May marks AAPI Heritage Month. Celebrate by watching these Disney+ hits that highlight AAPI stories, creators and actors.
Hollywood is finally catching up with the diverse audiences it serves. The past few years have seen the West embrace Asian and Asian American influences, from K-pop’s chart domination (hello, BTS) to major indie and blockbuster film successes like Drive My Car, Everything Everywhere All at Once and Crazy Rich Asians.
These five Disney+ films spotlight AAPI voices and are perfect for the whole family.
Five Disney+ movies that shine a light on AAPI stories
1. Turning Red
Set in the Y2K era, Pixar’s coming of age story features an all-star cast of Asian American voice actors. The film also benefits from industry talent behind the camera.
Directed and co-written by Domee Shi, co-written by Julia Cho and starring the voice of Rosalie Chiang, the CGI animated feature follows 13-year-old Chinese Canadian Mei. She turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets emotional.
2. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
For fans of the MCU, Shang-Chi stars Simu Liu as the titular character. He searches for a mythical village on behalf of the Ten Rings organization, led by his father, Wenwu, played by Tony Leung.
It’s the first Marvel Studios film to feature an Asian director (Destin Daniel Cretton) and a predominantly Asian cast.
The classic 1998 animated film retells the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. The daughter of a warrior, she impersonates a man to take her father’s place in the military during a Hun invasion.
Many Asian American creators were involved in Mulan’s production, from screenwriter Rita Hsiao to voice actors Ming-Na Wen and BD Wong.
4. Big Hero 6
This computer-animated film combines cultures from Tokyo and San Francisco for its futuristic setting: San Fransokyo. There, 14-year-old Hiro Hamada resides. The young prodigy must join forces with Baymax, a healthcare robot, to get justice for his late brother, Tadashi.
Starring Polynesian talents like Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Jemaine Clement, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison and Nicole Scherzinger, Moana tells the story of a girl who is chosen to bring a mystical relic to the Polynesian goddess Te Fiti.
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