LOOK: Spanish-produced film portrays Lapu-Lapu as ‘villain’

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A Spanish-produced animated film titled Elcano and Magellan: The First Voyage Around the World is coming its way to cinemas in January 2020 but several Filipino netizens are not happy about it. 

The film’s release was planned to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the start of the Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world, a report from Variety said.

The Lapu-Lapu animated character in a scene from the film. Photo from the website http://thefirstvoyagearoundtheworld.com/

Lapu-Lapu is the Cebuano hero famous for defying Ferdinand Magellan. 

Meanwhile, the poster released by the film’s local distributor, CRYSTALSKY MULTIMEDIA, highlighted that the “Philippines’ very own hero, Lapu-Lapu” will be featured in the film.

Lapu-Lapu is shown with a scowl on his face.

According to its synopsis, the protagonists Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano endured storms, hunger and hostile tribes while embarking on the “most incredible adventure.”

This drew flak from many Filipino netizens as it depicts a historically inaccurate film with Magellan as a happy-go-lucky adventurer despite being a colonizer and Lapu-Lapu as a villain. 

The film’s character description for Lapu Lapu. Below: YouTube teaser trailer of the animated film showing the Visayan hero and warrior.

One netizen said: “Not only is it glorifying a white man who tried to colonise our country but they made the man he fought, who protected his people and land, the antagonist.” 

Former Buzzfeed editor Matt Ortile spoke up on the issue as well, referring to the film as “colonialist garbage”.

“Spanish film producers and distributors (Filmax, Dibulitoon) literally made a film w/ Magellan as hero and Filipino as romantic interests/understanding supporters/antagonists………and they’re about to show this film in the PH……….put this colonialist garbage in the trash,” he wrote in a tweet. 


According to MTRCB chairman Rachel Arenas, only the two trailers have been approved for release while the film has not been submitted for review yet.

“The film hasn’t been submitted for review and classification therefore we cannot make any comments yet until we see the film in its entirety,” she said.

Rossane Ramos
Rossane Ramos
Rossane lives off of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, astrology and art. Crazy cat lady in another life.

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