In the mythical realm of Kumandra, a young warrior embarks
on a journey to awaken a long-lost dragon and save her people.
Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)
Directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada
Written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim
Starring Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Izaac Wang, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Alan Tudyk
Oscar Nominations - Best Animated Film
Despite their aspirations of global dominance and tendency to sue anyone who threatens their brand, Disney has still always been the best at combining relatable drama and life lessons with gorgeous animation and family fun. Raya and the Last Dragon is just the latest example of Disney topping themselves, and it's nice to have a new Disney film that isn't a musical or goofy. This film is a badass adventure fantasy featuring a strong female lead and a great ensemble. But I still refused to shell out $30 for a Disney Plus rental. I saw it at the movies (responsibly) like a rebel.
Welcome to Kumandra, a wholly original fantasy realm that split into warring factions after the disappearance of the race of dragons that kept people in check. In the land of Heart, a young warrior named Raya (Tran) believes that the dragon gem her people protects has the power to restore the dragons. But when traitors from the land of Fang destroy the gem, the darkness that the light kept at bay is unleashed and the world turned to stone. But Raya, and the mythical dragon she befriends (Awkwafina), have a chance to make things right and save everyone. It's an engaging adventure that is surprisingly dark at times, and also teaches kids about the importance of trust and how asking for help is never a weakness. It's a strength.
Raya and the Last Dragon is going to be fast-tracked into becoming a Disney classic. It's their best non-Pixar film in years. I was moved by Raya's compelling journey and the ending did make me tear up a little. But Disney has that ability. Most of their animated films push the envelope in one way or another, and this film is no exception.