engagement proposal. 

Frustrated by her sister ruining her engagement proposal and the stress of the expectation to be perfect, Isabela lashes out at Mirabel. Isabela, before Mirabel’s interruption, had the magic to grow perfect roses and only that. Through her lashing out, however, she has the realization that she didn’t want to be wed and she grows a cactus. 

With growing the cactus she begins to realize that she doesn’t need to grow only roses and follow what is set in line for her. Mirabel further helps Isabela unlock her full potential to do everything in the way she wants to do it. Because of her sister helping her out, Isabela hugs Mirabel. With this, the magic grows shown as the magical candle becomes brighter.

This all comes crashing down as soon as the head of the house and the Abuela of the family, Alma Madrigal, enters the Casita.  Alma’s rage had built up from Mirabel. Seeing as she has reduced the magic of her other sister earlier, ruined the engagement proposal, and had just made Isabela from being perfect to imperfect. 

Because of this, the magic becomes lost while the candle goes out and the Casita comes crashing down. Mirabel runs away and flees to a river outside of the perimeter of the village. Here, Alma finds her and confronts her, admitting that she was too harsh on her and how the gift that they had came to be. 

The story is that Alma, her husband, their three kids, and other villagers were fleeing from soldiers, and in a valiant sacrifice, her husband jumps in front of the fire to protect them and dies. Because of Alma’s display of vulnerability and the undesired feeling for the same tragedy to happen twice, an unexpected miracle occurs with a candle, providing magic and a place for Alma’s family alongside the surrounding villagers to stay.

Mirabel in the glance of her eye sees the butterfly she was meant to see in the vision and forgives her Abuela. Here, Bruno arrives and when he tries apologizing for everything, Abuela forgives him.

They then return back home and with a warm welcome to Bruno, they rebuild the Casita with the help of the surrounding villagers. Then as Mirabel puts the doorknob in, the magic comes back with a fully reunited Madrigal family.

On The Sage Instagram page, students vote on whether they enjoyed the movie or not. According to the poll, 81% of people enjoyed the film while 19% did not.
(Photo Courtesy of @TheSagePublication on Instagram)

With Encanto being really popular, the reviews were mostly positive. On Rotten Tomatoes there is a 91% on their Tomatometer, on IMDb there is a 7.3/10 and on Google reviews  89% of viewers enjoyed watching the film. Alongside this, according to @theSagePublication on Instagram, 81% of viewers enjoyed the film.

Freshman Adalay London states her opinions on the themes of the film.

“This is the first movie that I can think of where they actually come out and say that this person has anxiety and talk about it,” London says. “I really appreciate it because it’s not some big thing where they go on a quest, but they can focus on stuff like the family.”

The movie’s original soundtrack has some of the better Disney songs, seeing as they have the “Miranda style” while being influenced by Colombia and its culture. The characters in the film are fun and unique, having assets as well as flaws. 

Despite most people enjoying the film, it doesn’t mean the film has no flaws. 

Freshman Cameron Davis shared what they thought of the film..

“I felt that the plot doesn’t have a lot of detail and doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Davis said. “It’s a ‘Disneyfied’ movie you could say, in the fact that characters go from enemies to friends in seconds, and Encanto kind of magnified it.”

With this, the plot is a bit bland, predictable, and unexciting, showing a typical hero without powers go on an adventure. With each major plot twist, plot point, and climax, the audience is able to quickly predict what comes next, therefore, the story becomes less interesting.

The story also ended right where it began. While some changes happen with the family, after they get their magic back, barely anything differs. Normally moral messages are shown in Disney films, such as Frozen being about embracing who you are and Tangled helping people to get out of their comfort zones. Yet through Encanto, there wasn’t really a main moral message towards the end. 

Mirabel doing her daily chores of moving plates. Even just when helping the family, she is able to enjoy herself.
(Photo Taken From disney.com)

Think of this, what if their family never got their magic returned. With this, it becomes a more eventful ending as well as a more fulfilling message of the family not needing their magic to live a happy life. With the magic returning, there was a sense of predictability knowing that the magic would return.

Mirna Casas had alternative ideas for the ending.

“I would probably make it in the end [if] everyone would realize that her power was to bring everyone together, and kind of acknowledge that,” Casas stated. 

Although there are many colorful characters, the character chemistry between them was little to none. For example, the interactions between Mirabel’s sisters were not interesting, while both of her sisters feel as if they are only talking to themselves rather than an actual character. When going into a film with high expectations and seeing the quality of other Disney films, something felt missing. 

Despite this, Encanto is a film for the whole family, and a great film to watch if you look for the positives. The animation is fun and it has a decent amount of comedy throughout. The music is phenomenal, and if you’re looking for something casual and not too intense, you can look forward to watching Encanto.