“Full of the fictional necessities” A review of Raya and the Last Dragon

June 4th saw the release of Disney’s newest princess from behind it’s Premier Access price tag of $30, and so those of us who are willing to pay the subscription, but not the added pricings, finally got to meet the determined Raya, and the fantasy world of Kumandra.

Audiences are thrown into a whirlwind adventure with titular character Raya (voiced by the insanely talented Kelly Marie Tran) as she attempts to locate the last remaining dragon and ultimately save the world from sludgy demon-like monsters called Druun. Classic Disney story right?

Like more recent “princess” stories, there is no knight in shining armor to rescues her, not even a cute love story which happens by chance and bad weather (I’m looking at you Anna.) The hero of our story is Raya, and she proves this repeatedly through sword skills time and time again.

Alongside the awesome fight scenes though, there is the emotional touch we’re all used to with Disney films. Characters band together in a world fraught with danger, determined to bring back the loved ones they’ve already lost to the Druun. Whether it’s the mischievous toddler and her band of monkeys, the charmingly funny kid of Boun, or the scary-looking warrior chief. All of them just want their families back.

This film isn’t just about Raya and her crazy sword skills though, it’s also about the last remaining dragon in the world- who’s known to us as Sisu. Sisu gives the film this whimsical awe of magic and fantasy. The clumsy, adorable dragon (voiced by the brilliant Awkwafina) gives Raya all the courage and strength to persevere- and achieve the happy ending we expect from a Disney film.

Raya and the Last Dragon follows the trend of the more recent Disney Princess films in that Raya herself isn’t some dolled up damsel in distress. She’s self-sufficient, courageous, and adventurous. No more ballgowns and tiaras, love stories and Princely heroes. Raya’s here to show kids that girls can absolutely do it all!

Raya and the Last Dragon is a great feel-good film full of all the fictional necessities— princesses, dragons and kick-ass swordfights. A feel-good film to make anyone feel nostalgic again for Disney films, along with a well wrote, unpredictable storyline sure to delight viewers of all ages!

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