Ever since Disney started making animated feature films back in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, they've delivered so many memorable adventures for the entire family. Now, marking the landmark achievement of their 60th animated feature, they bring us Encanto, an enchanted tale featuring original songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Encanto is about a family called the Madrigals, who live in an enchanted town in the mountains of Colombia. Every child but one in their magical house has been granted a unique ability such as strength or healing powers. Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), the only ordinary Madrigal, discovers that the magic is under threat and she may be the only one able to save it.
It's great to see Disney continue to broaden their horizons when it comes to representation with Encanto, set amidst the Colombian mountains with a family spanning three generations who are all about following traditions. Brought to life through some stunning animation, the detail in features such as hair continuing to amaze me, it's a vibrant and often joyous celebration of family and magic that will prove to be a major hit with families around the world.

The story is a compelling one, the outcast of this magical family struggling to find her place amidst such spectacular relations, whose powers range from super strength to healing people with their cooking being one that will strike a chord with many (barring the powers obviously), and the film does a fine job with its message of being yourself is enough. As with most Disney features it does comes with songs, mostly catchy (as expected from Lin-Manuel Miranda) and bringing with them spectacular set-pieces with colours bursting from the screen. It's yet another Disney film where the songs will be stuck in your head for some time.

As always with these films, there is a heartbreaking backstory used to drive the film's narrative forward and Encanto possesses one of the more dramatic we've seen. My biggest gripe with the film is that, with all the set-up it does with Mirabel and her place in the family, it feels as if it comes to a rather abrupt end just as it seemed as it was setting up a major finale. It absolutely flies by and the ending left me feeling a little underwhelmed, a shame because the first two acts are genuinely great.

There's plenty of Disney traits on show throughout the array of characters in the film, the determined young female lead in Mirabel sure to teach young girls around the world some valuable lessons and Stephanie Beatriz voices her with such fantastic energy. There's the wise and stubborn elderly character in Mirabel's Abuela, arrogant siblings and even the odd animal on hand to help just not enough to be a sidekick, which makes a change.

While it may not be top tier when it comes to their animated feature films, Encanto is a great time at the cinema with Disney doing what they do best to entertain the entire family. 

Verdict: ★★★★


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