An excerpt from my script review for Encanto which will be available 02/07/22:
3.) Quality of Characters
Here’s where I want to focus most of my time.
Mainly on Abuela.
The writers inadvertently gave us an “evil step-grandmother” here, similar to other Disney stories.
(And yes I understand she was a blood relative, I’m keeping things in “Disney” terms.)
She was supposed to be the real reason for why the house and magic are failing (another issue that wasn’t clearly explained in the film), but she comes off as…
I couldn’t stand her, either in the film or while reading the script, and that’s an issue because she’s not really a villain.
A foil to our hero maybe, but not a villain.
Being perfectly honest, she had zero real redeeming qualities until maybe the end, when we get the real version of what happened to start the encanto.
For most of the story she really only seems to “love” her family because they bring her elevated status in the town.
And on several occasions when she’s talking to or about Mirabel I yelled out loud, “Bitch what’s your magic power?! Holding a fucking candle?!”
Do you see my point?
This sort of visceral reaction to a family member the hero loves is a real concern.
Oh, and the reliance on fucking magic…I wished we’d have an MCU crossover where Tony Stark sits her down.
“If you’re nothing without the magic Abuela, maybe you shouldn’t have it.”
(Oh wait! You don’t actually have any magic.)
Following along those “unlikeable” lines…
Mirabel keeps talking about how she has this amazing family she’s a part of.
Cause no offense, they kind of treat you like shit, aside from maybe your mother.
I get that she’s the outcast without a magic power, and sure there should be one or two characters that this causes friction with, but most of the family?
And those that don’t outwardly dislike her just ignore her, which really isn’t much better.
It was bad, because to me, she should have left that colorful, yet shitty, little valley a long time ago.
(And the same goes for Bruno.)
Unless your main plot is a Disney-esque hero overcoming his/her entire “bad” family, you gotta give us some people to feel for.
(Now, after reading the script and understanding exactly what she said in her song, I did feel for Louisa, but that carries us into the next topic.)
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