Encanto: the Disney movie to surpass Frozen?


Courtesy of Disney

“Encanto” features Colombian culture and is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 60th film.

Grant Soedler, Herald Reporter

Nearly everyone remembers the smash hit that was Disney’s “Frozen,” a 2013 animated musical that took the world by storm and left almost everyone humming songs like “Let it Go” or “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” under their breath for years. For a long time, “Frozen” was the modern Disney poster child: it reached a massive audience and remained in the public eye for years, making Disney both a ton of initial money as well as an extraordinary amount of revenue from merchandise, DVDs and Blu-Rays (which were much more relevant at the time of its release) and music. However, Disney’s newest animated movie, 2021’s “Encanto,” looks poised to take the throne.
“Encanto” is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 60th film, and heavily features ideas and themes from Colombian culture, as well as a Colombian setting and characters. The film stars Stephanie Beatriz, María Cecilia Botero, John Leguizamo, Diane Guerrero, Wilmer Valderrama and Angie Cepeda and is directed by “Zootopia”’s Byron Howard and Jared Bush. The film features music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, best known for his work on the Broadway musical “Hamilton” but also the man behind the music of Disney’s 2016 movie “Moana.”
“Encanto,” tells the story of the Madrigals, a multigenerational family who live together in a magical house hidden deep within the Colombian mountains. Their matriarch, Abuela Alma, received a magical blessing long ago after the tragic death of her husband. This miracle blesses every member of the family with a gift once they reach a certain age; Luisa Madrigal has super strength, Isabela Madrigal can control plants and flowers and Camilo Madrigal can shapeshift into any other person he wants. Each of them uses their abilities to serve their community. However, the protagonist, Mirabel Madrigal, did not receive a gift, and no one knows why. But as she soon discovers, this lack of a special power may be the key to saving her family from ruin.
“Encanto” has received a lot of acclaim since its release; it was the highest-grossing film of 2021, won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and its popularity continues to grow. But undoubtedly the aspect of the film that is receiving the most praise and attention is the music.
The film’s album has been sitting at the top of the Billboard 200’s charts for nearly 4 weeks now, beating out albums from mega-popular artists such as Adele. In fact, the most popular song, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” is ranked number one on the charts, marking the first time in 26 years (the previous occasion being “Aladdin”’s “A Whole New World”) that a Disney song has topped the charts, even beating out “Let it Go,” which only ever reached number five. In addition, the soundtrack has topped Spotify’s charts and has even become a huge trend on TikTok where thousands of people lip-sync to the movie’s songs.
The soundtrack has become so popular that it has even prompted Josh Gad, the voice of “Frozen”’s Olaf, to apologize for how much of an earworm “Let it Go” became, as he has to listen to his daughters sing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” almost every day. If that doesn’t say that the film has some major staying power, what does?
You can stream “Encanto” on Disney+.