Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon ★★½

Raya and The Last Dragon had the potential to be something original & special from Disney. Unfortunately, this comes off as nothing more than a half-baked, albeit fun enough i guess, rehash of elements from previous animated works. I mean, this film is literally if you took Avatar: The Last Airbender & Moana, put them in a blender, and did nothing unique with it other than the most surface-level exploration of trust along with a dull quest storyline with weak humor that ruins the tone of the film most of the time, a bad screenplay that contains subpar dialogue and establishes characters that range from bland to annoying (looking at you, Sisu), and inconsistent pacing that hinders the story by offering little to no sense of development for the story or characters, thus resulting in them obtaining mediocre arcs by the end. There are just other films out there that tackle these themes, story, and characters in a much better fashion.

However, there are some elements of the film that prevent me from calling it bad. The animation is some of the best from the Disney company in a while. The textures, attention to detail, colorful lighting, and stunning backgrounds/environments make for one heck of a visual treat. I also think the voice acting is solid work that makes the most out of literally nothing good to work with. The musical score by James Newton Howard is also good work that matches the setting of the film, even if there are other films/shows that utilize this type of score better.

Overall though, i just don’t find Raya and The Last Dragon to be one that i will remember for the rest of the year due to it being a sometimes earnest, but mostly mediocre/borderline OK outing from Disney.

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