Though Raya and the Last Dragon is a visual treat with loveable characters and beautiful world building, the mediocre storyline may stop it from becoming a Disney classic.
Written by Becca Johnson
Disney's newest animated movie tells the story of a young girl named Raya, who goes on a quest to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the lives of many and unite her people.
When exploring the technical elements, Raya and the Last Dragon is successful. The animation is arguably the best Disney has given us so far, everything from the colour to the textures and lighting creating a look that is nothing short of stunning. The world-building is masterfully done, with many beautiful settings and landscapes to feast your eyes upon.
The original score complimented the visuals perfectly, and though there were no musical numbers like Disney productions usually give us, the score helped to set the tone and create a cohesive piece of film.
There was also a lot of likeability when it comes down to the characters. Raya is a very inspiring lead who only wants the best for her family and her people. Sisu the dragon was not only beautifully animated but voiced well by Awkwafina, providing some much needed laughs and comedic relief. It was great to see lots of representation and diversity within a Disney movie, as it gave us a range of cool female characters and an incredibly talented Asian cast. All of the voice acting was very well done, and the set of characters were a joy to watch.
Where the movie falters a little is with the writing. At times, the story-line wasn't as engaging as it was hoping to be, and it definitely took a while to get things going. The screenplay is not one of the best Disney has given us, lacking the much desired charm and fun of its predecessors. The story-line undoubtedly became more thrilling as it goes along, and it ended on a high, but the journey to get there wasn't always captivating enough. Raya and the Last Dragon gives its audience a really nice overall message about trust, forgiveness and unity that a younger audience may take something from, yet the exploration into said themes was basic and surface level, leaving much to be desired.
Overall, Raya and the Last Dragon is definitely not the easiest Disney Animated movie to connect with, and may not be the most memorable. Some plot development definitely would've helped the movie to soar to higher heights, as well as some sharper dialogue within character interactions. However; the diversity is great, it's visually pleasing, the score is catchy, and the awesome characters turn this into a really likeable watch with a positive overall message. It definitely deserves to reach a larger audience, and is therefore worth the Disney+ fee.