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Encanto might be a brand new type of magical Disney musical because of Lin-Manuel Miranda and reggaeton


Encanto, Disney’s latest animated film due in November, is a lush musical a few magical household that lives in an enchanted home within the mountains of Colombia. Every of the Madrigals has been blessed with a magical reward — apart from Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), the movie’s quirky protagonist, who grew up with no apparent energy. When the household’s items are threatened, Mirabel should work out a solution to save the magic, and uncover her hidden household secrets and techniques. Whereas a magical musical about a teen with huge goals feels like typical Disney fare, administrators Byron Howard and Jared Bush, together with screenwriter and co-director Charise Castro Smith, see some delicate variations that make Encanto stand out.

From the start, the Encanto workforce wished to evolve the Disney musical. Throughout a press day for the movie, Howard and Bush advised Polygon about their time engaged on Zootopia, and the way they introduced extra maturity into the acquainted thought of a talking-animal fantasy. Whereas every of them had labored on Disney musicals previously, Encanto was their first musical collectively, and as musicians themselves, they wished music to be an enormous a part of the narrative. That meant tapping Lin-Manuel Miranda and dabbling in several genres, like reggaeton and montuno, in addition to incorporating dance strikes from choreographers all through the animation course of. The totally different kinds formed the distinct personalities on display.

“A lot of Disney musicals have been sort of like buddy movies: two people going on an adventure, learning things. And this movie is certainly very different than that,” says Smith. “There are 12 members of this family who all have their own personalities, preoccupations, journeys through the movie.”

some of the Madrigal family standing side by side and looking at something

Picture: Disney

Attempting to make all these characters pop was an advanced course of. Encanto is extra of an ensemble musical than any earlier Disney film earlier than, and that alone builds on what audiences usually affiliate with an animated Disney musical. It additionally means the filmmakers couldn’t waste any time on filler songs that don’t particularly have an effect on the story.

“Every song speaks to character and is emotionally driven,” Bush explains to Polygon.

However the greatest — and subtlest — distinction with Encanto

is that as an alternative of a typical Disney film with magic, like Frozen, Moana, or Tangled, it’s a work of magical realism.

The style of magical realism has sturdy ties to Latin America, notably Colombia. In literature, magical realism is distinct from fantasy tales with trendy settings, as a result of the magic and supernatural aren’t acknowledged as one thing magical or supernatural. Usually, these components are seamlessly built-in into the portrayal of the reasonable, used to make a degree about actuality. In fact, it’s just a little totally different in Encanto than it’s in Gabriel García Márquez’s novels — the Madrigals acknowledge that the items they’ve are magical. However the distinction between Encanto and different Disney films is the best way magic manifests, and the way it’s used within the narrative.

Mirabel and her mother standing together, with the comfort of her mother’s magical arepas

Picture: Disney

“We really were interested in exploring what magic is that is born out of human emotion or human need, or great relationship stakes. It’s born out of human action and human relationship and want,” says Smith. “We really tried to use that as a guidepost as we were working on this movie, just this idea that the magic is not arbitrary. It’s not given to people by fairies, or something like that. It’s an extension of emotion and character, and it’s really born out of the people and who they are and what they want and what they need.”

The film was initially crafted across the thought of household roles, with the magic added afterward. Bush says that whereas Disney films do sometimes have magic, for Encanto, they didn’t need the magic to really feel “forced or inorganic.” The film’s setting sparked the thought of integrating magical realism and linking the magical items to the familial roles — but it surely was essential that the story work with out the magic.

“This movie has to function if magic doesn’t exist. You could tell the story if there was zero magic in this family. That has to work as well,” Howard explains.

Encanto hits theaters on Nov. 24.



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