Raya and The Last Dragon
By Anshika Bansal
Disney has done it once again! One of Disney's most recent movies, Raya and the Last Dragon is magical, yet relevant to today’s world in various means. The main selling point in this movie is that it's the first Disney animated film to feature a Southeast Asian princess.
This movie, in all seriousness, was equal parts funny, charming, empowering, and epic. It has been beautifully visualized, illustrated, and consists of engaging characters. The movie reaches an emotional and thought-provoking climax, which makes it memorable.
The story is a little complex, as stories tend to be. It takes place in Kumandra, an enchanting place inspired by various cultures, and is divided into five kingdoms– Heart, Fang, Spine, Talon, and Tail. Dragons became extinct a long while ago, however, they once roamed the land and served as friendly guardians to all of humanity itself. The magic lives on in a jewel called the dragon gem, which is kept in a cave located in Heart. All the kingdoms gather to form a peace agreement and this leads to a huge fight. The gem shatters into 5 pieces which are spread out all over Kumandra. This leads to an ancient enemy called Drunn to emerge again. Drunn is a terrible plague that turns people to stone. Like in most Disney movies, a hero rises to save the day.
In this movie, it's Raya, a young warrior princess originally from Heart, who is bold and will not stop until she gets what she wants. Raya manages to escape the Drunn, however her father (ba) who’s the leader of Heart isn't as fortunate. This becomes Raya’s main motivation to recover all the gem pieces and reverse the damage. Raya has a bold, adventurous streak in her and is not at all interested in romance, unlike many characters she doesn't have time to sing a song or dance with all the others! Sisu the dragon is funny and charming Andean shape-shift into a human and is the one who has the power to put the gem back together. Raya and Sisu’s journey takes them to all five kingdoms of Kumandra which are each depicted as mysterious and extremely magical scenes. Through the journey, there are many friends made: a boy who makes a hell of a shrimp, a toddler who pickpockets, a crew of monkeys, an evil princess, and more!
This movie reminds me about the concepts of trust, believing in oneself, mutual sacrifices and the power each of our actions have along with how unity can make a huge impact; which I believe is tremendously relevant in today’s world. These concepts that have been known to us for a long time felt so new while watching the movie. In the end, I can truly say, this movie was one of Disney’s best.