Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, 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.

  • Released: 2021-03-03
  • Runtime: 107 minutes
  • Genre: Animation, Family, Fantasy
  • Stars: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Jona Xiao, Sandra Oh, Thalia Tran, Lucille Soong, Alan Tudyk, Dichen Lachman, Patti Harrison, Sung Kang, Ross Butler, François Chau, Paul Yen, Calamansi Lindo, Ren Hanami, Sierra Katow, Gordon Ip, Jon Park
  • Director: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
  • auskooper - 24 March 2024
    Raya and the Last Dragon review
    Raya and the Last Dragon is currently the last Disney princess movie according to the official Disney princess website. It's based on Southeast Asia, so it can be enriching for those who want to know more about their culture. Where the movie takes place is fictional but it is still based on actual asian culture. It has a pretty developed world in which could be explored even further in a sequel. I feel like there's some room for a sequel, though it could be alright on its own. It could be like Frozen; it could be alright on its own but got a sequel to expand the world even more than the first one did. Raya didn't make as much money as Frozen but still have some wiggle room for a sequel.

    I find it does alright at relaying a theme about trust. That can be a reason why you should show your kids. The action might not be good for all of the younger audiences, but the theme might still be good.

    Overall, I find the film alright and find it good for people who wants to watch more about Asian culture and wants something to show their kids.
  • joybells-07187 - 12 November 2023
    As Reviewed by a South East Asian
    I have to say, after Mulan 2020, I didn't think Disney could make another much worse film about Asian culture, until Raya and the Last Dragon came about. I know I can't speak for all South East Asians, so this is just from *my* POV about how I felt about this movie as a South East Asian (specifically I am Malaysian Chinese).

    Raya was a movie featuring culture from my region of the world, or at least they tried and absolutely failed. They mashed all sorts of South East Asian culture together to the point that there was no prominent culture featured, and there were there barely anything remotely recognizable. And yes even though they themselves said that they combined a few cultures (Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesia), it doesn't mean those cultures were accurately represented or even recognizable. I wanted to see cultures from my part of the world, but all I saw was a generic mess. When numerous cultures were combined, no specific culture could shine through. It would've been great if they could focus on one culture, maybe a Vietnamese princess or a Thai princess or an Indonesian princess.

    Secondly, what is the atrocity that is Sisu? Were they trying to go for a traditional East Asian Dragon or a Naga? Nagas are serpentine creatures prominently featured in Buddhism and Hinduism, religions that are found all across S. E. A. If they were trying to go for a dragon, then her design and even her nature is completely wrong. First of all, why the fur? Dragons do not have fur on their body at all. She also only had one horn when dragons have two. She also lacked whiskers and claws in her feet. In East Asia, dragons are described to have scales like that of a carp, a body of a snake, haunches of a tiger, claws of an eagle, mane of a lion, antlers like a deer, eyes like a rabbit, nose of a pig, face of a camel, and whiskers like a catfish. She literally has none of those features except the mane.

    If she was supposed to be a naga based on Buddhism then her design is completely wrong as well. The one horn is sort of accurate but technically it is a tall pointed crown that they wear in Thai art. But nagas do not have feet nor a mane nor do they have any fur at all. Think of them as large snakes. But she looks nothing like a snake and instead looks like a giant noodley lion. And her overall design is way too cute and tame. I'm not sure why Disney couldn't make her look a tad bit more realistic or intimidating, as how they were depicted in Buddhist art? Look at the dragons in Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon, they look badass. Sisu looks like well... a sissy. She doesn't look like some supernatural divine creature that is powerful and magical at all.

    Thirdly, the main central theme of trust was utterly useless and makes 0 sense in South East Asian culture. In Asia, especially in the East and South East, especially any Sino-based cultures, the main central core value is filial piety and honor (something Mulan 1998 got right). It would have been great to see a western film company actually take the time to research on what are some of the important values of Asian people and maybe center the film around it, or make it a central trait of the characters. It seems that only films made by Asians feature the value of being filial. The theme of trust in this film was completely unrelatable at all as a South East Asian person. I really could not relate at all. Even Elemental and Encanto were more relatable for me than a film centered around South East Asian culture, y'know, MY culture. Elemental and Encanto featured themes and values that are deeply important in Asian culture, but Raya did not.

    The theme in the film was not accurate at all. Also they completely botched the theme of trust anyway in the film, with Sisu being way too naive about it and Raya being so unrealistically distrustful. Also the way they handled trust with Nemaari's character, especially at the end, was so messy and completely botched too. It was confusing to me because I couldn't tell where they were going with theme, there was too much pushing and pulling with this theme that there was no clear picture of where this theme was going.

    Anyway I can say more but honestly, this film was such a sorry excuse made by Disney. I really had been looking forward to it since they announced that they were making a film about my culture, but when I actually watched the film, it severely under-delivered and was incredibly disappointing. I guess Disney really is lazy and ignorant. They do not seem to want to genuinely learn about other cultures and accurately represent them. And this film was absolutely atrocious from start to finish. Even the characters themselves were lackluster and underdeveloped and really boring and confusing. And Sisu was straight up just annoying. Raya is one of the worst films I have ever watched, alongside Mulan 2020. It was just insult after insult when I was watching it. Seeing my culture botched and wasted in this film this badly made me lose hope for Disney. It was just one giant mess. And because they have a S. E. A. Princess, they most likely won't do any other princess from South East Asia because Raya is now the token S. E. A. Rep for Disney. Great.
  • masonfisk - 11 January 2023
    The latest animated feature from the Mouse House is a typically visually sumptuous ethnic affair (taking place in what looks like Thailand) where a fractured populace (separated into five provinces) is besieged by a force which can turn the inhabitants into stone. What keeps the evil at bay in one province is a magical stone (granted to them by the once teeming dragon population) to protect them. During a reunification attempt between them & the outlining areas (who are stoneless) goes bust (a daughter of one the leaders uses her wiles to trick Raya to take her to the stone only for her steal it where it's then accidentally broken up into pieces). Years later Raya, voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, & her trusty Tuktuk, voiced by Alan Tudyk, roam the lands hoping to reunite all the stones again before the impending evil force engulfs the land & luckily, after successfully acquiring the first piece of the stone revivifies a dragon, voiced by Awkwafina, Raya gets much needed help to succeed in her mission. As usual in most Disney stories, the heroine has abandonment issues (her father was waylaid & turned to stone), the dialogue seems to be written for 21 century characters when the setting belies that fact & touchy/feely aspects of sworn enemies banding together to fight a common foe is straight out of Mickey Mouse's handbook. After scoring w/recent hits like Moana, Wreck-it-Ralph & Zootopia, this feels like a return to bad form for the animation studio w/its over-reliance on quirky speak bordering on annoying rather than endearing keeps derailing the action & mood the film is trying to set. Other voices are provided by Daniel Dae Kim as Raya's dad, Gemma Chan as Raya's nemesis, Benedict Wong as one of Raya's traveling companions, Sandra Oh as Chan's mom & other voices, which include Ross Butler & Sung Kang, round out the other supporting players.
  • timleesongs - 10 September 2022
    I found Raya and the Last Dragon more like watching a video game cutscene than an engaging story
    Raya lives in a land where dragons are worshipped but the people are divided. She goes off on an adventure to find the last of the fabled dragons and try to heal her land.

    Maybe I need to rewatch it, but I just didn't care about the characters or the story and I found Raya and the Last Dragon more like watching a video game cutscene than an engaging story. Within minutes I had lost all focus or interest in the film and if my life depended on it I couldn't recall any of the characters' names.

    Spellbinding visuals can't make up for a film I felt very little connection with. Is it me just being a grumpy old man, or are modern Disney films trying too hard to be 'cool,' in sacrifice of good movies now?
  • drqshadow-reviews - 4 August 2022
    Raya's Dragon is Shiny and Boistrous, But Overly Familiar
    In a nation divided by hard civic borders, plus a generation's worth of simmering distrust, a diplomatic olive branch is extended and then snapped. This betrayal shatters both the uneasy peace and a symbolic crystal, the latter of which unleashes a cloud of spectral monsters and envelops the land in a lasting chaos. Years later, in a dark and dangerous new age, a determined young heiress seeks to heal both wounds by awakening a mythical dragon and gathering the crystal shards.

    I'm making this sound stuffier than it really is. Although Raya is driven by her responsibility and the fantastical plot is a little stiff, the periphery is crammed with the standard helping of wacky Disney sidekicks and the culture-rich art direction (an amalgamation of several southeast Asian influences) is breathtaking. Awkwafina is the standout, providing the voice of the enthusiastic, rainbow-themed, re-awakened dragon. Spritely and sarcastic, she bounces her way through an appropriately wacky, joyful role that brings much-needed relief during the heavier scenes and an extra dash of heart elsewhere.

    The story is deeply formulaic, though, and the primary plot arc is predictable enough to write in stone within the first twenty minutes. Good, and pretty, enough to merit a family watch, but not something I'll need to revisit any time soon.
  • arielsiere - 15 May 2022
    Raya And The Last Dragon is such a great movie next to Luca and Encanto the voice actors of this movie are excellent and the characters are great, the music of this movie is nice and is really incredible.