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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Don Reviews "Encanto"

Well, the holiday season is here, and I already have the lights on the outside of our house done. It also means that the race is on for movie studios to the what they feel is their award-worthy films in theaters for consideration, and Disney is one of the big ones here, but with “Encanto,” is it the present they always wanted or one that winds up forgotten in the attic?

Their latest animated film directed by Byron Howard, Jared Bush, and Charise Castro Smith has a voice cast of Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, Maria Cecilia Botero, Diane Guerrero, Jessica Darrow, Angie Cepeda, Wilmer Valderrama, Ravi-Cabot Conyers, and Carolina Gaitan. This is the story of Mirabel (Beatriz), a member of the Madrigal family who lives in a mountain town in Columbia. Abuela (Botero)is the patriarch of the family who finds a magical candle that never burns out after her husband is killed by bandits, and that candle’s powers helped build their house. The candle also has the ability to grant a different child special powers to use to help the village stay safe… except for Maribel. After Camilo (Feliz) receives his, the magical house is starting to lose it’s power and the family’s powers are threatened for good unless Mirabel can find out why and save her village.

I was really happy with the voice cast, especially since the only one I recognized was John Leguizamo. This helped me separate the actors from the characters on screen as opposed to only seeing Dewayne Johnson in “Moana”. Each character had their own quirks and characteristics while watching the film, which was a treat. Visually, this is Disney and they deliver. I truly felt like I was in the middle of the action taking place in a Central or South American village. Being the sixtieth film by Disney Animation Studios, they just keep making great animation.

This is the first film since “Zootopia” where Howard and Bush co-directed a Disney animated feature, and that set the bar high for me. This has a different feel than their previous one with more of a serious tone, which is good. However, “Encanto” has a storyline that may be a little too complicated for the younger crowd while still handing the normal Disney style of story with plot point, song, plot point, song, and repeat until the big bad event and the happy ending. Even though this is just over an hour and a half (which is about right for me here), I wish there was just something different from that standpoint.

Would I be surprised if this film gets nominated next year for best animated feature? Absolutely not, and it really is a film good for the family to see together, so I will recommend “Encanto” as a weekend matinee screening for the family.

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