Encanto represents a kind of pinnacle in that the subtle expressions and movements of the characters serve to tell us more about them than their dialogue or larger expressions and movements. In this, Encanto’s performances are more like that of live-action narrative filmmaking than that typical of animated features. This is fully in keeping with the “illusion of life” aspiration and tradition at the center of every great Disney animated film since Snow White, and worthy of celebration. Simply, Encanto, in its commitment to nuance, boasts some of the best character animation ever committed to the screen.
Tangential to the Gucci drama is the love story, and the ultimate tragedy therein. Driver, Gaga, and company do their individualized best to raise the roof of this venerable house as they are able, but the filmmaker himself may simply be too comfortable in this high-end, high-stakes world to tailor it for the masses. Scott’s designer bag of tricks, while still impressive to look upon, remains rather empty… and unfortunately kind of dull.