A Princess, A Dragon and A Curse!

Name: Raya & The Last Dragon
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Year: 2021

It’s amazing to see how Disney’s vision of a princess has changed over the years into powerful independent women… about time!

Over the last ten years or so we’ve had many different types of princesses. From Tangled’s new spin on Princess Rapunzel in the tower, Frozen’s Ice bending Queen Elsa and adventure seeking islander Moana – all tough yet complex characters that said no! to waiting around for a prince to save them! It’s time to add Raya to that list.

Our newest princess Raya is a strategic fighter who uses her overpowering guilt to drive her to unite the people and restore the kingdom to its former glory. Such a big task to put on her soldiers and there is no prince in sight… but she does befriend a dragon, Sisu. Sisu bring the humour to the movie with hilarious moments weirdly reminding you of the dumb best friend character in a lot of teen tv shows.

Raya’s path to victory is a dangerous one. She must rid the land of the eerie Druun, a shadowlike wave of evil turning the land’s population to stone with one touch. There is only one way to break the curse and get rid of the Druun, to reunite the mystical artefact called the dragon stone. The neighbouring countries stole piece of the stone and it’s up to Raya to convince them to work together to keep the Druun at bay.

The story allows Raya to travel to each country to retrieve pieces of dragon heart and Disney did not disappoint. The animation and design of each country showing how each place is significantly different on how they live their lives is breathtakingly beautiful. Even the characters Raya meets along her journey are craftly designed differently to highlight being from different places. We meet 10-year-old entrepreneur Boun, con artist infant Noi and the mighty warrior Tong. Each of these characters are cleverly written and perfectly voiced by an all-star cast of Asian heritage. We learn that each character is grieving from the fallout of the curse and seeking to assist Raya in her attempt to save everyone. Raya’s biggest rival is an angry “Disney Princess” Namaari – a character also suffering feeling fractured and broken as the curse consumes more and more innocent people.

If you are looking for an entertaining and action-packed movie mixed with impressive fight sequences, beautiful animated scenery and a dose of comedy then look no further. Raya & The Last Dragon is the perfect family adventure film, presenting such fresh ideas on a recognisable and well-known plot.

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