For young (and also grown) grasshoppers thirsty for adventure and lost kingdoms full of fantastic animals.
Direction: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada Cast (voices): Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Geemma Chan, Daniel Dee Kim, Izaac Wang, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh Original Title: Raya and the Last Dragon Country: United States Year: 2021 Date Release date: 03-05-2021 Genre: Animation Script: Qui Nguyen, Adele Lim Synopsis:The film transports us to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together long ago in perfect harmony. But when forces of evil threatened the territory, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same evil forces have returned and Raya, a lone warrior, will have to find the last and legendary dragon to rebuild a destroyed world and reunite her people. However, throughout her adventure, she will understand that it takes more than just the magic of a dragon to save the world – she will also need self-confidence and teamwork.
No romantic plot, princesses to rescue, or musical numbers. But with an infectious adventurous spirit, homages to classics of the genre, and the undeniable punch that, since ‘Wreck It Ralph’ (2012), the study of Mickey Mouse has been able to permeate its most recent animated works. This is how ‘Raya and the last dragon’ comes to theaters – at least to those who will screen it, leaving aside both the controversy of the exhibition windows and the commented role of the studio in these times of pandemic – and also to Disney +, first for rent in its Premium section and, within a few weeks, forming part of the platform’s catalog.
WHEN THE PLANS GO WELL
Controversies aside, the film confirms the good shape of the Burbank company’s drawing division after the swerve that, in those curious synergies of life, started just when Pixar was working on ‘Cars 2′ (2011), one of the few low moments of the study of the flexo. And it does so with a story that without being a show of originality – in fact, the script follows the well-known itinerary of the hero at all times for the enjoyment of the viewer, trained or not in searches or crusades with the aim of recovering cursed relics -, offers moments of intensity and emotion. His three best shots are action (chases, kung-fu fights, and karate to the death in the lost kingdom of Kumandra); a bunch of lucky supporting characters (watch out for little Noi, a baby who steals gems and steals scenes); and a message of empowerment and sisterhood that connects directly with the recent successes of animation made in Disney: the two installments’ Frozen ‘(2013 and 2019), but above all with’ Vaiana ‘(2016) and, predictably, the next’ Charm’. All of the stories starring brave and determined girls who, like the last two films mentioned, dive in and make a foreign imaginary their own. In the case of ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’, the very rich folklore of Southeast Asia, a source from which the visual force of the film flows, and also the attention to the diversity of the proposal. All of the stories starring brave and determined girls who, like the last two films mentioned, dive in and make a foreign imaginary their own. In the case of ‘Raya and the last dragon’, the very rich folklore of Southeast Asia, the source from which the visual force of the film flows, and also the attention to the diversity of the proposal. All of the stories starring brave and determined girls who, like the last two films mentioned, dive in and make a foreign imagination their own. In the case of ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’, the rich folklore of Southeast Asia, the source from which the visual force of the film flows, and also the attention to the diversity of the proposal.
That look to the East, confirmed by the choice of casting in its original version made up entirely of actors and actresses of Asian origin, was already present in the previous work for Disney Animation by Don Hall, co-director here with Carlos López Estrada. Thus, if in ‘Big Hero 6’ it was nourished by the vigor, expressiveness, and fluidity of anime while paying homage to it in a sparkling and brilliant mix, here it shows the vintage martial arts cinema and the epic of the wuxia, both those manufactured in series in the Taiwan and Hong Kong studios since the 70s and the last titles of Zhang Yimou. A stimulating journey was full of visual successes in which the only element that does not reach the expected heights, perhaps because it has frescoes in the memory of Toothless and the rest of the creatures of the DreamWorks franchise, is the dragon Sisu. A direct relative of the Genius of ‘Aladin’ (1991) but without his magic or, sorry, genius, the character of Awkwafina – who is undoubtedly predestined to become a new merchandising hit – acts as a narrative resource but never transcends story. This, and his commitment to training, belongs to Raya. She, and her journey of redemption, knowledge, and learning, are the heart of the film. For every laugh, there must be a tear… And also a kung-fu kick.
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