Take this Encanto Quiz to find out which character you are. We update the quiz regularly and it’s the most accurate among the other quizzes.
Finding something for the entire family to watch during the holidays is a constant problem. It’s as much a part of Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and Christmas songs on the radio. This holiday season, Disney is releasing a sweet, feel-good family film called “Encanto,” a Colombian magical realist story about a family who gains special powers after surviving a catastrophe. They now live together in a magical house a few generations later, and each member develops their own talent, such as the ability to control the weather, shapeshift into other people, and communicate with animals. Their casita (home) answers to their family’s needs and moods. Each bedroom is magically customized to the relative and their magical ability. Mirabel was the sole exception (Stephanie Beatriz).
“Encanto” follows Mirabel, a “child with no obvious gift,” as she strives to fit in with a family so outstanding that her judgmental Abuela Alma (Mara Cecilia Botero) disappoints her at every turn. It’s difficult for Mirabel to stand out when her mother, Julieta (Angie Cepeda), can heal wounds with her cooking—specifically, her arepas con queso—her sister Luisa (Jessica Darrow) can lift the heaviest of objects with ease, and her sister Isabela (Diane Guerrero) can grow the most beautiful flowers without thinking about it. Mirabel discovers fractures in the family’s casita, but no one believes her and dismisses her concerns as something her distant crazy uncle Bruno (John Leguizamo) would say. Mirabel must figure out what is going on in order to save both her family and her home. Also, you must try to play this Encanto Quiz.
Directors Jared Bush and Byron Howard (“Zootopia”), as well as co-director Charise Castro Smith (“Raya and the Last Dragon”), who shares more than a passing similarity to the film’s main character, have crafted yet another sweet film about misfits trying to do the right thing. Most interestingly, there is no villain in this Disney film, only a hazy “unknown” who threatens the family and their house. The conflict is minimal at best, allowing Mirabel to spend more time learning about what she can do despite her lack of abilities, but it also leaves the film feeling a little meandering. To compensate for the lack of action, the film excels in animation and design, making full use of the house with portals to new worlds and musical sections that allow for a little more abstract artistic expression.
Speaking of musical sequences, I believe Lin-Manuel Miranda should take a sabbatical. His 2021 offerings have been a touch disappointing after knocking it out of the park with “In the Heights,” “Hamilton,” and “Moana.” For this review, I finally saw the film “Vivo,” in which he plays the title character and also writes the songs. Those figures sounded fragile and unimportant. He rhymes “drum” with… “drum” in one song. The odds are a little better in “Encanto,” with more songs faring better than others, but there’s still a sense that these musical performances are reheated leftovers from prior ventures. They sound like his work, but they don’t give anything new or fascinating for us to remember. The cheap pop songs “What Else Can I Do?” and “Surface Pressure” by Isabela and Luisa are cloyingly repetitious. “The Family Madrigal” is a less successful rendition of “In the Heights'” opening tune. Only Carlos Vives’ rendition of Miranda’s “Colombia, Mi Encanto” stands out as a standout.
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Unimpressive tunes are a travesty for an animated musical like “Encanto.” Other features to love are the film’s rowdy voice ensemble, which includes Carolina Gaitán, Rhenzy Feliz, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Wilmer Valderrama, Mauro Castillo, and one-name Latin music sensations Maluma and Adassa. It’s also interesting to see an animated Disney film finally integrate different skin tones and hair textures in the same family, as well as Colombian fashion like ponchos, flowing embroidered skirts, bright gowns, and guayaberas as character elements. Beatriz is fantastic as Mirabel, reflecting both anguish and love in her voice throughout the film while never losing the whimsical fun that makes her character so endearing. Olga Merediz, another “In the Heights” alum, provides Abuela’s singing voice.