On Urduja, the first full-length Filipino animated film about a legendary warrior princess from Pangasinan:

Maybe our culture is so enmeshed with foreign culture that we can no longer distinguish one from the other. The story is ours; the animation isn’t. It would have been better if we handed our history and mythology over to Disney; I bet they would have created something more Filipino.

To be fair, the “Disney look” is a rehashed anime look, but what makes Disney great is superb storytelling, and the eternal belief that dreams do come true. Secondly, it’s practically expected of every animation outfit today to try the Disney formula for their productions. Third, we might as well give up on trying to draw lines in the sand to define where our Filipino-ness begins.

Someone once asked me that, and I meant to answer it was our consciousness, our kamalayan, that mattered. (Unfortunately he interpreted it to be something else.) We are Filipinos, and therefore what we create is Filipino.

I don’t want to put this film down, especially by pointing out our penchant for emulating foreign ways, but I really don’t like how this was dubbed. Come on, they should’ve gotten Lea Salonga instead! The song playing in the trailer is an unremarkable Tagalog love song cliche. And it definitely looks like the character designs are a bad combination of Mulan and Pocahontas. Overall, the quality seems years away even from the older Disney animated features we’ve grown out of. Considering this was 11 years in the making.

Urduja will be showing on June 18, 2008. Watch the trailer here.

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