“Encanto,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 60th feature, marks the return of the animated musical. The film, which was a hit amongst critics saw a modestly successful run at the box office, given that there was still a pandemic going on. The film is set in a fictional part of Colombia and celebrates the idea of embracing individuality through an ordinary Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) living amongst her very extraordinary magical family. Directed by Zootopia co-director Bryon Howard, and Zootopiz co-writer Jared Bush, along with co-director Charise Castro Smith, Encanto now arrives on home entertainment, which means that if you do not have a Disney+ subscription, you can now own the film. This also means that you will have access to some cool bonus features, some of which are not available on Disney+.
For its part, the home entertainment version of “Encanto” comes with some very impressive bonus features. Most of which look at the cultural inspirations behind the movie.”Discover Columbia,” takes a look at the multiple cultures and the biodiversity that helped influence the film and how the beauty of the country helped support the theme of magical realism.
Journey To Colombia is another bonus feature that pairs nicely with “Discover Colombia,” as it focuses on the “Colombian Cultural Trust.” This dedicated team of historians, writers, and other artists helped bring more authenticity to the film through the artistic aesthetics from the use of colors to the architecture and food. You might even get to see the animation team make an arepa or two.
But an animated musical wouldn’t be much of anything without an in depth look at the man behind the eight songs heard in the film. “A Journey Through Music” takes a look at how each character came to be represented musically, and the inspiration behind Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs and Germaine Franco’s score. Then there’s “Let’s Talk About Bruno” a perfect title for the bonus feature centering on “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” that talks about the collaboration between Lin-Manuel Miranda, choreographer Jamal Sims, the voice cast, and animators in bringing it to the screen.
And of course, there’s the sing-along bonus where you can sing along with your favorite songs from the film, written by Miranda, with on-screen lyrics as you watch the movie.
As for a mini review of the film itself, well, the critical and commercial success of the film amidst a pandemic speaks for itself. People went out to watch a big screen animated musical. While it features the Disney magic, newer technology and animation tools liven the story that’s rich with Colombian cultural specifities. Everything from the use of cool colors for Mirabel’s family to the warmer colors for her Afro-Latino Aunt Pepa, Uncle Felix, and cousins Dolores, Camillo, and Antonio. Even the food, large and beautiful landscapes, and the inviting sentient house that acts like the family dog is designed to be a love letter to Colombia. Not to mention to use of Spanish and a lack of subtitles during a critical song really reflects the idea of why representation matters.
Then there’s the emotionally resonating story. While the film itself may be culturally specific, the film’s ideas of identity, family and familial tensions, as well as expectations and self-worth.
Encanto DVD and Blu-ray release date is set for February 8, 2022 and available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes now.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Stephanie Beatriz Take Fans Behind the Lyrics with this New Featurette