Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it's up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good.
The first non-sequel Disney animated feature film since Moana (2016). See more »
In South East Asian cultures in particular and Asian cultures in general, it's considered very rude to address people who are older or in higher status than you with only their names, such as when Raya calls Tong or Boun calls Raya or Raya calls Sisu (a deity-like figure) with their names only. In Asian cultures usually you would address people using familial relationship: you would call a person who is around your age or slightly older than you with "brother/sister", person who is in the range of your parent's age with "uncle/auntie", person who is older than that with "grandpa/granny", and revered/high status/deity figure with something like "master/lord/lady". So Raya would call Tong "Uncle Tong", Boun would call Raya "Sister Raya", and Raya would address deity-ish Sisu as "Master Sisu" or "Lady Sisu". See more »
The world is broken, you can't trust anyone.
Maybe it's broken, because you don't trust anyone, you just have to take the first step.
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Visually Spellbinding But Has No Original Voice Of Its Own
Taking the usual Disney story template, applying the same rinse n repeat formula to it, then slapping the added representation tag on the package just for the sake of it, and marketing it as something fresh when it's not, Raya and the Last Dragon marks the arrival of a new princess in the Disney kingdom, and is truly astounding to look at but the film as a whole has no original voice of its own.
Directed by Don Hall & Carlos López Estrada, the story hurries us through its own mythology and doesn't spend enough time to strengthen the foundations before the main plot surfaces. Add to that, it expects the viewers to be invested in Raya's journey without putting in the effort that would compel us to do the same. There are familiar beats & predictable subplots here, plus it plays safe instead of risking anything.
While some characters are interesting, others are annoying. Humour also falls flat, for the film tries too hard. The emotional moments pack a punch but isn't allowed to stay afloat for long enough to deliver the goods. The animation is breathtaking for sure. Its richness, colour depth, lighting & rendering is almost immaculate. The background score by James Newton Howard is also a plus. And the voice cast play their roles responsibly as well.
Overall, Raya and the Last Dragon is enjoyable & entertaining, and will manage to satisfy most but there isn't anything new or different about it. Visually it may look richer & resonant but the underlying flavours are all the same. From a storytelling perspective, it is formulaic. From a creative standpoint, only its animation is worth noting. Nonetheless, despite the conventional treatment, there is a sense of fun & lighthearted quality to it that makes the ride pleasant enough.
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