By Gigi L.
I’m really sorry. I’m probably risking my life writing this article because “Encanto” got such rave reviews, but I feel like I need to explain why this movie was just not that good. Please don’t kill me.
In case you have been living under a rock, “Encanto” is Disney’s latest film project and everyone is talking about it. It got a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes for audience review, and the New York Times described it as having “stunning animation, a beautifully composed story and spellbinding songs…” This is where my opinion clashes with millions of fans and reviewers. The idea behind “Encanto” was golden, but the execution was the issue. (Before we start, there will be spoilers in this article, so do not read any further if you do not want to read about the plot.)
“Encanto” is about a magical family called the Madrigals living in a magical house in Colombia. Each member of the family receives a “gift,” or magical power, when they are a young child, like super strength or shape-shifting. However, one of the Madrigal children never got a gift. Meet our protagonist, Mirabel. Mirabel always felt degraded and unloved by her abuela, aka the head of the house and a horrible grandmother, because she is not magical like her siblings or cousins.
Mirabel then finds out that their house, their Casita, is losing its magic. She seeks out her uncle, Bruno, who was exiled from the family or something. Bruno’s gift is telling the future, so when he predicted something the family didn’t like, I guess they just kind of threw him out. Anyway, Bruno predicts the future and tells Mirabel that the only way to save the family’s magic is to… hug her sister. Wow.
Mirabel’s sister, Isabela, has the gift to grow plants and flowers. She was always the golden child of the family and Abuela’s favorite because she is so perfect. Naturally, Mirabel absolutely hates her. So, she goes to Isabela’s room and they sing a song about how Isabela does not have to be perfect, and she could do so much more if she was not controlled by Abuela. Then, at the end of the song, they hug. Yay, the magic is saved. But wait, you’ll never guess, the house falls apart anyway. Why? I have no earthly idea.
In the ruins, Mirabel tells Abuela that she’s always wanted her approval and she feels like she was never loved by Abuela. They hug and make up and all that dumb family stuff. Whoo hoo. Then, they rebuild their house. That is pretty much the end of the movie, at least all the important parts.
Now for my one issue… the plot. The whole movie felt like the beginning of the movie. There was no journey or climax; it just fell flat. The movie would have been much stronger if there was more build-up to the main point. In most successful films, the protagonist has to go through trials, or it takes them a little longer to find out what they have to do to save whatever. Mirabel knew from the start. She saw she had to hug her sister, so she hugged her sister. Done and done.
Also, the whole point of a movie like this is to show that Mirabel is just as good as the rest of her family because she saved the house. But the thing is, she didn’t. Even after Mirabel and Isabela made up, the house still fell apart. Even after Mirabel and Abuela made up, the house didn’t come back together. Do you see where I’m coming from? There was no real conclusion or overall message.
“Encanto” had the potential to be a fantastic movie, but the plot was just not put together well. It would have been so much better if there was some sort of actual journey or growth, but I guess the writers were just lazy and wanted to get this thing done with. You know, I’m starting to think the movie was written by Bruno’s rats, but maybe that’s just me…