Encanto (Blu-ray)

January 12, 2022 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

In something a bit unusual from Disney, comes Encanto. It tells the story of a young girl with curly hair named Mirabel. She is the only member of her family born without magical powers. Encanto is the name of the small town in which she lives that hides a secret source. I have read some comparisons to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and to some degree that seems accurate. This is not a superhero film in the traditional sense, but the powers possessed by most of the characters can draw some comparisons. One thing I think that we can relate to in the film is most of us at least at some point in our lives wished we had superpowers. With that, we can relate to our lead character.

One aspect here that sticks out from the pack is more emphasis on our lead character and her specific journey. When we can stand behind her and her reasons for what she’s doing, it helps with staying invested in the story. I also appreciated the village setting and the overall look of the feature, which wastes no opportunity to show off its strong visual design. Seeing a lead character who is seen as something of an outcast as she doesn’t possess the powers that the fellow residents of this world do can make us have more sympathy to her as well. That attention to detail and character development work well.

While I appreciated the visuals of the film and the story held me, I won’t rank it among the greatest that Disney has to offer, but it remained mildly enjoyable overall. I could’ve done with a bit less singing, but maybe the target audience will get more out of it. The lead character is likable so that helps things. With some editing too, that might’ve helped push the story along a bit faster. As it stands, the heart is in the right place and that isn’t always easy to do.

Video: How’s it look?

We shouldn’t expect anything other than stellar and thankfully the visuals here live up to the demands set by Disney’s high standards. This world and the characters are all colorful and given plenty of details for our eyes to feast on. It’s a smaller 1.85:1 ratio, but fans should feel more than pleased with the results here.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The Dolby Atmos track also impressed. While I haven’t been as pleased as some of the DTS tracks I’ve heard, nothing became problematic. Vocals had the clarity, the singing in the film made great use of all the channels, all to leave us feeling pleased.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Sing Along with the Movie – Sing along with your favorite songs with on-screen lyrics as you watch the movie.
  • Familia Lo Es Todo – Members of the Disney Animation “Familia” cultural trust share real-life experiences in this exploration of the lovable Madrigal family members. We learn what inspired each character, and about how the artists’ designs bring realism to their personalities. 
  • Discover Colombia – The filmmaking team discusses how the multiple cultures, biodiversity and vibrant colors of Colombia are expressed in Encanto. They describe how satisfying it was to fully celebrate this beautiful country and support the theme of magical realism. 
  • A Journey Through Music – The filmmakers invite us to discover how each character came to be represented musically. We follow the creation of Encanto’s Colombian-inspired music, featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs and Germaine Franco’s score, from concept to final recording. 
  • Let’s Talk About Bruno – Learn how the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” with its intriguing undertones, was created. Discover the extensive collaboration between Lin-Manuel Miranda, choreographer Jamal Sims, the voice cast and animators in bringing it to the screen. 
  • Our Casita – La Casa Madrigal is alive with magic, and its emotional state is affected by other family members. From its colorful doors to its fine stonework, the magical house was designed using principles of Colombian tradition. 
  • Outtakes – From the thrill of “nailing” a take in the presence of an entertainment industry icon to the hilarity of losing a wrestling match with tongue-twisting dialogue, join the cast for some good-natured fun from behind the microphone. 
  • Journey to Colombia – With the help of the Colombian Cultural Trust, a dedicated team of consultants, the filmmakers of Encanto embark on a journey of discovery to learn more about Colombia and how best to reflect the country’s cultures and environments on the big screen. 
  • An Introduction to Far From the Tree – Writer and director Natalie Nourigat introduces the Walt Disney Animation Studios short film Far From the Tree. 
  • Far From the Tree – Parenting is hard, especially when curiosity tugs at a young raccoon whose parent tries to keep them both safe. In the Walt Disney Animation Studios short Far From the Tree, this youngster learns to live with an open heart…even as danger lurks. 
  • Deleted Scenes 
    • Introduction – Heads of Story Jason Hand and Nancy Kruse present four scenes not seen in the film’s release, but were part of the journey toward the final version of the story. 
    • Chores! – Abuela has sent most of the family to town on various assignments that bring them acclaim, while Mirabel, her father and uncle are asked to clean the house. 
    • Another Way In – Mirabel attempts to understand a clue found in her uncle’s vision. To make this happen, she must go through Antonio’s room, where adventures unfold. 
    • Isabela Goes Into the Woods – When Mirabel sees her sister head for apparent danger in the woods, she races to save her, and encounters the surprise of a lifetime! 
    • Back to the Mural – Feeling rejected, Mirabel goes back to town. Abuela seeks her out and reveals a part of her personality that her granddaughter has never seen. 
  • Song Selection – Jump to your favorite musical moments, with on-screen lyrics.
    • The Family Madrigal
    • Colombia, Mi Encanto
    • Waiting on a Miracle
    • Surface Pressure
    • We Don’t Talk About Bruno
    • What Else Can I Do
    • Dos Oruguitas
    • All of You

The Bottom Line

While not essential viewing, I do feel Encanto should satisfy its target audience. At no point does it turn into anything groundbreaking, but it gets more than enough right to warrant a viewing.

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