‘Encanto’ Has Style But Lacks Any Real Substance

I was watching an Indigenous man on social media respond to a commenter upset that he makes posts that don’t focus on Indigenous/Native American history and practices. He just makes common posts like others. It seems a current trend that non-white people are expected to focus on the mystics and folklore of their culture or to double-down on their races’ traditions.

But why?

Why can’t we just see a nice animated movie about a Colombian family without it being about a family that has mystical superpowers? It seems to be a problem in most Disney animated movies. While previous movies like Moana, Coco and The Book of Life were fun and enjoyable, Encanto seems to be forced into repeating the same tropes.

Co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda who also wrote the songs, it’s the story of a young Colombian girl named Mirabel Madrigal (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) who is 15 and the only one in her family that doesn’t have the mystical superhuman powers her family does. And almost immediately, I understood the metaphor. It’s about a teen who feels excluded from her family because she doesn’t conform or feel she fits in.

Why couldn’t we just see a regular Latinx family in which a teenage girl felt this way? No. We got to load it down with so many of the same tropes that we’ve seen in other movies and shows about Latinx, I had to double-check the credits to see if Carlos Mencia or George Lopez didn’t have a hand in writing or producing it.

As for the songs by LMM, they’re boring and don’t really help the plot. They lay them on so thick in the first third of the movie that I actually debated whether to continue to watch it. LMM has a different style of what musicals can be and I think he’s not acclimated full to movies.

I just couldn’t get into this one as much as I can other Disney cartoons or other animated movies. There’s a lot of bright colors and visuals and Mirabel is a nice character, but her family doesn’t treat her as good as they should.

Maybe it’s my age and the latest batch of animated movies don’t seem as entertaining as the ones did when I was younger. Maybe it’s because they’re saturating the market too much with these films. Like Ron’s Gone Wrong, you feel it’s all been done before and done better.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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