Why The New Trailer For Disney's 'Encanto' Made Me — A Grown Man — Cry

Photo: Walt Disney Animation Studios / Youtube
encanto madrigal house trailer

Walt Disney Animation Studios released a new trailer for their upcoming animated movie “Encanto” this morning.

The trailer for the film, slated for release in November 2021, is colorful, vibrant, filled with fun and features a slapping soundtrack, thanks to Colombian native Carlos Vives.

Since the first 30-second teaser trailer they dropped on their Twitter back in December, I’ve been waiting to see or hear more about this movie.

The cumbia song that plays for those 30 seconds made me replay the clip hundreds of times and gave me hope that Lin-Manuel Miranda could really do something magical with the soundtrack for this movie. (Just please, no Shakira.)

With the new trailer, my hope is deepened, as we now have a narrative and story to back up the “charm” Disney movies are known for, including a brand new Disney Princess to add to the list. (Encanto means 'charm' in Spanish, by the way, in case you missed that pun.)

That new princess and protagonist is Mirabel, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, who also appeared in "In The Heights" with Lin-Manuel Miranda and starred in "Brooklyn-Nine-Nine."

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Mirabel is a part of the Madrigal family.

All of the family's kids have special ‘gifts’ that are basically superpowers — there’s a girl who’s extremely strong, another girl who can create flowers from her fingertips, a boy who can shapeshift into other people and another boy who can talk to animals.

All of the kids have gifts, that is, except Mirabel.

People who watched the trailer are already drawing comparisons to "My Hero Academia," a Japanese anime that sports the same concept featuring a protagonist who is powerless among many who have superpowers — and it kind of feels like it too.

There seems to be a big emphasis on all of the kids' gifts because they take up a lot of the trailer time, and I'm curious to see if they expand on those gifts and what they'll be used in the actual movie.

Unfortunately for Mirabel, since she doesn't have any gifts, Encanto follows her on her quest to find out where she belongs within her family and her village, which feels almost relatable.

Watching the trailer felt surreal.

The style of music that was playing is cumbia, a popular genre of music in Colombia that relies a lot on drums and the accordion and some woodwind instruments, like the gaita.

The colors and the flowers are those Colombia is known for from "la Feria de las Flores," or the Flower Festival, which happens in Medellin, dubbed ‘The City of Eternal Spring.’

The architecture of the Madrigal house features traditional clay roofing, balconies, wooden window panels, a mixture of bricks and stones and the variety of colors.

Even the breakfast that they eat, coffee and arepa, which is basically bread made out of ground maize dough, feels authentic.

I felt invigorated watching the trailer. It’s all so Colombian.

About a minute in I started to cry and shocked myself. I was literally sobbing.

Why in the world was I crying? What is it about the trailer that makes me want to cry?

It’s about representation.

It's something that I never felt when growing up or even as an adult. Seeing my people’s cultures and colors shown in such a beautiful and fun way really hit me.

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Growing up, the only representation I ever saw was Dora the Explorer, George Lopez and Shakira.

Dora was supposed to be relatable to all Latin people, and George Lopez was Mexican.

Shakira is Colombian, but that’s the only thing anyone knew about Colombia.

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I would think Argentinian people feel the same way about Messi. There’s more to our culture than “Hips Don’t Lie.”

Don’t get me wrong, Shakira is great and “Hips Don’t Lie” slaps. I was also a big fan of her World Cup song for South Africa back in 2010 — but it doesn’t feel like proper representation.

Proper representation is something I realized I needed in watching the trailer.

For some reason, I never felt like I needed it in growing up or even in my adult life. I have my family, I go to my country, and I was okay with that much.

I never understood why people cared so much about representation and why they felt it necessary to fight for it — no matter what it was.

My culture and representation was so in the dark that I really believed that it shouldn’t matter whether or not you are represented because I didn’t have any and was fine with it.

I didn’t know what it felt like to be represented my entire life.

Colombia is a massively beautiful country with a very rich culture and some of the most beautiful, fun, and diverse people in the world.

The music, the food, the natural beauty of the country, there’s so much to express and show off to the world that I didn’t know was missing.

I’m proud of my country, but for some reason never felt the need to show it off until finally I’m getting a crumb of representation from this movie.

Now I’m ecstatic for the whole world to see what Colombia really is about, even if the story behind the movie is fictional.

It feels almost ironic that the main character is this girl who doesn’t feel like she has a place where she fits in or belongs.

I get it now. It’s about being seen, about being known, about being appreciated for who you are and what you bring to the table.

It’s about everyone seeing “Encanto” and going, “wow, Colombia looks like such an amazing place,” and then feeling the pride grow in my chest when I remember that it is.

When the movie releases in November, I’ll have to remember to bring a box of tissues with me to the theater.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and relationships.