What’s the last animated movie that made you cry? Raya and the Last Dragon packed an emotional punch that sent shockwaves through me. I couldn’t hold back tears!
Raya and the Last Dragon stars an ensemble cast of mostly East Asian actors, including Kelly Marie Tran as Raya, Awkwafina as Sisu, Izaac Wang as Buon, Gemma Chan as Namaari, Daniel Dae Kim as Benja, Benedict Wong, and Alan Tudyk.
The story takes place in the world of Kumandra where humans and dragons coexisted peacefully. When sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, dragons risked their lives to save it. 500 years later the land is split into tribes and the Druun return. Raya sets off to find the last dragon, reunite the land, and stop the Druun. But Raya must learn the value of teamwork and trust in order to bring harmony back to their world. This timely message of unity is necessary for a time where division and hate are overvalued.
The real beauty of this film comes from the themes of unity, love, and trust. These are all desperately needed right now in a time where hate and division garner the most attention. And not only that, but we also have a movie that represents East Asian culture. This movie is important and that can’t be stressed enough.
The animation in Raya and the Last Dragon is astonishing. The palette consists of a beautiful mix of green, blue, purple, yellow, white, and black. Each of the tribes has its own color and the dragons are beautiful mixes of the colors. The movement in the characters is fluid and the 3D look that they’ve been using since Tangled is at its peak here. There are a few touches of 2D animation that lend to the storytelling as well.
The character designs are fantastic- especially Raya and Sisu. Raya with a sleek cape, wooden hat, and sword that is reminiscent of characters from anime shows. Sisu has a Chinese dragon design with a snake-like body reminiscent of the dragons in Avatar: The Last Airbender. There’s also an adorable baby with a team of 3 monkeys who deserve their own Disney shorts!
The voice acting was also INCREDIBLE! Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina played off of each other well and Awkwafina’s line delivery was perfect. Sisu was hilarious and an excellent partner to Raya. Not to mention the iconic voices of actors like Daniel Dae Kim and Benedict Wong add to the cast and create a dynamic group of characters who all look different.
Raya and the Last Dragon is a gorgeous film with an enchanting story and an everlasting message. My favorite animated film since Pixar’s Coco. I would highly recommend seeing this as soon as it drops!
Raya and the Last Dragon: 9.5/10
Are you planning on seeing Raya and the Last Dragon? Check it out when it hits both Disney+ Premier Access and Theaters on March 5th.