Encanto Arrives Friday On Digital and Disney+

Encanto has the honor of being the 60th movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios and arrives on Disney+ and Digital this week.

In the Heights. Vivo. tick, tick…BOOM! Encanto. What do all four of these films have in common? They all feature Lin-Manuel Miranda is some sort of capacity. The Oscar still eludes the PEGT winner so we’ll see if this upcoming Oscars is the year. However, there’s certainly some tough competition for Best Original Song. Miranda’s first-ever fully Spanish song–sung by Sebastián Yatra–is “Dos Oruguitas” and gives the film a folk song flavor. Nothing is ever a guarantee during awards season so time will tell.

It feels like an odd choice coming from the Oscar-winning filmmakers of Zootopia but they turn their focus on family. But in 2021, this is the sort of film that we want to see. Or at least I do in any event. Sure, the film is rooted in magic but at the end of the day, it celebrates our immediate and extended families. One family in particular: the magical Madrigals of Colombia.

When it comes to family, there is always the one person who stands out from the rest of the bunch. It could be politics, sports, or anything. But in the film’s case, it’s Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). Her character is the only one in the film who does not have any magical powers. Furthermore, her name reflects one of the film’s themes, perspective and how we see people for their true selves. Not so much how they appear on the outside but who they are on the inside. This helps explain, too, why Mirabel wears glasses. In many ways, it makes her a very different leading character from the Disney leads of years past.

Mirabel finds a way to somehow push forward even without receiving a gift. When it feels like everyone else is a superhero, Mirabel is the character that we can relate to. But when Encanto’s magic is in trouble, who else goes on a journey to save it but Mirabel!

Except for Mirabel, everyone in her family has some sort of magical gift. The filmmakers make these gifts relatable to the audience because they draw on real-life. For instance, Julieta (Angie Cepeda) has the power to heal through the food she makes. Or as I call it where I come from: chicken soup is Jewish Penicillin (unless you’re like me and allergic to Penicillin)! Luisa (Jessica Darrow) has super strength because there’s always that one family member who has the entire world placed on their shoulders. Isabela (Diane Guerrero) is the “golden child” with ability to make flowers bloom because there’s always the one person who has to overachieve on everything. I could go on and on but I think you get the idea.

Encanto may be an animated film but there’s bound to be a few things that might go over the heads of children. Adults will know it when they see it. Maybe, maybe not–it might even go over your head! But other than this, there’s vibrant colors everywhere. When it comes to the light, nothing in the film is rooted in electricity. It is either natural or magic. How about that?

Old-school animation fans will certainly appreciate the hand-drawn rat shadows during “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” Most animation is done over computers these days but this is a nice way back to Disney’s roots.

Disney does their due diligence in setting the film in Colombia. The filmmakers made a research trip and also collaborated with the Colombian Cultural Trust. A group of Latinx Disney Animation employees, Familia, also shared their perspectives and experiences. You could not make this film without the groups chiming in to share their experiences. Be sure to check out the bonus features to hear from the Familia cultural trust.

I love how the Walt Disney Animation Studios keeps going for diversity in their animated films. We’ve seen this before in recent years such as Moana and Raya and the Last Dragon.  It’s on the Pixar side of things, too. With their 60th animated feature, Disney takes us on a vibrant and magical trip to Colombia in Encanto to provide fun that the whole family can enjoy.

Bonus Features

  • 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

*bonus features vary by product and retailer

DIRECTORS: Jared Bush, Byron Howard
CO-DIRECTOR: Charise Castro Smith
SCREENWRITERS: Charise Castro Smith, Jared Bush
CAST: Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, John Leguizamo, Mauro Castillo, Jessica Darrow, Angie Cepeda, Carolina Gaitán, Diane Guerrero, Wilmer Valderrama, Rhenzy Feliz, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Adassa

Disney released Encanto in theaters on November 24, 2021. The film will be available on Digital and Disney+ starting on December 24, 2021. The film will arrive on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on February 8, 2022.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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