Alakazam! From plot to characters, here’s everything you need to know about Disney’s Encanto

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” introduces Mirabel, a 15-year-old who lives with her family in the mountains of Colombia in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. Mirabel, a kind and humble teenager who puts the ordinary in extraordinary, struggles to fit in a family that’s blessed with magical powers. Featuring the voice of Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel, “Encanto” opens in theatres on Nov. 24, 2021. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Disney’s Encanto invites you to meet the Madrigal family, explore their enchanted Colombian villa – and spare a thought for the one daughter who wasn’t struck by the magic stick.

From the story to the soundtrack, here’s everything you need to know.

Disney’s Encanto release date: 24th November

What’s the plot of Disney’s Encanto?

Whether you’re a vegan vampire or a pacifist in a horde of pillaging barbarians, it’s no fun being the odd one out. Mirabel Madrigal knows that ‘square peg’ feeling better than most. As Disney’s Encanto begins, we find this sparky young woman living in a magical Colombian village, in an enchanted villa that does its own chores, among a kooky family whose powers range from speedy healing to super strength.

Trouble is, while her family show off their gifts, Mirabel aches with the sadness that she doesn’t have a magical bone in her body.

But wait! One fateful day, the villa shakes on its foundations, ominous cracks tear across the walls and Mirabel’s enchanted clan start to feel a little less abracadabra. It turns out the candle that created the family’s magic all those centuries ago is now burning out, and unless someone can find a way to restore the spell, the magical Madrigals will be – shudder – ordinary.

With her family suddenly helpless, it falls to muggle Mirabel to embark on a quest that might just allow the gifts within her to blossom. But while there’ll be adventure, friendship and laughter along the way, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

As Mirabel is reminded in Disney’s Encanto trailer: “The fate of the family is going to come down to you…”

Who are the biggest characters in Disney’s Encanto?

They might start life on an artist’s sketch pad, but the Mouse House has a deserved reputation for creating three-dimensional characters that burst off the screen.

Disney’s Encanto is no exception, giving us a fistful of new heroes (yay!) and villains (hiss!) who look set to rub shoulders with Simba, Elsa, Genie, Cruella and the rest of the A-list.

In Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto,” Antonio may be shy, but his huge heart is his biggest asset—rivaled only by his newly received magical ability to communicate with animals. Directed by Byron Howard (“Zootopia,” “Tangled”) and Jared Bush (co-director “Zootopia”), co-directed by Charise Castro Smith (writer “The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez”) and produced by Clark Spencer and Yvett Merino, “Encanto” opens in theaters on Nov. 24, 2021. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

If you’ve ever felt sidelined or misunderstood, you’ll strike up an immediate bond with Mirabel.

In a family of high-flyers, she’s the loveable klutz orever in the shadow of older sisters Isabela (so glamorous that flowers bloom in her presence) and Luisa (whose fabled strength lets her flip bridges with a fingertip).

Even Mirabel’s cousins put her in the shade, with Dolores blessed with enhanced hearing, Camilo able to shape-shift at will, and Antonio happily communicating with the menagerie of anteaters, leopards and toucans that roam the magical villa.

Notable as Disney’s first feature-length animated musical set in Latin America, directors Byron Howard and Jared Bush (Zootopia), plus screenwriter Charise Castro Smith, made a point of putting diversity up there on the screen.

“It was a really intentional choice from the very beginning,” Smith told ScreenRant. “We wanted a family that was diverse and representative, in terms of personality and relationships, but also in terms of their ethnicity and how they looked and how they presented in the world. We made very specific and mindful choices about representing the many cultures that are within Colombia.”

Welcome to the family Madrigal where every child is blessed with a magic gift unique to them. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” features songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Who’s in the voice cast of Disney’s Encanto?

We’d give anything to be a fly on the wall of the Disney vocal booth. Of course, in years gone by, you’d have seen Tom Hanks holler it up as Woody and Robin Williams freestyling to the outer limits as Genie.

Likewise, in 2021, Disney’s Encanto cast left it all in the booth with their zinging performances (not bad considering the pandemic forced some cast members to record their parts remotely).

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” introduces Mirabel, a 15-year-old who lives with her family in the mountains of Colombia in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. Mirabel, a kind and humble teenager who puts the ordinary in extraordinary, struggles to fit in a family that’s blessed with magical powers. Featuring the voice of Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel, “Encanto” opens in theatres on Nov. 24, 2021. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

So far, you’ll know Stephanie Beatriz best as the tough Detective Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Carla from In The Heights. Now, leading Disney’s Encanto cast as Mirabel, the Colombian-Bolivian actress shows a softer side playing a heroine she describes as “a really funny, loving character who also deeply yearns for something more”.

Elsewhere in this ensemble cast, former Orange Is The New Black jailbird Diane Guerrero is note-perfect as the pampered Isabela: a sibling so self-absorbed she doesn’t even notice when she slaps you with her ponytail.

MEET BRUNO --  “Encanto” tells the tale of an extraordinary family blessed with magical gifts from super strength to the power to heal. Voiced by John Leguizamo, Bruno has been estranged from the Madrigal family for as long as Mirabel (voice of Stephanie Beatriz) can remember. Gifted with the ability to see the future, Bruno’s honest, but often doomsaying predictions proved problematic for Abuela and the rest of the family, so he disappeared, becoming the uncle no one talks about —unless, of course, they do. Opening in the U.S. on Nov. 24, 2021, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” features songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Carlito’s Way alumnus John Leguizamo brings gravitas to Bruno, the excluded Uncle whose ability to tell the future might come in handy.

Meanwhile, Jessica Darrow told Ocean Drive that she loved flexing her vocal cords as the mighty Luisa.

“I am now my own character in a Disney film,” says the Cuban-American actress, previously best-known for Feast Of Seven Fishes. “So that’s one major thing crossed off my bucket list.”

What are the songs like in Disney’s Encanto?

The name Lin-Manuel Miranda holds a magic of its own. Most likely, you’ll know the multi-award-winning New York composer and actor for the bullet-belt flows in his own Broadway musicals Hamilton and In The Heights (which also became a hit film this year).

But Miranda’s collaboration with Disney goes back years, too, with highlights including the Oscar-nominated How Far I’ll Go for 2016’s Moana.

MEET MIRABEL – Welcome to the family Madrigal where every child is blessed with a magic gift unique to them. Everyone, that is, except Mirabel. Voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, Mirabel is determined to prove she belongs within this extraordinary family. Opening in the U.S. on Nov. 24, 2021, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” features songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to the soundtrack for Disney’s Encanto, the keyword is ‘joy’. Far more than a pastiche, Miranda’s total immersion in Latin American culture – the result of a road trip through Colombia – allowed him to meld the authentic rhythms, motifs and timbres into songs that ensure your ODEON armrests will get a workout during Disney’s Encanto.

“I'd say that Lin has this amazing gift to be able to sum up experiences and character in a way that is innovative and exciting and always changing over the course of the story,” Bush told SlashFilm.

“I think that he challenges himself constantly.”

Why should I see Disney’s Encanto on the big screen?

If you’ve watched Disney’s Encanto trailer, you’ll already know this new family musical brings the funny on a grand scale.

But when your own clan take their seats at the local ODEON and let the Madrigals’ misadventures wash over them this November, you might be surprised at the profound chords struck by a new animation that examines everything from the downsides of social media to the importance of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.

“Mirabel’s journey is going outside of herself,” screenwriter Charise Castro Smith told IndieWire, “taking a risk in knowing each of her family members a little more deeply and understanding them in a different way from their presentational roles.

Hopefully, this movie will help build re-connections between family members.”


 

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