Raya and the Last Dragon Movie Review & Film Summary(2021)

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Video Source – Walt Disney Animation Studios (Walt Disney Animation Studios YouTube Channel)

Raya and the Last Dragon is a Disney movie follows all the norms of a usual Disney movie, however it is more beautiful and vibrant than most of the other animated movies that we have seen in recent times.

Raya and the Last Dragon Movie cast

  • Kelly Marie Tran as Raya
  • Awkwafina as Sisu
  • Gemma Chan as Namaari
  • Daniel Dae Kim as Chief Benja

Raya and the Last Dragon Movie Plot

Raya and the Last Dragon is a movie about Raya and Sisu, the last dragon of Kumandra, and their quest of finding all the pieces of a magical gem to restore the land to its previous, peaceful form.

Raya and the Last Dragon Movie Review

Raya and the Last Dragon is yet another Disney movie which is bright, colourful and filled with vibrant shots. The premise of the movie is straightforward and simple yet the sequences and characters pack a whole out of vigour and keeps the movie entertaining throughout the runtime. And while it still feels very formulaic at a lot of moments, the animation of the movie sort of makes up for it. 

The world of Raya and The Last Dragon Movie

It is based around this world of Kumandra where dragons and people lived harmoniously together. But the coming of Druun forced these dragons to fight and die against them and what’s left was a divided and scattered mess of a land which is neither united nor harmonious. In the wake of this, Chief Benja (Played by Daniel Dae Kim) organizes a get together and invites the leaders of the other tribes to his land.

Chief Benja, whose Heart tribe has the possession of the magical gem left by the dragons, is in the hope of restoring Kumandra back to its previous glory. Yet the kingdoms are opposed to this idea and their morality is clouded by a greed and jealousy of the Heart tribe and its prized possession. So, in the midst of a betrayal by Namaari (Played by Gemma Chan) of the Fang land, Raya (Played by Kelly Marie Tran) leads her right to the location of the gem and in a violent unrest the gem gets shattered to pieces, and so begins the rise of Druun back into the Kumandra. Raya loses her father, Chief Benja, along with most of the population, which is now turned to stone. Years pass and Raya’s search for the last dragon leads her right to Sisu (Played by Awkwafina), the water dragon.

Awkwafina as Sisu in Raya and The Last Dragon Movie

The characters of this story are packed with versatility and awe-inspiring visuals. On her journey to acquire gems along with Sisu, Raya meets numerous other characters who have each lost someone to the Druun. These characters and Sisu bring an upbeat vibe to Raya and the last Dragon. Sisu’s quirks are filled with goofiness and humor which is undeniably modern and hilariously cringe at times. She believes in goodness and doesn’t necessarily understand the evil intentions of humans. Awkwafina does a fine job in portraying this morally upright dragon who has very little self-awareness. With all her dragon powers, Sisu still finds herself get fooled by the general public in so many different instances. Apart from her, my favourite character in the movie was Little Noi, a con baby who ultimately joins the Kumandra gang. Him and his 3 little monkeys are just freaking adorable. Watching Noi toss his pants at Raya and run butt naked through a water village was definitely one of the most memorable moments in this movie. 

The animation and the bright shots of Raya and The Last Dragon, is fresh and invigorating. The landmass of Kumandra makes for some pretty breath-taking shots which can each be turned into a wallpaper. The way Druuns looked in the final sequence and how Raya and her gang was pushing them back with gems had so many instances where I was like, this would turn into a great poster. The character animations strike a nice balance between realism and mystical. The sound design and score were just fine and I can’t really recall any particular sequence where the score shined or elevated a scene. 

In a still from Raya and The Last Dragon Movie

Raya and The Last Dragon Movie Falls Prey To Predictability

My main problem with Raya and The Last Dragon is its predictability. There have been many straightforward animated movies to come out in recent times, yet Raya and the Last Dragon falls into the clutches of clichés and formulaic plot points which could have been improved upon. The emotional stake of this movie wasn’t strong enough to drive it afar, and it surely deserved more worldbuilding with all of its potential. The screenplay could have gone for creating a larger scope yet they decided to make the climax and the battle very conventional and it definitely broke my immersion to some extent.

The film ends on a light hopeful note and overall Raya and the Last Dragons screams Disney. Tragedy struck protagonist, a world at risk, cute baby characters and facial animations, a mystical setting and a satisfying conclusion. This is how most Disney films are made these days and Raya and the Last Dragon is no exception to this rule. It’s a fun little watch with stunning shots and animation which will work a soothing charm on your eyes.  

Raya and The Last Dragon Movie Critical Reception

Raya and The Last Dragon stands at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus being, “Another gorgeously animated, skillfully voiced entry in the Disney canon, Raya and the Last Dragon continues the studio’s increased representation while reaffirming that its classic formula is just as reliable as ever.” It has a Metascore of 75 with Generally favorable reviews based on 45 Critic Reviews.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Raya and The Last Dragon movie is an amalgam of funny characters and vivid animation, and all of this somewhat makes up for the Disney formula which has been overused for far too long.

Author

  • Hardik is a Mumbai based writer who is a cinephile. Nothing interests him more than movies and visual entertainment. His other hobbies include reading and singing (At least, he likes to think that he sings well). You can connect with him on his Instagram.