With the Walt Disney company still alive and kicking, skipping the chance of a magical getaway during Thanksgiving and Christmas season is never an option. From Frozen to Coco, Disney's Thanksgiving (celebrated on 25 November this year in the United States) gifts to its audience have always been the peaky delights of chilly holiday nights.
Keeping up with the iconic 'Disney never disappoints' tradition, Disney's newest addition Encanto proves its credibility once again.
Released exclusively in theatres on 24 November 2021, the 60th animated movie from the enchanted pouch of Disney ticks off all the checklists for holiday movies. Encanto offers a ride of warmth wrapped in miracle and magic with just about everything you might expect from Disney.
From the mountains of Colombia, Encanto unfolds the colourful tale of the Madrigal family. From the looks of it, the Madrigals may seem like the family next door. But the clan is hardly an ordinary one.
The story dates back to the woods of Colombia when Pedro and Abuela with their three infants were fleeing from the intruders. Pedro lost his life in the chase but Abuela Alma was given a second chance - a magical candle that saved the house of Madrigals.
Resuming to recent times, the candle's magic is passed onto generations where each Madrigal possesses a special power except one, Mirabel. Our story follows the lead of Mirabel, the third generation Madrigal.
Mirabel's unmagical appearance may fall short in perfection among magical Madrigals but the voices of the animated movie artists surely didn't. The praise of Encanto is incomplete without Stephanie Beatriz, John Leguizamo, Diane Guerrero, María Cecilia Botero and others behind the screen.
But the candle is not the only miracle the Madrigals were given.
In Madrigal's casita, misfit Mirabel was a hidden miracle too. In the second half of the film, you meet Mirabel as a courageous individual who faces the challenge of a dangerous fate that awaits her family.
Fitting to Disney's tradition of iconic companions, our newest Mirabel is seen to also follow the forbidden path of a relative, whom the Madrigals don't talk about. From a tale of magical beings, the story transforms into a tale of love beyond magic.
Encanto's biggest success lies in its dynamic and accentuated approach to storytelling. One major example is the cultural experience that the movie offered on screen through its storyline.
Plotted in rich Latin culture, Disney's first Colombia set film celebrates magical realism, a literary aspect known from the works of Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The 109 minutes of the movie shows an incredibly authentic representation of Colombian culture. From the architecture to the astonishing details in the characters' traditional clothing, the musical sets the bar high with its depictions.
The portrayal of family values, Colombian native animals in the background or the rich cuisine, Encanto marks off the criteria of a good representation. Through Madrigals, Disney made its audience live through the culture with an emotional touch.
Another triumph for Disney on its 60th is the comprehensive production.
As expected, directors of Zootopia, Byron Howard and Jared Bush delivered perfection coupled with original music from Lin-Manuel Miranda and Germaine Franco. With eight original songs in English and Spanish, the movie set the tone for the movie's context while cleverly focusing on the main characters.
The musical not only plays with tunes but also with human experiences. The lyrics hide pain of trauma, pressure of responsibility and perfection, even fear. Where "Waiting on a Miracle" speaks of Mirabel's unmagical experience, "Surface Pressure" voices the fear of losing the magical perfection.
From a musical viewpoint, the cultural bilingual approach may not be new for Disney but it is always a welcoming one. While the use of traditional Latin instruments is refreshing, the movie could not deliver any 'stuck in the head' impressionable original soundtracks akin to Frozen or Moana.
But the upbeat and context-appropriate songs do not shy from complementing the spellbinding narrative.
The movie with a 7.7 rating on IMDB and 92% on Rotten Tomatoes has already claimed its place as an enchanted piece. But beyond ratings, there lies Disney's message of happiness.
Just like the miraculous candle of Encanto, the home to magical bliss, Disney has passed on happiness for generations.
Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the latest, Disney has voiced dreams and inspired millions through tales. With its magical production spell, Disney has consistently pioneered new beginnings.
And Encanto has marked the start of a trail filled with diverse spells - for Disney and for all.