RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON (2021)
A spirited, heartfelt journey from start to finish, Raya and the Last Dragon represents Disney animation at its absolute finest.
A lone warrior (Raya, voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) must track down a mythical last dragon (voiced by Awkwafina in order to stop a sinister threat against the fantasy world of Kumandra. Destined to join the pantheon of the all-time great Disney heroines, Raya is a force to be reckoned with and perfectly voiced by Tran. From the opening moments of the film, breathtaking animation dominates the culturally-explosive visuals as pulsating music amplifies the story, one that is flushed with heightened emotion every step of the way. At the core of the story is a message of trust and unity that, though likely unintended, is perfect for the current climate within both the United States and the world. Each character contributes a piece to the heart of the story much like the reuniting of the sought after gem pieces within the film. Sprinkled with intense action sequences that are bolder than any seen in Disney animation before, Raya has the feel of an epic.
Raya also works as a film that is both exciting for adults and accessible for children, something the studio does rather well. It is likely to dominate the box office this weekend and, had its release not been in pandemic times, would likely go on a highly-profitable run. While commercially different in terms of music and marketability, Raya is arguably on the level of Frozen, if not better. It’s that good.
Raya and the Last Dragon hits theaters this Friday and will also be available via Disney+ Premier Access.
Photo from Roger Ebert