Disney Animation Studios, Raya and the Last Dragon is a beautifully made movie from the animation, to the music and finally to the storyline. Raya and the Last Dragon was released on March 5 in select theatres and on Disney+ with Premier Access.
A photo-like quality picture captivates the viewer with vivid lighting and color. Soon the viewer is engulfed into the mythical and magical land of Kumandra. Long ago humans and dragons lived in harmony in this magical land. Dragons provided the people with different aspects of the earth. For example, there were water dragons, rain dragons and light dragons.
Then, monsters threatened their land. These monsters known as the Drunn, turned dragons and humans alike into stone. The final five dragons, all brothers and sisters, sacrificed themselves for humanity. As a result, the Dragon Orb is created and soon Kumandra is split into different tribes named after different parts of the dragon—Heart, Fang, Spine, Talon and Tail.
500 years later, Raya is the princess of the Heart Tribe, complete with her own mascot, Tuk-Tuk. Raya is also a warrior, who was trained by her father. The Heart Tribe protects the orb at all costs from the other tribes. Every tribe is greedy and wants the orb to themselves. Raya ends up revealing the location of the orb to someone who was not to be trusted. Ultimately, the orb breaks and gets separated into each tribe. This causes the Drunns to return. It is now up to Raya to defeat the drunns. To do this, she has to find the last dragon known to still exist, Sisu who is a water dragon. And once Raya locates Sisu, she must find all orb pieces to restore peace to the tribe’s lands.
I was anticipating an action packed and mythical movie. The film definitely lived up to that expectation. Raya is an amazing character with many layers. There is something wonderfully universal about her as a character as well as her journey where she meets many new friends along the way. Raya becomes a character that any viewer can relate to regardless of age, background and ethnicity.
There was not a lot that I disliked about this film. It does seem a bit too dark for children under seven or so, but the action and mythical aspect of the film brings in the audience and keeps their attention the entire time. Disney always does well on their animation and live action films, so it is clear that it had a high production value.
Raya and the Last Dragon also works well because of the world rebuilding theme it has throughout the film. The message this movie delivers is trust and cooperation between one another, no matter how different. Which is beautifully portrayed to resonate with the world as it is today.
The ending allows the audience to ask questions, which leads many people to think that a squeal could happen. It is still too soon to say, but I am already eager to see more adventures between Raya, her loyal friend Sisu and all the friends they met along their journey.