Disney’s Encanto has been out since Thanksgiving 2021, and thanks to the constant need to please everyone, a lot of people on our side of the political aisle have been boycotting movies. But honestly, don’t boycott this one. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics. I mean, you’d really, really, really have to be searching to find something in this movie that’s “woke”, or some kind of insulting and I tried. If someone else did, then give them a gold medal for their mental gymnastics.
The movie takes place in Columbia and has a fantastic voice cast of talented singers and performers. Brooklyn 99 star, Stephanie Beatriz stuns those who know her as the low-voiced, tough cop in her singing and speaking role as the teenaged star of the story, Mirabel Madrigal.
The movie has so many important lessons in it which revolve around family and love and trust and faith in one another. But most importantly, I took home a message I am not altogether sure that the writers meant to be found.
You don’t need power to make a difference or even an impact, and in a world where every other block buster is about some “ordinary” kid discovering they aren’t so ordinary, that’s a message badly needed. Even in the adult world we need to be reminded that the rich and powerful are only powerful because everyone else allows them to be.
SPOILERS will follow the trailer.
The biggest issue that you’re going to have with this film is the fact that your kids won’t stop singing the songs. Like Frozen, one song in particular is going to get stuck inside your child’s head and they’re going to be randomly singing, humming, or stating aloud that “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” no-no-no-no, for the next year at least.
If you check out the soundtrack on Spotify, the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” has been listened to over 23 million times as of writing this article. This afternoon when I checked it, that number was 21 million! That’s how often your kids are going to drive you mad. Now, that’s still got a long way to go to reach the impressive (frightening) 511 million plus times that “Let It Go” has been played.
The imagery of the movie is incredible and everything we’ve come to expect of Disney’s newer computer animated style since abandoning the traditional animated looks. Mirabel and the cast look like they could all be part of the same universe as Moana, Coco, and Raya and the Last Dragon.
Probably the best part of the movie is that despite not having any special gifts, powers, or secrets, Mirabel Madrigal keeps the attention of the audience. Her humor and her down-to-earth personality would normally leave the audience a little bored, especially surrounded by characters that could easily have their own movie, but the charm of the character and gentle self-mockery makes her relatable.
Even more fascinating is that the family isn’t royal, they aren’t facing down some terrifying threat be it magical or mundane. There’s no sinister villain in the movie, though Disney still manages to get their trademark black and highlighter green effects into one specific character. In the end, the heart of the matter at hand is that their family needs to come together and be more understanding of one another.
And what more could you ask for right now? While villains exist, our children have to learn that it’s okay to get along and care about people who are different or have different ways of viewing the world. It’s okay to be imperfect and it’s okay to have conflict with your loved ones as long as you make an effort to find a resolution.
Congratulations to Disney for providing a family film that wasn’t written for any one type of personality, but for the entire audience.