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ENCANTO 🤩

Yet another underrated Disney gem.

PREMISE

A young Colombian girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.

THE GOOD STUFF

FAR FROM THE TREE- That is the name of the short film that plays before the feature. (Disney flicks tend to have short films in front of them if you didn’t know that already) Basically, it’s a dialog-less summarization of just how hard parenting can be. Some parents lead by strictness and caution, and some lead through kindness and communication. This film pretty much is a testament to showing the effectiveness and risks of both methods. Not the best Disney short I’ve seen, but effective and a good lead-in to this film.

THE STORY- As a man of a certain age that still willingly and unapologetically watches Disney films, I really come to appreciate what I like to call the MID-TIER Disney films. Films that keep it simple and straightforward. I respect the big spectacle films that have become really popular with the masses that made billions of dollars. However, MID-TIER Disney has a better batting percentage when it comes to storytelling.

And here, we have the story of a family with magical powers…and for some reason, those powers start to vanish. Mostly the reasons for that have to do with the family…who are of themselves low-key messy. Messy in the ways that the typical American Family can be. A lot of relatable stuff here for a wide range of people. That is…unless your family isn’t messy at all.

THE MUSIC- Is it too early to say that whenever Lin Manuel Miranda does something that we can just expect the music at least to be on point and enjoyable? Earlier this year, there was the ongoing narrative that he was overrated because of the lack of success of IN THE HEIGHTS. And to an extent that criticism is warranted.  

However, in my humble opinion, the music has never, ever, ever, disappointed. And that is very much the Is case with this movie. Sure, not all of the songs slap, but the ones that did (Surface Pressure, The Family Madrigal, We Don’t Talk About Bruno, Columbia Mi Encanto) had me bobbing my head in a Disney movie.

Kinda like this…

THE BAD STUFF

THE ENDING- I have to be completely honest here; even though I found this movie to be very exceptional… it did not stick the landing.

I wouldn’t go as far as to call it narratively incoherent or anything like that, But the last 10 minutes moved so fast that I had to stop and think about what happened before concluding that there is a plausible ending. But there could have been a great one. As a writer, to walk out of a film and instantly start thinking of ways you could have written the ending…never a good sign.

THE UGLY STUFF

No ugliness here.  This film does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and it does it well.

I tend to find little to complain about when it comes to MID-TIER Disney. Films like OLIVER AND COMPANY, THE BRACE LITTLE TOASTER, THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, from back in the day went overlooked, and underappreciated. After that was the era that brought us THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE , BROTHER BEAR, and MEET THE ROBINSONS, which were all very enjoyable and hold up well.  More recently, movies like THE PRINCESS AND THE FROT, PETE’S DRAGON, and THE GOOD DINOSAUR rounded out the last decade of underrated MID-TIER Disney.

And ENCANTO It’s a very, very good start to MID-TIER Disney’s next decade.

Eli Brumfield

Eli Brumfield in an actor/screenwriter from Seattle Washington, living in Los Angeles.

He is the host of the RV8 Podcast.

He hates the word cinefile, but considering how many films he consumes in a week...and how many films he goes out of his way to see, no matter the genre...he kinda seems to be one.

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