Maya And The Three Premiere Episode Introduces A Story Steeped In Culture And Rich In History
Maya And The Three is the latest Netflix animated series that really sets itself apart. The story is very much embedded in the Mexican culture and history, and it has a lot of fun with its identity. It’s a fantasy tale that embraces its larger-than-life elements, its silly-ness and its surprising darkness all at the same time. Maya And The Three’s premiere episode properly teases a wonderfully epic adventure to come, while unabashedly introducing casual audiences to a story full of the cultural folklore of Mesoamerican society. Check out my spoiler-free review of Maya And The Three’s premiere episode.
Who Is Maya And Why Are There Three With Her?
Image via Netflix.
Set in Mesoamerica and described by Netflix as a Mexican animated fantasy series, Maya And The Three’s premiere episode is simply put, amazing. It’s got the heart of a Pixar movie. A deeply personal and moving story like a Disney movie. Blended with some off-the-wall silly and light-hearted comedy of a Dreamworks Animation project. The story is all about the fantasy kingdom of Teca and begins on the eve of the coronation of its princess, Maya. Who would rather be a warrior than a diplomat, by the way. Already the series has shades of Brave and Frozen. But there’s so much more.
After some bitter words exchanged with her mother, Maya succumbs and accepts her new life. All decked out and ready to become a princess, the ceremony abruptly stops by the interference of the Gods. When dark Gods appear, demanding that Maya pay for the sins of her family, all hell breaks loose. If they refuse, all other kingdoms will burn with Teca. Their only saving grace is to fall back on a prophecy that sees the 3 legendary Jaguars, along with the Teca Eagle defeat the Dark Gods. These happen to be Maya’s 3 brothers, and her father. But it all seems way too easy, and the premiere episode of Maya And The Three definitely hints that there’s a lot more to come.
Super Serious Story With Generous Helpings Of Funny
Image via Netflix.
While on paper, Maya And The Three sounds like a larger-than-life epic adventure story, but there’s a lot of lightheartedness to it as well. I was actually very taken aback at the amount of humour and strange crazy stuff in this series. But it all actually works together very well. The emotional moments in the premiere episode carry some weight. While the humour rightly undercuts some of those, while adding to others. When things get serious as an Emissary of the Gods arrives, the atmosphere gets justifiably chilly and ominous. Creator, producer, writer and director Jorge R. Gutierrez has crafted this world with painstakingly crucial nuances and details. And those details allow these, at times, contrasting elements to work in tandem with one another. Not to mention the the humour makes the show very much an all ages family affair, accessible to anyone.
The humour also serves to underline the serious moments. There’s a revelation in the first episode that’s truly a shock, especially given how abruptly it comes and that we were chuckling seconds before it came. That impact makes the show a true standout in a way that others aren’t. Sure, some of the themes are pretty familiar—a would-be princess who would rather be a warrior, a prophecy that could be a Red Herring, kingdoms that need to unite under duress, otherworldly God-like threats–and so much more. But where Maya And The Three excel is in its embrace of its Mexican culture and history.
Maya And The Three Premiere Episode Has So Much Going For It
Image via Netflix.
In the vein of Coco, Maya And The Three is very much a Mexican story, fictionalized and told in a fantasy and folklore setting that is incredible to watch. The vibrancy of this fictional world, the stories, the character designs and how it all connects together is so captivating. Which is no surprise because Gutierrez directed of The Book Of Life, and the similarities can definitely be felt here.
The tapestry of Maya And The Three, as shown in the premiere episode is honestly breathtaking. There’s so much here that is innovative and visually stunning that it’s hard not to just marvel at the scenes taking place. And it helps that there’s a pretty strong story connected to it all as well. And speaking of strength, the voice cast of this has so much representation from very well-known stars, and the opening credits are a treat to watch all on their own.
The Premiere Episode Of Maya And The Three Lists Is Massive Cast
Image via Netflix.
The titular Maya is Gamora herself from Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Zoe Saldana, while Cassian Andor from Rogue One, Diego Luna is Zatz, the emissary of the Gods and the main antagonist. Or at least he is such in the premiere episode. And the main villain, whose Zatz works for is none other than Doc Ock from Spider-Man himself, Alfred Molina. Rounding out this amazing cast are the likes of Stephanie Beatriz, Gael Garcia Bernal, Wyclef Jean, Isabela Merced, Rita Moreno, Queen Latifah, Rosie Perez (Birds Of Prey) and Danny Trejo. Among many others that include the director himself.
Overall Maya And The Three’s premiere episode is widely successful in engaging audiences in a never-before-seen story featuring a bold and brilliant setting of a culture that we don’t get to see in this scale before. The perfect blend of action, humour and a layered story works wonderfully to create this amazing family-friendly show. We’ll have to wait for the full series to see if all those elements continue playing well with one another. But in the meantime, I am ready for this adventure!
All episodes of Maya And The Three premiere on Netflix on October 22.
Are you looking forward to this radiant new mini-series? Let me know in the comments below.
Featured image via Netflix.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.