MANILA, Philippines – CrystalSky Multimedia, the Philippine distributor of the Spanish-produced animated film Elcano and Magellan: The First Voyage Around the World, is “reevaluating” the film after it drew flak from Filipinos online for its apparent villainous depiction of Visayan ruler Lapu-Lapu.
In an official statement released on November 8, the distributor said that it “has head the public’s sentiments on the film,” and that “after careful thought and consideration” they are reevaluating the movie and inviting historians, members of the academe, and film experts to preview the movie.
“We will base our next steps and actions on their comments and recommendations,” it said.
The film, which was slated for a 2020 release in Philippine cinemas, features the famous Battle of Mactan, when Lapu-Lapu led his people in a resistance against the Spanish expedition led by Portugese Ferdinand Magellan, who would die as a result of the battle. The expedition was later concluded by Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano.
The poster features Elcano front and center, flanked by Magellan and, presumably, a pre-colonial Filipina. Lapu-Lapu and other native Filipinos are shown as smaller figures on the bottom half of the poster.
In another poster, Lapu-Lapu is shown more prominently, and is described as “Philippines very own hero,” but he is shown with a villainous snarl across his face. This poster was released in the Philippines.
There's an animated movie about Magellan and just... YIKESSSS. Stop depicting colonizers as good guys. pic.twitter.com/Q68s4uxOY9 — (@satvrncat) November 6, 2019
CrystalSky Multimedia’s Facebook page also posted an image of Lapu-Lapu from the film on November 7, saying “You are invited to see Elcano and Magellan so you can witness the bravery of our very own Lapu-Lapu to defend our Lupang Hinirang.”
Despite the insistence of the filmmakers and distributor that Lapu-Lapu is shown as a hero in this story, the posters were not well-received online.
Many people felt it depicted Magellan and Elcano as heroes, and Lapu-Lapu as a villain.
Many also felt the film had no place in a country that was ruled by the Spanish for 300 years, during which time Filipinos were abused and treated as second-class citizens in their own land until the first Philippine revolution. – Rappler.com