The film deftly expanded the source material into a film and is anchored by a sensational performance by Andrew Garfield as Larson, the title referring to a sense that his bravado of becoming “the future of musical theater” is running out and timing is running out, in his eyes as he approaches his 30th birthday.
Capturing the creative process on film is also a tricky proposition, but Miranda usually manages to do just that, conveying the palpable fear Larson feels about the point where he transitions from being a writer waiting on tables to make ends meet. , to “a waiter with a hobby.”
The echoes of “Rent” are everywhere too, reflecting how Larson eventually went from trying to sell an esoteric concept set in the future, to writing about topics very close to home, including the battle. to keep the lights on (literally) and the ravages of AIDS at the time.
“Tap, Tap… Boom!” is filled with happy surprises, and Garfield gets ably backed by Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus and Vanessa Hudgens, as well as Bradley Whitford and legendary composer Stephen Sondheim.
If Larson took the right advice when he decided to “write what you know,” Miranda, as a director, has taken that advice to heart, too.
As for “Encanto,” feeling like an outcast is one of the most enduring themes in Disney animation, having become more relevant as those movies have moved in a more progressive direction than ol’ Walt’s early days. “Encanto” reflects a more recent tradition, in a film about what makes us special, once again seriously enlivened by Miranda’s musical gifts.
Set in a magical Colombian town, Disney’s 60th animated film begins with a nod to a particularly sober real-world phenomenon, namely the plight of refugees. But amid their loss comes the magic that has allowed the Madrigal family to flourish, each with a remarkable gift under the watchful eye of matriarch Alma (María Cecilia Botero).
That is, everyone except Mirabel (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” Stephanie Beatriz), who emerged from the gift ritual empty-handed, still determined to be part of the family as much as her parents and sisters.
“Gift or no gift, I’m just as special as the rest of my family,” Mirabel tells the local kids, but she seems to doubt its truth as much as she does.
But just as one of Mirabel’s cousins comes of age and her sister is about to get married, strange things begin to happen, with signs that the family’s magic is beginning to fade. Mirabel thus becomes Kassandra’s warning of danger, something her grandmother doesn’t want to hear, only reinforcing Miirabel’s sense that it happened to her to save everyone.
Directed by Jared Bush and Byron Howard (“Zootopia”) and co-directed by Charise Castro Smith, Encanto makes up for the lack of traditional conflict with a colorful world full of power and an abundance of music.
“I’ll never be good enough for you,” an annoyed Mirabel says at one point.
Fortunately, “Encanto” is good enough for families looking for that Disney animated magic, just like “Tick, Tick… Boom!” brings theater into your home.
“Tap, Tap… Boom!” premieres November 19 on Netflix. “Encanto” will premiere in US theaters on November 24. It is rated PG.