Movie Review – Raya and the Last Dragon

Review by: Della Johnson

Directed by: Don Hall, Carlos Lopez Estrada

Rating: 7/10

Disney’s newest princess film felt very familiar. As a strong female warrior with a sarcastic dragon sidekick, Raya certainly mirrored Mulan, the other princess to hail from an Asian country, and her consistent travel by boat lent itself a bit to Moana. Still, the movie itself fostered plenty of individuality. 

Visually, it’s a fantastic watch. The animation is smooth and fluid, with the dragons and other animals as expressive as their human counterparts. The magic of the Druun — purple, ominous clouds that turn living beings to stone — is captivating and terrifying, acting almost like a being itself. Landscapes are turned into richly colored dreamscapes, and the five different cities (divided in an almost Avatar: The Last Airbender-esque manner with a map and everything) exemplify the biome diversity that the Disney animation team is capable of. 

Characteristically, the rivalry between the two intense female leads (Raya and Namari) is one of the key driving points of the plot, and also something we haven’t yet seen from a princess movie. While the development between them may turn to cliché at its worst, it’s important to remember the child audience that Disney caters to. Raya and the Last Dragon may not be the biggest movie for those above adolescence, but it certainly provides a lot of good for those who aren’t.