Encanto

[4 stars] [IMDB Link] [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

A free-to-me streamer on Disney+, I was pushed into it by the funny reactions to it on this week's Reason Roundtable and yesterday's story in the WSJ about How ‘Encanto’s’ ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ Became Bigger Than ‘Let It Go’. (There's a video at that link that shows the movie song being performed in 21 different languages, and the movie has been dubbed into 46(!) languages.)

As Matt Welch said on the podcast, it seems likely that the guy who did the movie songs has a real future ahead in musical theatre.

The movie is notable for how quickly it sets up its premise: in Columbia, a few decades back, a young family is trying to escape a murderous gang. The brave sacrifice of the father enables the rest of the family to escape to a magical valley, where a magical candle enables them to build a magical house, and all the family members and their offspring obtain a magical "gift" superpower at some point: super-strength, healing, climate control, animal control,… It's pretty much paradise.

And all that is related (musically of course) in something like the first three or four minutes.

But there's young Mirabel (voiced by the wonderful Stephanie Beatriz), who (for some reason) doesn't receive a superpower. She puts up a brave front, but she's kind of sad about it. Plus, she has visions of impending doom for the magic house and the village generally.

And there's the mystery of her Uncle Bruno (see above): what happened to him, what's his gift, and can we finally talk about him? (He's voiced by the great John Leguizamo.)

Bottom line: it's a lot of fun, cleverly scripted and well-acted, a (cliché alert) a feast for the eyes.