Raya and the Last Dragon Review
Does Raya and the Last Dragon fall flat like a dragon downed by an arrow or does it soar high like other Disney classics? Find out in my Raya and the Last Dragon review!
The film features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan,Alan Tudyk, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong and more. It’s also directed by Carlos López Estrada, Don Hall!
So the basic plot of this is much like Avatar The Last Airbender (don’t be angry, because that’s not a bad thing). A warrior goes through different lands seeking power to help bring peace to the land and unite the world. She gets together with a band of character and they finish the journey together before ending up in the land of her frenemy where they do battle before giving up their violent means and choosing peace.
Power of friendship and trust. Unlike Avatar Aang however, our main character doesn’t have bending skills nor does her friends. They do have pieces of a broken stone that scares away ethereal beings called “Druun” who absord people’s souls and turns their bodies into stone. They also have a quirky dragon named Sisu along for the ride who they hope can bring the stones back together and get rid of the Druun once and for all.
The animation quality for “Raya” was just jaw-dropping. The water effects was extra nice and although the Druuns don’t have bodies to speak of, they maintain an air of menace and horror. Good job on getting the effects done right. There’s one specific scene that I loved and just proves that they did an amazing job with the animation and that was that scene involving thousands of dragons running around with different colors and having this mystical platforms they step on as they run along. My daughter even said “again, again” when we saw it.
The voice cast was strong+ in this one. Not only did they not go for white actors to play the roles of key characters, they got the best so far. Take Kelly Marie Tran. She had a strong presence in the film whether its for funny scenes or the more intense scenes..
The motion is fluid here with every kick and punch and just about any strike looking damn good.
Can I also comment on how cool Raya’s weapon is. And no, I’m not talking about that sword-whip. I’m talking about Raya’s arnis sticks/ escrima sticks. Goddamn, that looked great onscreen. Its so nice to see OUR weapon appearing onscreen. Boo though that they didn’t finish with those sticks at the end.
Humor was well placed here from the narrative jokes about Captain Bao’s cooking to the physical humor of Noy and the three monkeys and the annoyance of the crew over their antics. Even Awkwafina’s brand of comedy works well here with those fast quips and gestures. Something the kiddies and even you mom or dad would enjoy.
The visuals from different Asian cultures stand out here rather well. From Satay to hats to durian and rice, a lot of these things gets features even for a split second. Even the architecture and climate gets referenced well here and I have to say in this Raya and the Last Dragon review that it is appreciated very much.
This is also a Disney movie that does not have a song number. I’m the minority that says that they should have but modern audiences don’t want that. OK then. Still, its nice to know that they did tap the Asian market with their choices for the songs used at the end and they also took people’s attention by getting local singers to sing the film’s official theme. Locally the song is called “Gabay” and it was performed by KZ Tandingan.
*no official release for Gabay though.
Raya and the Last Dragon Review – Verdict
Honestly I would have given it a 10 but the fact that Disney’s being a hypocrite by shilling this to everybody as a “Southeast Asian” flavored animated classic only to not having it available for actual southeast asians (other than Singapore because first world and all that) makes my blood boil.
Still, the movie is good in my honest opinion and its something that you and your entire family can enjoy!