‘Raya and the Last Dragon,’ high flying fun

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Ike Edmondson, Writer

Raya and the Last Dragon is a pleasant, adventurous, although repetitive movie. The movie is the first Disney animated film that features Southeast Asian characters, but shares the same problems and solutions as almost every Disney movie ever.

Seasoned Disney director Don Hall and animator Carlos López Estrada bring the film to life with stunning animations and  lots of vibrant color to engage viewers, but it doesn’t distract from the fact the storyline is rather recycled, and as all Disney movies, painfully predictable.

The movie begins by explaining the five kingdoms of Kumandra. These kingdoms represent parts of a dragon: Heart, Fang, Spine,Talon and Tail. Before dragons became extinct hundreds of years earlier, the dragons used their magic to guard humanity.

Now, humanity is reliant on the dragon magic that comes from the Dragon Gem. The gem is kept in the kingdom of Heart, which is where the main character Raya is from. 

The other nations want the power of the gem for themselves and trick the Heart kingdom in order to take control of the gem. A fight ensues, causing the gem to break and release the Druun. These Druun are soul sucking creatures who turn those caught by them into stone.

Raya is a warrior princess who is voiced by Kelly Marie. She escapes the Druun by her dad sacrificing himself to save her (classic Disney). She then goes on an inspiring journey across the kingdoms with the power of her swordsmanship and the friendships of cute side characters she picks up along the way.

One of the main side characters features the last dragon, Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina. We learn of Sisu’s troubled past and misguided history. She is quite funny and teaches a valuable lesson.

While battling Druun and the other leaders of the kingdoms to unite and put the gem back together, Raya and her posse learn lessons about trust, honesty and friendship.

I give the movie a 7 out of 10 based on the amazing displays of animation art, classic story set in a new place and pretty good one liners. Although,It repeats many other Disney movies and lacks any surprise.