A colorful, magical, musical Disney movie awaits families this Thanksgiving thanks to the release of the studio’s 60th animated film, Encanto. This story of the Madrigal family and their magical homestead in Colombia looks like it has charm to spare and a song in its heart. Not to mention that there are lots of eye-popping potential on display throughout the film’s trailer. Which means it’s time to ask one of our favorite questions: to 3D or not to 3D?
If you’re looking for how the latest Lin-Manuel Miranda-assisted musical works as a film experience, our official review from Dirk Libbey will satisfy that particular need. However, if you’re ready to see if this heartwarming and spellbinding adventure is worth the extra ticket money, or if buying a stuffed cheetah is a better investment, then you’ve come to the right place. Time to dip into that old polarized magic, as we take a look at the 3D presentation for Encanto!
FIT SCORE - 5/5
How does a film with a magical house, a family with mystical powers and the Colombian countryside not fit into the 3D format? The trailers already make a pretty good case for third dimensional enhancements, but actually seeing the finished product locks down the case for the 3D version even tighter. If you thought the brief glimpses of the film were impressive, just wait until you see the whole thing presented in this premium format.
PLANNING & EFFORT - 4/5
A movie like Encanto is comparatively easy to present as a 3D-converted joy factory. Since it's a computer animated picture, the tweaks needed to add a third dimension of thrills to the visuals can be done organically, from the source. There’s only a slight deduction of points from the Planning and Effort, which comes from some small drawbacks, such as turning off the 3D effect during the credits, but turning them back on for the final logos. Overall, there’s a lot of love baked into this latest 3D thrill from Disney, as well as the animated short that precedes the film proper, Far From The Tree.
BEFORE THE WINDOW - 4/5
Throughout the entirety of this picture, there are objects coming out of the screen with great effect. Animals, and their feathery butts/furry ears, poke out of the screen; with a cheetah running towards the screen a couple of times to boot. Musical numbers especially take advantage of projecting to the audience, as well. There’s room for some more sequences of action and everyday life to take advantage of this segment of the 3D conversion, but that’s only said because the times that Encanto does use this effect, it works like a charm.
BEYOND THE WINDOW - 5/5
As usual, there isn’t a problem when it comes to the depth of picture in this 3D presentation. Even a lackluster conversion like the one seen with Marvel’s Eternals managed to get the depth of picture correct. Perfecting this particular piece of the puzzle, this film draws a perfect field of vision throughout the Colombian countryside, as well as the various hallways and hiding places of the Madrigal family’s Casita.
BRIGHTNESS SCORE - 4/5
The darkness of the Colombian countryside could have been a stumbling block for Encanto. Nighttime sequences can get pretty dark, and with the plotline involving the disgraced family member Bruno’s exile, there’s even more dimly lit passages that give Casita a special dimension of drama. Neither of those factors kill the vibe of the visuals, as the movie is only slightly dimmed behind 3D glasses, but it's still very watchable and absolutely colorful. This isn’t totally down to the conversion efforts though, as part of the brightness factor depends on how well the theater you’re visiting maintains its rig.
GLASSES OFF SCORE - 5/5
Blur levels in a 3D movie are usually a sign as to how much the image has been manipulated in order to maximize the thrill. Drawing distances, and projecting items into the screen, all come from a combination of blurred images that are reassembled by your polarized 3D glasses. Taking off your glasses during Encanto will show the usual blur you would expect from a movie that does both of those jobs rather well. Close-up shots have strong 2D anchor points that blend well with the 3D blur that makes the image pop, while wide shots have you seeing double with some of the elements and figures drawn. If you like blur, this movie’s got it.
AUDIENCE HEALTH - 5/5
When discussing the animation of the many musical numbers in Encanto, even the animators admitted that the fast pace of those moments were challenging to bring to life. As a result, the entire movie is packed with lots of action, as well as scene transitions and extensive panning shots that could be a nightmare for 3D viewing. If you’re worried about sensitive eyes or a less than ironclad stomach ruining your viewing experience, you can rest assured that it’s easy to keep track of what’s going on in this odyssey of family bonding through song.
FINAL VERDICT: 32/35
A story of music and magic, Encanto’s 3D presentation compliments both aspects greatly. Though you may be tempted to wait until Disney+ debuts the film on Christmas Eve, seeing the Lin-Manuel Miranda-enhanced musical is even more exciting when you feel like you can reach out and pet a donkey's ears. If that's not enough, there are plenty of flower pedals, psychic visions and rain storms to enjoy in the realm of 3D as well.
Until next time, dear readers, be sure to read your showtimes carefully and head out to a theater you can trust with your 3D money! If you want to catch up on previous 3D evaluations, head over to our full To 3D Or Not To 3D Archive. We'll see you here next time, and please remember to recycle your glasses on your way out of the theater.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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