Just over a week ago, we wrote a Musical album review which is all about the new recording of ‘The Anxiety Project’ which comes from the wonderfully creative minds of Rachel Dean and David Brush. In my opinion, this is one of the most important musicals that explore the true effects of mental health and how it can manifest in those who are suffering. If you haven’t already read our thoughts, our full review is available at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/01/03/the-anxiety-project-recording-review/. In this review, I discussed how if used correctly Tik Tok can be used as an effective tool for education, marketing and general entertainment. This platform has allowed creatives to be able to showcase their talents to a much wider audience than they would have been able to otherwise, has created hundreds of content creator jobs and helped led people to learn a range of new skills/life hacks with varying helpfulness to everyday life. With that in mind, however, I am aware of the more negative side to the app and the fact that numerous schools have had to deal with a series of videos being posted harassing both staff and students. However, if used properly and appropriately can be a very positive platform! You can follow our account on https://vm.tiktok.com/TTPdMmNa7q/ if you haven’t already and when not using the app for business purposes (eg discovering new musicals or following theatre creatives for example) when have spent numerous evenings scrolling through the app watching a series of pointless and useless videos. One sound that I have heard almost constantly when procrastinating on the app is sections of “We don’t talk about Bruno” and when I discovered it was from a new Disney animated movie I knew I just had to check it out!
For anyone out there like myself is struggling a bit to keep up to date with the latest covid restrictions in the UK, cinemas are still open but there are social distancing between each block booking so say a family of five wanted to go to see a film then two seats either side of the booking would remain empty. On top of this everyone is encouraged to wear face masks while seated and moving around the venue so there are many measures in place to make sure your experience is as safe as possible. Before we get into talking about the actual film, however, I just want to remind everyone of Cineworld’s unlimited scheme which grants members endless cinema for just £10 a month. While that seems a fair bit of money the average cinema ticket has risen to £6 a visit so all you need to do is attend two screenings a month to get your money’s worth. On top of this, it seems like every month Cineworld offers its members a special added benefit and this time it was a free regular-sized icee drink. I got to choose what flavour I wanted and settled for a Vimto one which was wonderfully fizzy yet refreshing! What was also a nice little touch is that these icee drinks at Cineworld are sugar-free so that you can enjoy this treat without the guilt that other refreshments bring. Now onto the film itself…
After intense conflict forces a young Alma Madrigal (played by the wonderful María Botero) to flee her home town, she loses her husband and is forced to look after the newly born triplets. She discovers a magical candle that saves her from danger and creates the perfect town with a magical sentient house for the Madrigals to live in. The candle also grants every member of the family a special power, everyone expects Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) but when it appears the miracle candle itself is in danger Mirabel takes it upon herself to find the cause of the trouble the family have been facing. The story is crammed full of vibrant and magical scenes, energetic dance numbers and fantastical moments that would hook in any young viewer in the cinema. The fun musical numbers created by none other than musical theatre royalty Lin-Manuel Miranda helps to add a bit of comedy and light relief to the movie with the number staying in your head long after leaving the cinema. On the surface, Encanto is a story of a magical family who fights to have their powers restored to realise that family is the most important thing and that being yourself is sometimes the greatest superpower. As you delve into the story however the parents will realise that this is an incredibly layered store that deals with very important, serious real-world issues. The whole premise of a family who has found refuge in an unknown land is clearly a reference to refugee/asylum-seeking families who are forced to adapt to new customs and traditions and the fact that grandmother Alma repeatedly talks about having to have escaped conflict to create a better life. This reflects the common idea that immigrant families are often focused on being perfect in their new home as they constantly feel as if they have to prove something to the community. Over time nan learns that the reason she left was family and so making sure the family are doing well should be everyone’s number one priority.
Another thing that this story does beautifully is the use of contrasts within characters to create fully rounded characters. Luisa Madrigal (who is voiced by Jessica Darrow) is the town strong woman who supposedly has the biggest biceps in Disney history. This character prides herself on being incredibly strong but on the inside, she is dealing with a lot of emotions that are overwhelming her. During the song “social pressure” is highlights how on the outside she appears incredibly strong and powerful but on the inside, she is a lot softer and emotional. The other sister in this story Isabela Madrigal is portrayed as being a perfect, beautiful girl who can create flowers from nothing. She appears to have her life set up but on the inside, this life is making her unhappy. Thirdly, the family have sworn to use their powers to help the local community but it appears as if no one on the community has helped them yet. In the real world, you get it a lot that people who often go out of their way to help other people are often struggling themselves but there is no one to help them. By the end of the movie however it is shown that the community finally come together and despite not having magical powers are able to support the family in their difficult time.
Overall, Encanto is a very fun and vibrant movie that contains some very catchy songs throughout. It highlights some very important issues such as family life, personal struggles and immigration while at the same time providing an enjoyable film for the younger audience members. It does everything a classic Disney movie should do while also shining a light on some elements of South American traditions. I would rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to any families who have young Disney loving children in them for their next movie trip!