‘Encanto’ movie review: No sign of Disney magic wearing off

Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and scored by Germaine Franco, the music is a glorious takeaway from this heart-warming exercise.

Encanto, Disney’s 60th feature film, proves there is no sign of the Disney magic wearing off. Encanto tells the story of the Madrigals, living in the mountains of Colombia. Long ago, Abuela Alma (María Cecilia Botero), her husband, Pedro, and their three infant children – Bruno (John Leguizamo), Julieta (Angie Cepeda) and Pepa (Carolina Gaitán) – flee the conquerors. Pedro gives up his life for his family and the grief-stricken Alma finds a magic candle.

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The candle helps build an enchanted house. A community is created around the Madrigals in a magical land called Encanto. Every member of the Madrigal family, when they come of age, is bestowed with a gift — Julieta can heal with her cooking while Pepa controls the weather. Bruno, who can foresee the future has left the family after a terrible prediction.

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Julieta has three daughters, the perfect Isabela (Diane Guerrero) who can control plants especially flowers, the super-strong Louisa (Jessica Darrow), who thinks nothing of carrying six donkeys to their barn or moving a church and Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), who despite not getting a gift, is sensitive, warm-hearted and wishes the best for her family.

  • Directors: Byron Howard, Jared Bush
  • Voice cast: Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, María Cecilia Botero, Diane Guerrero, Jessica Darrow, Angie Cepeda, Wilmer Valderrama
  • Story line: A girl belonging to a magical family, where everyone has a gift except her, must save her family as the magic seems to be disappearing
  • Run time: 99 minutes

On the day her cousin, Antonio (Ravi-Cabot Conyers), receives his gift (the ability to talk to animals), Mirabel notices cracks in the house and the magic candle flickering. When Louisa admits being under pressure for her gift and feel weak when the cracks appeared, Mirabel realises there is something seriously wrong and sets off on an adventure to make things right.

Mirabel is yet another mop-topped new age Disney princess as are her sisters — Louisa with the bulging biceps and Isabella who is tired of flowers and discovers herself by creating carnivorous plants and cacti. The simple yet moving life lessons are packaged in an irresistible Disney package of dizzying colours, wondrous execution, soaring music and on-point lyrics. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and scored by Germaine Franco, the music is a glorious takeaway from this heart-warming exercise. And then there is that lovely short, Far From the Tree, which looks at parenting that is the cherry on the top of the jolly confection.

Encanto is currently running in theatres.

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