NOC Review: ‘Encanto’ is Mostly Enchanting

First of all, score one for Walt Disney Animation for putting out two releases in one year that celebrate different stories from different cultures! With the terrific Raya and the Last Dragon earlier this year, and now the charming Encanto, it’s refreshing to see that the House of Mouse has been more proactive in telling stories that aren’t just rooted in Western European fairy tales. I think Moana really opened the door for this, and as far as our site is concerned, we couldn’t be happier.

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‘Encanto’ Directors and Writers Find Magical Realism in Colombian Culture

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto is an animated musical that celebrates Lantine and Latinx culture, specifically everything Colombia offers. The film follows Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz), the only child not blessed with a magical gift. As she struggles to find her place within her multigenerational enchanted family, she finds out that the magic that has helped them and the town is in danger of disappearing. So she sets off on an adventure to prevent that from happening.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda on the Challenges of Songwriting in ‘Encanto’

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto tells a story about family and individuality through the Latin American lens, specifically a Colombian one. The film follows the Madrigal family, where every child was blessed with a magical power that they are to use to help the family and better the community. Well, every child except Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), who has to face the frustration of being the only one without a blessing.

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How the Magical Casita in ‘Encanto’ is a New Kind of Disney Castle

Encanto follows three generations of family, of which everyone but Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) has magical powers. Despite being ordinary and spending her entire life trying to measure up to the rest of the Madrigals, Mirabel discovers that the magic that defines her family’s legacy is in danger and that she may be the only one who can save it and them.

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How Colombian Culture, Music, and Dance Tell a Magical Story in ‘Encanto’

Making an animated film at Walt Disney Animation Studios is a tremendous undertaking. It takes years of development, not to mention countless rewrites to perfect the script, numerous in-house screenings, and so much more. Encanto, Disney’s 60th animated feature, brings music and dance together to tell the story of Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz), a Colombian teenager facing the fact that she is the only one who doesn’t have any magical abilities in her family. But when she discovers that magic is in danger, she sets off on a journey to save it.

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Netflix is 3% Closer, but Still Fighting White Supremacy Saviors

At this point, it’s damn near impossible to keep up with the onslaught of Netflix original programming. Along with all of the film and series content, the tentacles of the entertainment Kraken inevitably started reaching out for more international collaborations. Around Thanksgiving we were treated to the Brazilian series 3%. In terms of originality, it doesn’t score high: another variation on the theme of a future world where young adults do what they have to do to survive.

It does have its points of deviation though from say The Hunger Games and Divergent with a touch of Elysium. Brazil has had a long and appalling history of income inequality, which I’m sure is where the idea of the tagline came from: “In a dystopian future there is a clear divide between the rich and poor, but when a person turns 20, they have the opportunity to cross the divide.” As implied, by free will all the candidates get to try to make it from the miserable mainland to the utopian island Mar Alto; that looks kind of like Recife to Fernando de Noronha on the map. The tests they undergo are less physical and more psychological until they are whittled down to the fabled 3%. The setting, albeit futuristic, feels closer to present as we undergo our own survival in the collapse.

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