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Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
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TV Recaps/Reviews

New Netflix Animated Series, Maya and the Three, is a Hit

Today Netflix releases a new animated series, Maya and the Three. Check out the trailer and logline below:

In a fantastical world filled with magic, a Mesoamerican-inspired warrior princess embarks on an epic quest to fulfil an ancient prophecy and save humanity from the vengeful gods of the underworld.

From creator Jorge R. Gutiérrez (El Tigre, The Book of Life), Maya and the Three is a Netflix Animated Event told in nine epic chapters. Set in a fictional fantasy world, Maya and the Three is an adventure full of heart and humor, inspired by a rich, vibrant mixture of Aztec, Maya, and Inca mythology, and modern-day Caribbean culture.

The series begins with Maya (Zoe Saldaña) about to celebrate her fifteenth birthday and coronation, although she is more interested in the fighting pits. But everything changes when the gods of the underworld arrive and announce that Maya’s life is forfeit to the God of War — a price she must pay for her family’s secret past. Maya embarks on a thrilling quest to fulfil an ancient prophecy that foretells the coming of three great warriors who will help her defeat the gods and save humankind.

MAYA AND THE THREE (L to R) GABRIEL IGLESIAS as PICCHU, ZOE SALDAÑA as PRINCESS MAYA, STEPHANIE BEATRIZ as CHIMI and ALLEN MALDONADO as RICO in MAYA AND THE THREE Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

Zoe Saldaña (Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy) as Princess Maya. A warrior princess who is devoted to her family but yearns for something more. Saldaña sometimes sounds a little old to be playing a fifteen-year-old but most of the time she pulls it off. In the more serious moments, she will lose that sound of wonderment and youthfulness but overall, she does a good job in the role.

Allen Maldonado (Project Power, Heels) is Rico, the wizard who has to hustle to survive. Seems tough on the outside but has a big heart. Rico is one of the best characters in Maya and the Three, he’s well rounded and entertaining. He brings a lot of the humour to the show.

Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, In the Heights) as Chimi. She was cast out as an infant for being different and is very guarded. Beatriz brings her comedic skills in the line deliveries as well as giving Chimi real heart.

Gabriel Iglesias (The Book of Life, Mr. Iglesias) stars as Picchu and Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time, West Side Story) is Ah Puch, both also put in strong performances. The whole voice cast is great and very well cast. Other actors involved include Diego Luna (The Book of Life, Rogue One), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2, Boogie Nights), Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn, Machete) and Queen Latifah (Chicago, The Equalizer).

We are introduced to new characters in every episode, sadly some of them are only around for a couple of minutes. The voice cast is very impressive, I would have liked to see more of some of the characters.

MAYA AND THE THREE: ZOE SALDAÑA as PRINCESS MAYA in MAYA AND THE THREE Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

Jorge R. Gutiérrez is the creator of Maya and the Three and is involved in every aspect, including voice acting for the role of Maya’s father, King Teca. This is a personal project for Gutiérrez, who used his wife Sandra Equihua as inspiration for the character of Maya. Equihua plays the role of Queen Teca as well as being thes creative consultant. The show consists of a mix of different cultures that don’t get the representation they deserve. Gutiérrez has mixed it all up and created a new story that fits into the tapestry of cultures well.

The animation of Maya and the Three is great, it has a really strong look. In some of the action scenes they have things coming out beyond the letterboxing, making it feel more 3D. Both the production design and the execution of the animation are excellent. As good as the story is, it’s the look of the show that really sells it.

Maya and the Three includes some heavy subject matter pretty much from the beginning, this continues throughout the run. The show is recommended for years 7 and up. It’s not an easily digestible animated series so if you’re a parent, check out the guidance online or watch it first to see if it’s something that is suitable for your kids. The pace of the show is incredibly fast so they don’t linger with anything for too long.

MAYA AND THE THREE (L to R) GREY DELISLE-GRIFFIN as SKULL and ALANNA UBACH as BONE in MAYA AND THE THREE Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

There are a lot of action scenes in the series, maybe too many. It can be a little chaotic but at the same time, the scenes are beautifully done. There are some quieter moments half way through the show where it feels like you actually get to know some of the characters. Prior to that, it’s a little bang bang bang with all of the fight scenes. It is tough to connect to the characters when you’re not told much about them except for they can fight.

Maya and the Three consists of 9 episodes, each about 30 minutes long. It covers a lot of ground in a short running time, at times I felt like they moved past things too quickly but a quick pace is better than dragging out the story for as long as possible. This feels like a good show for those who have a Trollhunters shaped hole in their viewing habits. Maya and the Three is beautiful to look at and has a strong collection of characters and voice actors. It is listed as a limited series so this might be all we get of Maya and the Three, if so, it is a very strong 9 episode run. It’s an impressive epic quest, one that I would highly recommend.

Maya and the Three is released on Netflix October 22nd 2021

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