Raya and the Last Dragon

                      review by Bobby Blakey

Fresh off their live action Mulan, which I loved, Disney is taking on yet another martial arts like premise for their latest film Raya and the Last Dragon. The film features the voice cast Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as the last dragon Sisu and directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, co-directors Paul Briggs and John Ripa. Could this film bring new dragons worthy of the Disney legacy or will it fail to have the same magic?

​Raya and the Last Dragon follows the fantasy world of Kumandra where humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.

I have been so excited for this movie from just the plots alone and after seeing the first trailer I was all in. I try to keep expectations low on most things in fear of disappointment, but I just couldn’t for this. Thankfully in not only lived up to my expectations it blew them away. This is easily one of the best Disney films to come along in years and that is saying something since they don’t offer up too many clunkers.

 

From the opening sequence you know this film is going to be something special. The set up world building gives you just the right amount of info to let you get right to it all without trying to bog it down with unnecessary information. I love that Disney continues to evolve the “princess” stereotype with stronger characters and Raya is my favorite of them all. She is a strong character from the beginning and only grows more so from there. The rest of the characters are a mix bag of fun, evil, misunderstood and all are memorable in their own way.

 

The animation is vibrant and gorgeous that will no doubt smack your senses with and overload of sensory beauty. The mix of darkness and colors bring it an even balance that allows you fully emerse yourself into this world and all of its differences and similarities. The attention detail is amazing and while this is no longer surprising from Disney, but never the less still damn impressive. I love the character designs but even more so the varying creatures and of course the dragon itself. She is so full of personality both in Awkwafina’s performance and visually its’ hard to not to fall in love with her.  

 

In the end this film features great action, humor, heart, memorable characters and stunning animation that all comes together into one of my favorite movies so far this year. Maybe its my love and personal connection to martial arts or being a cartoonist that brings me into it but whatever it is I love it and cannot wait to watch it again. This is a film that everyone should experience ASAP, you will not be disappointed.

 

In addition to the film this release also features bonus content including deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes, bonus short ‘Us Again’ and so much more. Grab your copy of Raya and the Last Dragon when it hits digital on April 2nd and then on 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD on May 18th from Disney Home Entertainment.  

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