Raya and the Last Dragon is a Disney+ Original animated film that follows a young warrior named Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) who sets out to reclaim, and repair an ancient artifact. Along the way she’ll attempt to reunite shattered kingdoms, build a fellowship and fend off opposing forces.
The real core of the story starts out with a Mad Max styled ride where the criminally underutilized adorable ride Tuk Tuk (Alan Tudyk) is flying across the desert with Raya. It’s at that point the duo comes across a long assumed lost dragon named Sisu (Awkwafina). Sisu is a mystical being, that goes along with Raya to aid her on the journey ahead. This is really just setting the stage for the story if you’re worried about spoilers to any degree, you will definitely be surprised despite what I’ve noted.
With that, it’s a journey filled with some surprising depth and loss. The main themes here really do aim to look at trust and general forgiveness. It’s effective in that regard, and painted a rather emotional picture at times. With that, I felt they missed out on not having some big musical moment. There was a spot where Sisu was hopping around in the air, honestly seemed perfect for some key musical piece.
That aside, it was a fun journey with some neat twists. Each realm they visited offered something unique, in terms of setting and a character that would impact their journey further. They also had some fun Oceans 11 type situations in terms of heist montages, and mostly just had fun with the story while still having some of those deeper tones being placed underneath it all.
This is a rather gorgeous film, with some stunning animation. With themes of water being a big part of this, that particularly stood out to me as being of a very high quality. It’s also really interesting to see the contrast of the characters looking photorealistic at times, while looking somewhat animated in other moments. It’s a neat balance, that’s absolutely charming and very well done.
They’ve really done wonders with their animation work, with each scene being filled to the brim with detail. That’s paired with some lovely music that carries the mood, and a great use of magic to tie it all together. This also had one incredible performance from Kelly Marie Tran, she really led this film.
The others were generally fine, but I did notice it seemed like the lip syncing for her father was a bit off. No complaint in regards to the voice work there, it just didn’t look quite right though it could have been an impact of the streamed process so I’m not sure if others will notice that.
Raya and the Last Dragon is a charming tale of excitement and trust, as one warrior must learn to forgive in order to fix what has shattered the world. It’s got some great performances, gorgeous animation and a really stellar setup of characters. I did feel that the con baby bordered a bit too much on trying to capitalize on Boss Baby, and that the cast became a bit too bloated.
There were too many characters to balance, causing some to lack development. Now with that, I get what they were going for unity wise and I think that was important. This was an interesting story, it was fun to watch and provided some rather humorous moments.
I believe this would be a solid option for the younger audience, and an enjoyable one for all in general. Definitely something that was easy to take in, and at times breathtaking when it came to the animation work. I again wanted to praise Kelly Marie Tran for her performance, really taking point in this one.
Raya and the Last Dragon Review at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening was Provided by Disney