Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Raya is a Disney Princess that transcends the moniker into badassery!
Raya and the Last Dragon has been out for a little over a week now on Disney+ with early access, and I, for one, believe it is well worth it. Disney animation is a centerfold of American culture, and we have been without due to the pandemic for far too long, and Raya is a fantastic reintroduction to the format. Giving off a hybrid vibe of Moana and the classic animated Mulan, this film is enjoyable for the whole family.
I won't give too much away, so no "spoiler alert" necessary as I highly recommend this new entry in the plethora of Disney animated film archives. As I said, Raya and the Last Dragon definitely feels like the unexpected love child of Moana and Mulan. This is because the animation style is identical to that of Moana, but it is set up in an Asian-like culture with dragons much like Mulan.
However, Raya does stand on its own. Taking place in a fictional dystopian land called Kumandra that was separated into five clans Fang, Heart, Talon, Spine, and Tail. The story's overall theme is trust, as no one trusts anyone outside of their own clans, but to save the world, Raya must reunite Kumandra. In her journey, she is guided by Sisu, the last dragon. Voiced by Awkwafina, Sisu finds it easier to trust and rely on others than Raya does. The dragon knows it will take the help of more than just one girl, her weird giant armadillo insect thing Tuk Tuk, and a dragon.
On their journey, they befriend a member from each clan to join their mission proving to Raya there are good people in the other clans. Of course, in true Disney fashion, the heroes prevail, all while teaching a valuable lesson. In this case, trusting others is a valuable asset but can be very hard to accomplish. Other teachable lessons portrayed in the film could be viewed as everyone deserves a second chance and that you can't judge one person on an entire group of people. Their actions should stand on their own.
Though this review is very vague since I don't want to spoil the movie, I will give a high recommendation. I give this beautifully animated epic fantasy a 9/10. I deduct a star due to there being no music. No matter how crazy it is that a Disney animated film, let alone one with a princess, yes Raya is a Disney Princess, has no songs to sing along to that doesn't take much away from the great story. So what are you waiting for? Gather all of your family and go watch Raya and the Last Dragon.