The last Disney animation has made history!
One of the first 2021 releases has finally reached the public. Raya and the Last Dragon launched on Disney +, via Premier Access. This is the 59th feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, and as the title already suggests, it is about a warrior named Raya who needs to find the last dragon in the fantasy realm known as Kumandra.
The film arrived causing a big buzz among Disney animation fans precisely because it brought back several established elements at the same time as it paved the way for a new era, either in the world or in the animations own. from the studio. We’ve already checked out this new production, and here’s our review of Raya and the Last Dragon!
Title: Raya and the Last Dragon (Raya and the Last Dragon)
Management: Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada
Screenplay: Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim
Release date: March 5 (Disney +)
Run Time: 107 minutes
Synopsis: In a realm known as Kumandra, a reimagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.
Raya and the last dragon summon a great spirit for a new era
If there’s anything missing from theaters in recent years, it’s certainly the spirit of adventure and whimsy that was so important in the past. Do you know that movie to watch on a rainy afternoon, where a fantasy hero must travel the longest journey of his life, meeting several new faces along the way, all while facing an unstoppable threat? Well. Of course, superheroes have come to fill this gap … but it’s not the same.
Thankfully, Raya and the Last Dragon seems like a rescue of that spirit, especially in an age when all pyrotechnic special effects are more important than charismatic characters, incredible adventures, and legendary worlds. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 59th film features an unlikely pair of directors in Don Hall (Operation Big Hero, Moana) and Carlos López Estrada (Blind Spot, Legion), recounting such a singular journey.
The itinerary is signed by Vietnamese Qui Nguyen and Malaysian Adele Lin, which brings a very significant cultural and representative perspective, as we embark on the journey of young Raya in search of the last dragon, in order to free the fantastic kingdom of Kumandra of a dangerous menace, the Drunn, deformed beings who feed on human spirits and turn people to stone.
However, the supernatural threat lurks in the background as a much more pressing issue is faced: Kumandra is a divided and shattered country, with five tribes fighting for a mystical object. Raya comes from Heart, but finds enemies and allies in the Column, Fang, Claw, and Tail tribes, while fighting not only for the Last Dragon, but to unite people around a common goal.
This theme may seem old-fashioned in today’s context, but it is precisely because of this context that it acquires so much force. In a divided and polarized world, Raya and the Last Dragon shows how fundamental the policy of good neighborliness and unity is for people all over the world to fight against tyranny and oppression. The dragon then comes not only as a savior, but as a way to bring people together for a future of hope.
All of this is further proven when Raya, during her travels, summons a warrior from each tribe to attempt to defeat the Drunn once and for all. On screen, this narrative comes to life and moves, with the right to powerful dialogues about strength, unity, forgiveness and kindness. And while this is clearly a message intended for a childish audience, adults will certainly recognize the importance of these elements and the impact of affirmative action.
Technically, the film is exquisite. It’s the prettiest and most polished Disney animation since Moana, whether it’s because of the clear advancement in technology or how the film draws inspiration from cultures from different parts of Asia, all by generating a unique and beautiful world. The action scenes are a separate spectacle, with impressive grace and fluidity, taking advantage of the animation’s own elements to create something you don’t owe to any live action.
The voice casting is another that stands out, especially in the original language. Kelly Marie Tran makes her rise after the disaster of the last Star Wars, adding breathtaking emotion to Raya’s voice. In addition to her, Gemma Chan impresses as Namaari, a well-motivated antagonist. The highlight, however, goes to Awkwafina, who has managed to create the most charismatic and fun dragon in pop culture since Mushu pardoned Mulan in 1998.
And while the film follows several beaten clichés and archetypes (there’s a series of very important macguffins, a very traditional hero’s journey), the handling of these elements is done in a very inspiring way, actually bringing the air to life again. adventure and fantasy that we used to see in the most classic animations of the studio and in other films of the genre. It’s something really exciting, which can dictate Disney’s future directions in cinema.
And if, since The Princess and the Frog, we have embarked on a new era of animation, known as “Revival” due to the rescue of princesses and fairy tales, Raya can symbolize the beginning or at least the harbinger of a new era, a phase of films with more mature and political content, even if directed by fantastic beings. This is something the studio has been preparing since 2016 with the debut of Zootopia.
It’s something that can even be seen in other studios that revolve around Disney, like Pixar itself, which launched the Breathtaking Soul last year and was also set to do something about it. even more innovative and courageous than we are used to. While Disney and Pixar go together in the animation business, it’s not too hard to expect something similar in the future from animation studios.
To sum up the opera, Raya and the Last Dragon walks into the Disney Animation Room with a lot of praise and notoriety. It’s a visually beautiful film, with textures, colors and movements so realistic that it is astonishing, at the same time that its story carries meanings extremely relevant to the present time. Another success in the hands of the studio – and one that will be remembered for many years to come.
Raya and the Last Dragon is available on Disney + through Premier Access. The film will be available to all subscribers at no additional cost from April 23.
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