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  • Encanto

    Going into this one I really didn't know what to expect. All I knew was it had songs from the "Hamilton" guy and apparently he is the current musical golden boy. And it had a Latin America setting.

    Turns out Encanto is good, even bordering on great outside of a few missteps in the final act.

    Visually, the movie is a riot of color and movement, easily matching and even exceeding the CG mastery of Pixar. No doubt about it, this movie is absolutely beautiful to look at, and little touches of detail appear in unexpected places, like peach fuzz and pores on characters.

    The characters themselves are spirited and entertaining, although many of them don't get much of any development outside of their superficial characteristics. There also might be a few too many of them to easily keep track of.

    While the movie doesn't really make you laugh out loud (well at least older viewers), the dialog is filled with lots of amusingly quirky, rapid fire, cross talking moments, and the voice cast does an excellent job with all of it.

    The songs aren't half bad either. I didn't think much of Moana's numbers, but Lin-Manuel Miranda does much better here, crafting a number of high energy tunes with strong lyrics, and once again the voice cast does a great job with them. Some of the fast talking lyrics do get a bit difficult to understand with all the sonic chaos going on around them, but it's not a deal breaker.

    So what didn't I like? The resolution of the central mystery felt rushed, and during it several characters made snap decisions that felt cheap and seemed to happen more because the script writers were worried about going too far over the 90 minute mark (the magical point where kids' attention span ends). I know Disney movies aren't the place for strong character motivation, but surely there could have been at least some, right? And to no one's surprise, the soundtrack barely tickles the bass frequencies, even when a huge mountain cracks in half. All of this is nitpicking though, and doesn't really detract from Encanto's strengths.