A movie poster and trailer of a Spanish production of an upcoming animated movie, entitled “Elcano and Magellan: The First Voyage Around the World” is getting sharp criticism from many Filipinos on social media.
A part of the poster depicts an animation of Lapu-Lapu, with the subhead: “with Philippines’ very own hero Lapu-Lapu.”
The top left of the poster also mentions a special highlight featuring the Battle of Mactan, between Ferdinand Magellan and Lapu-Lapu.
Based on the trailer, the animation promises “a great adventure that will change the course of human history.”
But most critics are quick to point out that in today’s modern times, it is wrong to depict colonizers as heroes.
A Filipino animator with twitter handle @stavrncat wrote, “There’s an animated movie about Magellan and just… YIKESSSS. Stop depicting colonizers as good guys.”
Fil-Am and former BuzzFeed editor Matt Ortile added on the Twitter conversation, saying “Spanish film producers and distributors (Filmax, Dibulitoon) literally made a film w/ Magellan as hero and Filipinos as romantic interests/understanding supporters/antagonists… and they’re about to show this film in the PH…put this colonialist garbage in the trash.”
It has put the spotlight on the MTRCB or movie and television review and classification board, the agency tasked to give the movie a green light for public screenings in the Philippines.
Reports have quoted the local distributor in the Philippines as saying that they plan to run the film in theaters on January 2020.
The issue has caused quite the uproar that even Malacanang has chimed in.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo has said the MTRCB will decide whether to ban the Spanish-produced animated film “Elcano and Magellan” in the Philippines.
He added the palace will not want to preempt the jurisdiction of the agency.
Meanwhile, some members of the Philippine Congress are weighing in as well.
Congressman Lawrence Fortun of Augustan del Norte is urging the MTRCB to ban the film in the Philippines or at least remove certain scenes to prevent a possible bastardization of the memory and heroic legacy of Lapu Lapu and his people who first resisted Spanish rule in the country.
As for netizens online, there is now a formal petition on change.org to appeal for the ban of the film, which garnered more than 4,000 signatures in just the first hours.