Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

About time we got a new 3-D animated Disney, obviously during this heck hole, it’d be on Disney Plus, for now through Premier Access, so for those who don’t want to pay for it, you’ll have to wait another 3 or 4 months, I know it sucks but hey what can ya do?, this seems to be a little different from their usual stuff, no singing and… not that many celebrity voices?, it has a rather epic concept and looks like the film itself could be epic, with dragons, big battles, creativity and the usual Disney stuff, this could be great!, I was really looking forward to this!, besides the teaser, I avoided watching the other trailers so nothing is spoiled and just going in knowing little as possible, it was originally supposed to come out in cinemas but knowing what’s going on, that wasn’t case, so it did make sense for it to be come to Disney Plus, so I quickly brought it yesterday and watched it which felt weird watching it at home and….. yeah as expected I really liked it, although it doesn’t quite leave the biggest impact on me and it has familiar elements, it’s still entertaining enough, so let’s talk about it!

In the land Kumandra, Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) is out looking for all these gem pieces across these other nations, Fang, Talon, Tail & Spine to try and bring peace and restore Kumandra after some evil spirits known as Drunn has turned people across the land into stone, including Raya’s own father, she summons the last luckdragon named Sisu (Awkwafina) and they both set out to find all the pieces while other nations are out to look for them while also looking for the last dragon coincidentally, now a lot of the Disney 3-D animated films have been rather formulaic and very repeated too, like even though most of them are different films concept wise, but story and structure is basically kind of the same, this one is also applies which unfortunately means if you know the Disney formula, you know what will happen in this film, but to the film’s credit, it still keeps the audience engaged and interested at the very least, the story may not be all that original but it’s still rather interesting within the events of the film and the world building, the first 15 minutes felt like your run of the mill Disney 3-D animated film and it plays by the books in the most average and basic way, but still fascinating, after that the film gets legit better, it gives us a good reason as to why we should care about what’s going on, it’s get even more epic and emotional and… even funnier, like the opening, it does feel rather familiar in terms of humour and where the gang goes to, but I don’t mind a bit of repeating, hence why most of the 3-D animated films from Disney and Pixar are always very formulaic and derivative, but still keep the story interesting and events more on the edge of your seats and this film also does that.., but other times, you know what will happen, there are many great scenes in how emotional and epic it is and a lot of the scenes really stand out, others are been there done that, I like the message of the movie too, it really packs a punch, along with a satisfying ending, the idea of the film sounds cool and it is well presented and done justice too, so overall the story has good pacing, mostly decent comedy, great epic action and also nicely done emotional bits, but what keeps this away from being great is just how familiar and formulaic the whole story is, it’s just too cliched and repeated, but still well presented with great world building and it is very entertaining, so at least it’s trying and it does success for the most part, but I’d be lying if I said it’s been done better before.

The animation is wonderful as always, lots of awesome details in this wonderful world!, the characters are great especially in how they look in that traditional Disney way, I love the look of Sisu and what she can do, she might be the biggest highlight of the animation, but everything else is really outstanding, including the world of Krumandra, the epic battles, the speed and movement, along with excellent realistic textures in the water and rain, it’s just another really fantastic looking Disney film, it’s really cool how Disney put so much effort into their animated flicks, this one is no exception, however despite how great this film looks, just like it’s story, this film looks also very familiar, the characters look like characters you’d see in like Overwatch with some of the human characters and Raya looks like Moana a little bit, that and there are so areas that look like they were entirely ripped off from other stuff like games and movies, it just looks like something you’d see while playing a game or in a live action film, but none the less, the animation is still a pleasing sight to view and another wonderful looking film from Disney!.

The characters are mostly entertaining and quite memorable, but not all of them are all that much of a stand out, Raya is a good main character, she’s pleasant and very likeable, but is another warrior hero trying to restore peace and harmony, not much interesting things to her but she is likeable and endearing enough to be a good main character, I just wish there was a bit more to her to be honest, Sisu is the best character in the film, she’s really funny, she’s has great purpose and can be very creative and enjoyable, the other side characters are also very memorable, like Tong (Benedict Wong), Boun (Izaac Wang), Little Noi (Thalia Tran) and Raya’s pet companion Tuk Tuk (Alan Tudyk), they all play a big part and are all just great supporting characters!, Namaari (Gemma Chan) is a decent villainous character, she can be intimidating and rather interesting as a emotional character, but is mostly just a villain with a goal, not much else to say about her, the voice acting is pretty great, Kelly Marie Tran is pretty good as Raya, Awkwafina is fantastic as Sisu, Benedict Wong is wonderful, same with Sandra Oh, Gemma Chan, Alan Tudyk and so much more, so despite some a rather good basic hero and a okay average villain, the characters offer lots of great entertainment and unique comedy to the big screen, along with great heart and emotion, but the voice acting really brings some life to even all the the characters!

James Newton-Howard’s score is just as great to as his other scores, but this one feels the most atmospheric I heard so far!, love the music!, really captures the feel and world of this film

It’s not quite as imaginative or original as most previous Disney 3-D animated films, but it’s still an epic and grand film to watch!, Raya and the Last Dragon isn’t anything new or groundbreaking, but very enjoyable and offers so much to please any viewer, with stunning animation, fantastic voice acting, fun and enjoyable characters, satisfying humour, decent story, good message, nice music with pretty good world building along with good heart, although it does feel too familiar with it’s predictable story and even it’s cliches and very basic opening, along with a rather okay hero and villain, there could of been so much more to these two characters but they are fine for what they are, but other then that, it’s another mostly solid Disney film, better then what was on Premier Access before, even though I haven’t seen it, but anyways, if you are a big Disney fan, give it a watch, but maybe wait until it’s free on Disney Plus then pay £20 for it, but if you or anyone is desperate to watch it, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a bit of money on it, I’m excited for what Disney has next on their 3-D animated film list, this may not be perfect but it’s certainly on the right path!.

I’m going to give Raya and the Last Dragon a 8/10

Review by Clank_Zoka

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