Raya and the Last Dragon is yet another addition to Disney’s repertoire of animated films. Released via the Disney+ streaming service on March 5th, 2021, this film follows our protagonist, Raya, has to find the last dragon in order to stop the menace that the Druun monsters impose on the world of Kumandra.
The film showcases its strengths with its animation and worldbuilding. The worldbuilding is intriguing and mesmerizing. I adored the floating city of Talon, each location was visually appealing. The setting felt grand and the lore and culture within the film pulled me in further. The tribes all had unique color schemes and wardrobe. These elements helped make them all distinct and appealing to look at. I enjoyed the character designs for the most part. The designs helped make up for the lack of development in the side characters.
However, there was a certain design, and just a character overall that I very much despised. The good ole Disney sidekick character, Sisu. Sisu is a furry blue dragon and her design just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the film. For one, Sisu is a water dragon and the fur is off putting and leads to her looking more like a My Little Pony character. Her design didn’t do justice to the regal appearance of many dragons in southeast asian culture, which the film uses heavily. On top of poor character design, Sisu was a very annoying and immature character and Awkwafina lending her voice for this role didn’t help make it any more bearable.
Other than Sisu, most of the characters in this film are enjoyable. Raya is a satisfactory protagonist and she stands out amongst the catalogue of other Disney princesses. A lot of the side characters were great as well. I loved Boun the most as he delivered a lot of humorous dialogue. It would’ve been nice to see more of and have the side characters fleshed out more. But there was way too much to fit in a single movie.
The pacing was another problem. The movie tried to develop so much in its two hour run time and that’s where its flaws come in. With trying to crunch everything together, the storyline was rushed because there was just too much plot. I feel the movie would’ve been better off as an animated series to further expand its worldbuilding, characters, and themes.
Overall, the film is good. Not great or life-changing, just good.
This article first appeared at The Crossing Chronicle.