By Katelyn Patterson | Reporter
“Encanto,” created by the The Walt Disney Co., is the latest from their animation studio to hit the big screen. The movie takes place in Colombia and follows the Madrigal family. Stephanie Beatriz, known for her role as Detective Diaz in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” voices the lead role, Mirabel.
Casita, the home of the Madrigal family, is alive and made of magic. She speaks in moving tiles and window shutters, and she keeps the home in order. She also has a tradition: When each Madrigal comes of age, they are gifted a magical ability and a door to a grand bedroom that matches that of their newfound magic. This tradition started when abuela Alma and her family fled the violence of their village and found a miracle — a candle that granted her children magic powers.
Mirabel is the youngest of her sisters, Isabela and Luisa, and the only one not granted an ability by Casita. She suddenly finds herself wrapped in the mystery of the future of her family’s magic. She embarks on a journey to find answers and save Casita.
Lin-Manuel Miranda puts together a spellbinding soundtrack with a mixture of genres including salsa, bachata and hip-hop played with traditional Colombian folk instruments. The songs are fun and easy to listen to, and they also portray the characters well. Songs like “Surface Pressure” and “What Else Can I Do?” give insight into Maribel’s sisters and the internal struggles they face.
“Encanto” is directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard who last collaborated on Disney’s “Zootopia.” The New York Times said the pair incorporated an important political message into “Encanto” as they did in their previous film.
“This is a story about displaced people who build a home from nothing,” The New York Times said. “Their history is the source of their magic, and they use that magic to selflessly improve their community, without needing to assimilate into it. Given our nation’s track record on these subjects, to see such a tale in a children’s movie is quietly extraordinary.”
The animation is one of Disney’s best and one of the best from any animation studio in recent years. The embroidery on skirts, diverse Colombian plant life and various food shown throughout the movie are only some examples of the extraordinary animation. The respect for Latin culture and its variety is clear — skin tones range from dark to light and hair types adopt many textures.
“Encanto” is a beautiful story about the love and struggles of family, and is well worth the watch.