With Raya And The Last Dragon, Disney returns with it’s big release confined to Disney+ Premium followed by a June cinema and Disney+ release. With comparisons to Mulan, Raya And The Last Dragon manages to beat to the tune of it’s own drum while still carving out a somewhat familiar path.
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people.
With absolutely sublime animation and superb voice cast (Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Sandra Oh, Alan Tudyk & Benedict Wong) Raya’s adventure is off to a great start. However after the Indiana Jones-esque opening the film rapidly depends into a knock off Avengers Endgame style plot with shenanigans surrounding the several shards of a magic gem (Can you say Infinity Stones?) that banishes the evil Druun. With the Magnificent Seven style stop that follows, it does what it does very well.
However, the film doesn’t do anything unexpected, while ticking all the representation boxes as it goes. It culminates in a so-so finale that will no doubts delight younger viewers, while anyone else who has seen more than their fair share of Disney movies, will feel possibly somewhat shortchanged after the huge build up ahead of the release.
Raya And The Last Dragon certainly isn’t in Black Cauldron territory, but it’s a forgettable affair that sits somewhere between Rescuers Down Under and Basil The Great Mouse Detective in the rewatchability stakes.
Raya And The Last Dragon is available to watch on Disney+ and in cinemas now