Quickie Review: Raya and the Last Dragon

The only opinion that really matters here would be that of a kid who likes animated movies. Especially Disney animated movies. And for that particular demographic, Raya and the Last Dragon is a pretty safe bet. The movie stays true to the conventional Disney formula with a story, animation and voices that kids can embrace and parents can easily tolerate. It’s not top-tier classic Disney, but it’s a pleasant enough family-friendly diversion if you have Disney+ with Premier Access (i.e. it’ll cost ya extra). It’s also being released in select theaters, but I still can’t suggest anyone of any age go that route before we reach something close to herd immunity.

Raya and the Last Dragon features a sassy girl (Kelly Marie Tran) with warrior instincts (sound familiar), a self-deprecating dragon named Sisu (Awkwafina) who is big on one-liners, and a typical array of spunky sidekicks, misguided villains, fractured families and warring factions who must learn to work together and trust one another in order to save and restore their world, Kumandra, where people and dragons once lived in harmony.

Here’s the gist: It’s been 500 years since a dark force called the Drunn bore down like a plague on Kumandra, turning everything in its path to stone. Legend has it, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save the humans. Their efforts paid off for a while, but eventually the people of Kumandra started turning on each other and the evil force returned to once again wreak havoc on the broken land. And it’s up to lone warrior Raya to track down the legendary last dragon thought to be the only one with the power to stop the Drunn. Let the grand adventure begin!

Raya and the Last Dragon
leaves a few questions largely unanswered (like, where did six years go?) but overall, it’s entertaining in a Mulan sort of way, the visuals are often quite stunning, and Awkwafina’s dragon can be a hoot.

 

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