Disney Animation hasn’t impressed me in recent years because they’ve been more concerned with making films about flawless, marketable characters and it’s really hindered their ability to take risks and tell interesting stories. Encanto is a step in a much better direction. In fact, it’s probably the closest to a Pixar film that the studio has produced since Zootopia. There’s a theme at its core and the film sticks to it. If you can look past the “it’s magic just because” element that’s per the Disney fairy tale norm, Encanto is a strong, character-driven story about the drawbacks of perfection and how having high expectations and ignoring flaws is destructive behavior. The focus is on the characters and how they aren’t the perfect angels they think they are.
It’s like a subtly honest self-critique of Disney’s most recent projects. A villain isn’t needed, flawed characters are what’s paramount to telling an effective story. The characters in Encanto have insecurities and prejudices to overcome and they work past it together through heartfelt writing and plenty of passionate musical sequences with a refreshing cultural touch. I can’t say the songs are especially memorable given Disney’s enormous history – some of the segues are a bit awkward, too – but they further the story, show how the characters feel and burst with plentiful color, emotion and distinctive visuals by an ensemble of characters bearing unique quirks. This is the power of a musical and even though it’s not Disney’s greatest lineup of songs, the effort still shows. Encanto is very enjoyable. Here’s hoping it’s the beginning of a new era for Disney Animation. More passion, more inclusivity, better stories.
Review by sirwillisiv