Michael’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I wish to join this fellowship of butt-kickery."
- After watching this, I want to tear around the wastelands on a roly-poly dog with a con-baby and a team of monkies.
- Disney did something they rarely do, they told an original story. It isn't based on old fairy tales or stories. But I give it ten years before they do a live-action remake.
- The world they created is phenomenal. The animation is some of the best Disney has done. It felt like a real living and breathing world I could reach out and touch. They are all striking in their own way. Each area that we visit has its own ecosystem, and unique design representing various areas of Asia, and I love it. Which is also represented in the voice actors, all coming from different regions of Asia. The score helps elevate what is on screen as well.
- Kelly Marie Tran undeservingly got scolded by Star Wars fans and then shafted by Disney in the sequel. I feel this was them trying to apologize, but they need to do better. She is a capable actress, and she did a good job bringing Raya to life. I enjoyed the complex relationship between her and the antagonist voiced by Gemma Chan. Daniel Dae Kim will always be Jin to me, but he plays a wise father well. Sandra Oh is elegant in her corrupt ways. And I continue to love Benedict Wong. Since this is Disney animation, Alan Tudyk lends noises again for Tuk Tuk.
- The action was exciting and fun. The fight scenes are well-choreographed, to the point I wouldn't be surprised if they were mo-capped because it was very fluid.
- Man, I really would have drunk in all the visuals if I could have seen this on a big screen. Stupid pandemic.
- Disney only has one speed in all of the history of Disney. Parental trauma. Can't anyone over there think of something new?
- The story is pretty standard. We've seen so many variations of this, I spent most of the time feeling like I had already seen it. The character development was also a bit shallow. While I didn't dislike Raya, I also wasn't very invested in her either.
- The humor clearly wasn't written with me in mind. Most of the jokes fell flat, and I didn't care for modern-day lingo being used. It just didn't sit right. And I'm not yet completely on board with Awkwafina, but I'm getting there.
- I would have liked to have gotten some more backstory on the evil force that is plaguing the land. Even with the information we get, it feels vague.
6.5 out of 10 pieces of fruit jerky