Disney’s latest warrior Raya becomes the first South East Asian heroine in a Disney movie and Raya and the Last Dragon is a tale full of entertainment with some mind blowing imagery!!
The movie is about princess Raya who is on a quest to find Sisu, the last dragon who has transferred all his powers to a magical gem to save the people of Kumandra from evil spirits called Druun five hundred years ago. Now, the people have gone greedy and untrustworthy, resulting in Kumandra to fall apart and the gem to be scattered all over the kingdom.
Directed by Don Hall and Carlos Lopez Estrada, Raya and the Last Dragon is quite a visual marvel and brings in the culture of South East Asia along with some enchanting score by James Newton Howard. In a movie Full of excitement and fun, the thing that attracted me most is the Animal hybrids that are on show here. Raya’s trusted companion from childhood Tuk-Tuk is part-Armadillo, part-pill bug and part-pug which can roll and she uses it like a steed. The gigantic cat-like creatures are another exciting hybrid which are the rides for warriors from the tribe of Fang. The dragon, Sisu is the most friendly and lovable dragon yet. In the tribe of Talon there is a trio of thieving creatures which are half-monkey and half-catfish and they team up a toddler con-artist. Yeah, you heart that right! Toddler con-artist. The movies most funny moments are provided by this team of thieves. Lob Dressel and Adolph Lusinsky combined for the cinematography. The colour palettes and the lighting were quite beautiful and felt natural. The animations, visuals, and music has combined to some effect to produce the fantasy world of Kumandra.
The movie is skillfully written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim with plenty of funny moments. The Dragon- Raya duo is what takes the narrative forward and they complemented each other well. Impressively voiced by Awkwafina and Kelly Marie Tran, the duo’s wit and exchanges are both lively and lovable. The movie has good mix of action as well but there can be a feeling that the adventure part doesn’t live upto it because how easily Raya and his team are able to retrieve the broken gem pieces from different kingdoms with only Fang giving some fight. But ultimately it put forward its theme of trust quite convincingly.
There is plenty to like in Raya and the Last Dragon both aesthetically and musically and its first South East Asian heroine probably gives the Disney movie a cultural edge as well. While a bit more adventure could have made it more exciting, there is no lack of fun and entertainment!