Fans of all ages can agree that Disney’s animated movies are exceptionally enjoyable. Walt Disney Animation Studios continues to impress viewers with the quality of animation, the courageous characters and the musical numbers. Consequently, enthusiastic Disney viewers are excited to hear of Disney’s upcoming animated film “Encanto.”
“Encanto” – the Spanish word meaning “charm” – follows the story of Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) and her magically talented family at Casa Madrigal in Colombia. However, unlike the rest of her family members, Maribel is the only one without a special gift. Even the house itself seems to have powers that aid the family. At Casa Madrigal, the family’s powers vary from super strength and assuming the form of another individual to animal whispering and magicking flowers and nature.
Although we don’t know many more details about the story, the trailer suggests that Casa Madrigal is special not only for its magic, but also because it acts as a welcoming sanctuary for family and friends outside of the home’s inhabitants. In other words, it is possible that Casa Madrigal is considered a second home for extended family and friends. As a consequence, “Encanto” seems to emphasize the importance of family bonds.
The Casa Madrigal family seems very friendly with their surrounding neighbors. The trailer includes a clip of Maribel standing with neighborhood children, and viewers can see the obvious contrast between colorfully-dressed, tall Maribel from the younger, uniformly-dressed and curious kids. The positioning of Maribel standing with the children and looking at her house like an audience member is purposeful: instead of being with her family inside her house, siding with the children outside represents the idea that giftless Maribel may feel more similar to the children without special powers than to her magically gifted family. In fact, one of the children even questions Maribel whether her gift is “being in denial” of not being as special as the rest of her family.
Considering these few indications, Maribel’s personal struggle of detachment from her gifted family will most likely be a recurring theme throughout “Encanto”. However, our hope is that Maribel finds her own unique and special gift, or at the least, learns to be proud of herself regardless of the circumstances.
In addition to the enchanting plot, the music, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, will undoubtedly convince viewers to sing and dance along with the film. “Encanto” will feature eight original songs from Miranda which are both in Spanish and English. From the trailer alone, we know to expect a lot of music and dancing combined with light, family-appropriate humor in “Encanto”.
Joining Miranda, other talents involved in the movie include Stephanize Beatriz, Ben Stiller, Wilmer Valderrama, Carolina Gaitán, María Cecelia Botero, Diane Guerrero, Rhenzy Feliz and Angie Cepeda.
Most of the actors casted in “Encanto” are Colombian by background, which aids to the sincerity of the film. This aspect is extremely important and in turn allows the actors to draw from their own cultures, while also offering actors the opportunity to add their personal ideas to their characters’ backstories.
Aside from the voices behind the characters, the screenplay is written by Charsie Castro Smith (who is making her film debut with “Encanto”) and Jared Bush (known for co-creating “Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero” and founding Dark Castle Entertainment). Bush will also co-direct the film with Byron Howard of “Bolt,” “Tangled” and “Zootopia” just to name a few.
The many talents contributing to “Encanto” along with the colorful details and appealing music offer much anticipated excitement for the upcoming animated film. The trailer alone suggests that “Encanto” will be not only an entertaining experience for viewers, but will also be a culturally-educating one. We’re looking forward to following the story of Maribel and Casa Madrigal in an animated Colombia.
“Encanto” is set to release in theaters on Nov. 4.
By Lauren Weber