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Raya And The Last Dragon (2021)

Review: written June 2021

Fresh and original addition to Disney canon

Raya And The Last Dragon (2021)

Raya is a stunning piece of animation, some top drawer work from Disney that feels wasted on the small screen in its current home at time of writing, on Disney+. It ticks all the best Disney boxes; empowered female lead (Asian this time, so also ticking the diversity box), stunning animation, a combination of almost photo real backgrounds with stylised animation of the characters designed to bring them to life, and of course thematic elements to give the kids something to ponder on (battling divisions in society, importance of trust and putting self to the side in relationships). It’s a good movie, no mistake. And yet I felt a little like I had skimmed the surface of a story wishing it had gone deeper – perhaps that’s to do with the target market being younger than me – I didn’t quite feel I got to know, care and feel the dimensions of the characters as much as we did for, say, Ariel, Moana or even Olaf the Snowman, despite some great voicework from Kelly Marie Tran, and Awkwafina in the “sidekick that adds comedy value” role. It’s not a damning indictment, because there’s enough Tomb Raider-meets-Crouching Tiger action propelling things along, and the world feels fresh, original and well conceived, to make the whole adventure enjoyable on those merits.

In short, Disney has another winner, even if it did feel like a tease for something more rather than a full meal in itself.

Raya And The Last Dragon (2021)

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