Evoking the spirts of films of the Renaissance age such as The Lion King and Mulan, Raya and the Last Dragon is a surprisingly mature story that does not shy away from the bleakness of reality. Underneath its charming spirit and loveable characters, the film is really a story about the significance of failure and the faith necessary for second chances.
Coupled with the film’s excellent action sequences, Raya and the Last Dragon is ambitious in delivering a story of mythical proportions. While the film is certainly grand in its scale, it is arguably more successful in delivering a deeply effective story about failure and redemption, a story that will undoubtedly resonate with audience of all ages.
From a visual standpoint, the Disney animated feature film is a gorgeously rendered animated production that excels in crafting memorable visual. Whether it is the fluidity of Sisu the dragon, or the dystopian landscape of Kamandra, the film elevates the formula with its breath-taking imagery, utilising vivid lighting and photorealistic environments. On top of its state-of-the-art production, the many creative undertakings that Raya and the Last Dragon takes separates it from your typical Disney production.
Alongside its gorgeous visuals and its ambitious storytelling, Raya and the Last Dragon would not have worked without its tremendous cast. Starring Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina as Raya and Sisu the dragon respectively, the film spends a considerable amount of time on the relationship between the two. Tran’s vulnerable-yet-strong warrior complements greatly with Awkwafina’s high-energy wit and banter; what might seem as questionable pairing at first glance progresses into a nice push-pull double act.
Ever since the success of 2009’s Tangled, Disney has been on a slow but steady ride in cementing its dominance when it comes to animation. By executing an impressive production worthy of its more adult oriented themes, Raya and the Last Dragon is another home run for the Mouse house. Expertly balancing emotion, humor and story amid a backdrop that is in of itself a visual feast, Raya and the Last Dragon is an instant Disney classic.
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