‘Encanto’ Review – A Sweet but Simple Story

Looking for a spoiler-free Encanto review to help you decide if the family movie is worth seeing in theaters?

Ok, perhaps my title is a tiny bit dramatic. I couldn’t resist the pun but hear me out. Where Disney usually has a CLEAR winner in the Best Animated Picture category this year I think Sony is giving them a run for their money. I do think Raya and the Last Dragon was very good but was missing a great soundtrack. Disney’s 60th animated picture, Encanto has some fun music but not enough umph to the story. Both Vivo and Mitchells vs Machines stack up better than both Luca and Encanto for me and it isn’t because I was expecting it to be the next Moana

Right from the get go we were introduced to a whole lot of characters. The big beautiful family bounds past and we’re trying to keep who is who straight. Once that shakes out, it’s nice to see we finally have a character (perhaps she’s even next in the Disney Princess lineup?) with short curly hair and glasses and, wait for it… TWO PARENTS! 

There’s a lot to love about Encanto. The beautiful animation and colorful characters had my 3-year-old captivated through the whole movie and my jaguar-loving son with a jungle themed room saw himself in Antonio. But when the movie wrapped up and the credits started to roll my 11-year-old Disney-loving critic and myself looked at each other and shrugged. That was it? Here’s our spoiler- free review.

What I Didn’t Like About ‘Encanto’

The movie was set up with all the elements I love: A Disney story with a female protagonist, a diverse cast (finally, beautiful dark-skinned characters on the screen!), and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda. But it took a long time to build up to the problem, figuring what was really happening and then the resolution felt rushed at the end. Overall it felt like a long TV show episode. Touted as an adventure story but there is no real journey. At least not in the physical sense. The whole story essentially takes place in one house. 

Encanto movie review

There are a few laughs, but to get 4 or 5 stars from me, an animated movie needs to give me at least one crying moment. Either crying from laughter or moved to tears. This may have gotten me on the latter if I didn’t see the ending coming from a mile away. 

Ok, I honestly feel bad dogging on it so much but you know I have to keep it real. The movie is good. Not great. Do all of these points mean you shouldn’t see it? Absolutely not. But maybe just lower your expectations a bit. Here’s what I do love about it. 

What I Liked About ‘Encanto’

The animation is stunning. I love the diverse characters and many shades of Colombians. The many Afro-Latinos on the big screen is a beautiful sight to see. As is the rich culture in everything from dishes to dresses. There’s a very clear message (that you can probably deduct from the trailer alone) about embracing who you are, and everyone having their own unique gifts and talents. No matter how big or small those gifts are we use those for good. I also love how the whole story surrounded a family and the natural emotions families experience: Living up to expectations, jealousy, love, anger, compassion. Oh and I LOVE the strong sister Luisa. Every second she is on screen is a delight. And the fact that we get three sisters in a Disney movie is a fun new twist from Disney.

Little afro-latino boy sitting on the back of a jaguar in the Disney movie Encanto
Walt Disney Animation Studios

On a personal note, the young dark-skinned, curly-haired Antonio character felt like a personal nod to my son Ty who dreams of having his own Jaguar to ride. 

The runtime is 1 hour and 49 minutes, so even with the trailers and lengthy short film before the feature, my 3-year-old was able to make it through without complaints. And there wasn’t anything too scary for her (a chase scene and some periods where the house is cracking, but nothing too intense), which makes me think Encanto is great for all ages. There’s no end credit scene, so if you wait around for those, you don’t need to with this.

Enough about what I thought, here’s what my kids had to say. 

My Kids’ Encanto Review

Mirabel dancing under fireworks in Disney's animated movie Encanto
© 2021 Disney

What did you think of the movie?

J: I thought it was ok. I really liked the beginning, but I felt like the end didn’t have what I was expecting. I thought it would wow me but this was “meh.”

T: I liked it because there was a jaguar and other animals. I wouldn’t have liked it without the jaguar. 

What was the funniest part to you? 

J: When they kept joking about Mirabel having no gift. 

T: Whenever she’s rolling down that really really high cliff and she realizes she was right next to the edge. And when she doesn’t want to fall and she hangs on, but then it wasn’t that deep. 

Would you recommend it to your friends? 

J: I’d ask my friends if they’ve seen it but I wouldn’t tell them to watch it. 

T: I think my friends would like it. 

A Parent's Encanto movie review about Mirabela with her family

What lesson did you learn? What message was the movie trying to get across?

J: It’s ok to be you, everyone is special in their own way. 

T: Be nice to your sister and don’t argue. 

Who was your favorite character?

J: Mirabel (the main character). 

T: The jaguar. That kid that was riding the jaguar. The strong girl was cool.

Who would you recommend this movie to? 

J: Families with young kids like 6 to 8. 

T: Malakai because he likes jaguars.

Mirabel and estranged uncle look out at a sound

Do you think it’s for older kids? 

J: I think it’s a good family movie. 

T: I think you need to be at least 4 or older.

Did you think it was scary?

J: No. 

T: No. 

Would you want to watch it again? 

J: No. Well maybe one more time. 

T: Yes. Maybe one more time. 

How would you rank it compared to other Family movies? 

J: I liked Ron’s Gone Wrong more. I liked Vivo more. Raya is better. Same as Luca. I liked Mitchells vs Machines way more. And I liked Ghostbusters more. I liked this more than Clifford

T: I didn’t like it more than Zootopia. Maybe I like it a little more than Luca. I liked Ron’s Gone Wrong more. I liked this more than Raya and the Last Dragon. And I liked this more than Vivo because this one had a jaguar and the other just had a green tree python. I liked this way more than Mitchells vs Machines. I liked Ghostbusters more. 

Q: What was your favorite part? 

J: I liked the strong sister song but I wish it was more colorful and not so dark with read. 

T: Whenever he shows the guy the toy jaguar and then there was a real jaguar.

How would you rate it?

J: Probably 2.5 stars. 

T: Out of 5 a 3 out of 10 a 6. 

Is it worth going to the movies to see/picking it for movie night/paying $30?

J: I would wait. 

T: I’m glad we got to see it at the movie theaters. 

Is ‘Encanto’ Worth Seeing in Theaters? 

Though Encanto didn’t live up to my expectations, it’s still worth seeing and a great family movie. If you were on the fence about it and debating just waiting until it hits Disney Plus, I’d say you aren’t missing too much by waiting. So you decide, and let us know when you do!

When Does ‘Encanto’ Come to Disney Plus?

I’ve read Encanto will be coming to Disney Plus Christmastime, around December, 24th 2021. Does that influence your decision to watch it?

Wondering how our Encanto movie review might compare to yours? Here are some other movies we’ve reviewed:

Like watching movies together as a family? We’ll you’ll LOVE this. Our Movie Night Journal!:

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