Raya and the Last Dragon review

A dragon! A dragon! I swear I saw a dragon 

Big spoilers so go see this in theaters or on Disney+. Raya and the Last Dragon is about a princess searching for the shattered pieces of the dragon orb and the last dragon Sisu in order to return peace to Kumandra which has been in conflict with each tribe. This is the first non-sequel movie in the Disney canon since Moana four years ago. This is also James Newton Howard’s fourth Disney movie he scored. He creates such great music in the movies he scored such as Atlantis the Lost Empire and Treasure Planet.

I really liked the worldbuilding of Kumandra. Each tribe is named after a part of a dragon and each land looks very unique from each other. It kind of reminds me a lot of Avatar the Last Airbender because of its Asian influence. The tribes also tie into the movie’s biggest theme of trust. Both Raya and Sisu learn a lot about when to and not when to trust someone. I really like in the climax that one member from each tribe helps put the pieces of the orb back together with the main villain Namaari being the one who saves everyone.

Speaking of villains, the villains were kind of a mix bag. For one thing I like that the main villain Namaari does have some development and even gets some redemption in the climax. On the other hand, the druun is just another Disney force of nature antagonist with not much to them. Another problem was that the modern humor can get annoying especially when it’s set in a fictional fantasy world. Most of modern humor comes from Sisu played by Awkwafina who feels like another famous celebrity doing a Disney character like Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy or Dwayne the Rock Johnson.

By the way the short that came with this Us Again was fantastic with great animation, great music and great emotional moments. For a Disney princess movie there are some tropes for those movies that are absent such as a romance, and songs which is kind of refreshing. Raya and the Last Dragon was a nice break from the Disney sequels full of action and great worldbuilding. Fun fact: my movie theater ticket for this cost $11 which is far les than $30 on Disney+. I am most certain this will be a world in a later Kingdom Hearts game.   

Verdict:

+James Newton Howard’s score

+Theme of trust

+Worldbuilding

+/-Villains

-Modern humor

Score: A-

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