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Josh Moeller
Josh Moeller

Raya And The Last Dragon ((BETTER))

Raya and the Last Dragon (/ˈraɪ.ə/ RYE-ə) is a 2021 American computer-animated fantasy action-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The 59th film produced by the studio, it was directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, and produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho. The screenplay was written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim, both of whom also wrote the story with Hall, Estrada, Paul Briggs, John Ripa, Kiel Murray, and Dean Wellins, based on story ideas by Bradley Raymond and additional story contributions by Helen Kalafatic. Featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Thalia Tran, Lucille Soong, and Alan Tudyk, Raya and the Last Dragon is about the titular warrior princess, Raya (Tran). She seeks out the fabled last dragon (Awkwafina), hoping to restore the dragon gem that would bring back her father (Dae Kim) and banish the evil spirits known as the Druun from the land of Kumandra.

Raya and the Last Dragon

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures had planned to release Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters in the United States on November 25, 2020, but the movie was delayed to March 5, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was simultaneously available on Disney+ Premier Access as a result of the pandemic's effects on movie theaters. The film became the third most streamed movie title of 2021,[3] and has grossed over $130 million worldwide (not including its Disney+ Premier Access revenue). It received positive reviews from critics, who praised the animation, the female empowerment, craftsmanship, visuals, action sequences, characters and voice acting, but criticized its lack of Southeast Asian representation in the cast, over-engineered narrative, the portrayal of the message of trust and anachronistic humor. The film received various accolades, including a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards, and was nominated in the same category at the 79th Golden Globe Awards. However, it lost both awards to Encanto, another Walt Disney Animation Studios film. Raya and the Last Dragon also led the 49th Annie Awards with ten nominations, but did not win in any of the categories nominated.

Five hundred years ago, the peaceful and prosperous sub-continent of Kumandra is ravaged by the Druun, mindless purple-and-black-colored spirits that turn every living thing in their path to stone. Sisu, the last surviving dragon, is given her siblings' magic which was placed in a gem. She concentrates her magic into the gem and blasts the Druun away, reviving Kumandra's people but not its dragons. A power struggle for the gem divides Kumandra's people into five separate chiefdoms called Fang, Heart, Spine, Talon, and Tail, corresponding to their placement along a gigantic dragon-shaped river.[4]

In the present, Chief Benja of the Heart tribe, which ends up retaining possession of the dragon gem, trains his daughter, young warrior princess Raya to protect the gem. Firmly believing Kumandra can be reunited, Benja holds a feast for the leadership of all five tribes. During the feast, Raya befriends Namaari, daughter of Chief Virana of the Fang tribe and Fang's princess, who gives Raya a dragon pendant and tells her of a legend that says the dragon Sisu still exists and can be summoned through the power of the gem. Trusting Namaari, Raya shows her the gem's chamber. Namaari betrays Raya as part of a plot to help Fang steal the gem. Alerted to the attack, Benja and the other tribes arrive and start fighting over the gem, breaking it into five pieces in the scuffle. The gem's destruction creates a fissure which releases the Druun once more, quickly overtaking the Land of Heart. As every tribe leader steals a piece of the gem and flees, Benja notices that the Druun are repelled by water and sacrifices himself to save Raya's life by throwing her in the river before getting turned to stone by the Druun.

500 years prior, Kumandra was a prosperous land when evil spirits called the Druun began to ravage everything. They absorbed souls, turning those into stone. Eventually, the dragons of Kumandra used what was left of their magic to create an orb that warded off the Druun and restored everyone to life, except the dragons who remained turned to stone. The people all wanted the orb's power, which ultimately divided them into tribes based on their placement of a giant river made to resemble a dragon: Fang, Heart, Tail, Spine, and Talon. Heart Tribe acquired the orb and has been guarding it ever since.

500 years later, Chief Benja of the Heart Tribe has been training his daughter Raya to guard the orb. Despite this, he still believes that all the nations will set aside their differences and become Kumandra again. He resolves to invite all the nations over for a feast. Raya ends up befriending the daughter of Chief Virana of the Fang Tribe, Namaari, due to their shared interest in dragons. Namaari gives Raya a dragon pendant, and she, in turn, shows her the location of the orb. However, Namaari betrays Raya, and soon the Fang Tribe attempt to steal the orb. The rest of the tribes find out, and a fight breaks out, resulting in the orb smashing to pieces. The Druun suddenly reawaken as each of the tribes steal a piece. Raya tries to rescue Benja, but he tells her to flee with the piece she has as he turns to stone.

Six years later, Raya has been searching for the end of a stream to summon Sisu, the dragon who supposedly created the orb and the only surviving member of the species, to help her recover the missing orb pieces. She ends up in what is left of the desert-like Tail Tribe and manages to summon Sisu. She admits that she did not create the orb and that her older siblings did, but finds that she can use their powers when she holds onto a piece. They find what is left of the Tail Temple and recover the second piece, with Sisu now gaining the ability to turn into a human. They encounter Namaari and her tribe, but the two manage to escape on a boat driven by a young entrepreneur named Boun, who had lost his family to the Druun. Despite Boun being friendly, Raya refuses to divulge that Sisu is a dragon, nor tell him of her quest, confusing Sisu.

The group arrives at the Spine Tribe with Raya and Sisu attempting to enter the village. They are caught by Tong, a fearsome warrior who actually does not know what to do with them. Their friends break in and free them, where they are informed of Namaari's arrival. Realizing Tong is the only survivor of Spine, Raya pleads with him to assist her friends to escape while she stalls Namaari. Raya engages in a fight with Namaari and is almost defeated. However, Sisu reverts to her dragon form and fends off Namaari and the Fang Tribe. Before leaving, Namaari is moved by the appearance of Sisu. She returns to Virana to tell her, but she instead demands that she reclaim the pieces and the dragon as she fears that the other tribes will try to take what they have. Back at the boat, Raya finally comes clean to her party about Sisu, and they agree to work together with Tong giving the orb piece he had been guarding and allowing Sisu to gain the ability to summon the rains.

As they get close to the Fang Tribe, Raya suggests breaking in to reclaim the final piece, but Sisu suggests giving them a gift and asking it back. When Raya refuses, Sisu takes her back to what is left of the Heart Tribe and reveals the fate of her siblings. While Sisu did not create the orb, her siblings trusted her enough to do the right thing with it. Raya gives in and decides to give Namaari the dragon pendant as a piece offering so that she can rejoin the rest of the orb pieces. Raya and Sisu meet privately with Namaari, but as soon as she shows the remainder of the orb pieces, Namaari holds a crossbow to them. Sisu tries to talk her down, but Raya, sensing that Namaari will shoot, attacks her, causing Sisu to get hit by the arrow and falls into a river. Namaari flees as the water, which protected the Fang Tribe against the Druun, begins to recede.

The dragons are also brought back to life as they revive Sisu, who thanks Raya for trusting others. Everyone returns to their significant others as Raya returns home to be reunited with Benja. She introduces him to Sisu as all the tribes come together peacefully to celebrate.

Parents need to know that Raya and the Last Dragon is an animated Disney adventure about a warrior princess on a mission. Set in the fictional land of Kumandra, which is based on real Southeast Asian cultures (including Thai, Malay, and Vietnamese), the movie follows Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran), who for years has tried to find a way to reverse a scary, curse-like plague known as the Druun, which takes the form of relentless purple-and-black blob monsters and turns anyone it touches into stone. Awkwafina co-stars as the voice of Sisu, the last surviving dragon, whom Raya recruits to help in her quest. Grief is a major theme of the movie, and several characters talk about the loved ones taken by the Druun, including children who've lost parents and entire families. Scary sequences involve characters fleeing for their lives from various dangerous situations, including both human enemies and the Druun. There are intense close-up fights with swords/blades, and a skeleton is visible in one sequence. In another scene (spoiler alert), a main character is struck by an arrow and presumed dead. In one very emotional scene, characters willingly sacrifice themselves to the Druun; young viewers may believe they're dead. The movie emphasizes the importance of trusting others and overcoming prejudice to find common ground. And Raya is a standout role model who exhibits courage, teamwork, and perseverance.

RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON begins with Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) narrating the history of Kumandra, a once prosperous land where powerful dragons co-existed with humans until the Druun, a plague-like enemy that manifests as relentless purple-and-black blob monsters, started turning everyone to stone. The dragons fought together to save humanity but eventually they, too, were lost -- except for Sisu, who concentrated all of the dragons' power into an all-powerful gem and defeated the Druun. Her action revived all of the humans, but the dragons remained suspended in stone ... except, legend says, for Sisu. Years later, Kumandra has fragmented into five regions -- Heart, Tail, Talon, Spine, and Fang -- who are hostile to and suspicious of each other. Raya, the princess of Heart (which is where Sisu's gem is kept), and her father, Chief Benja (Daniel Dae Kim), invite the leaders of the other regions to Heart for a peace summit. But it turns into an all-out war when the Fang leader (Sandra Oh) and her daughter (Gemma Chan) make a play for Sisu's gem. It breaks into five pieces (each of which is swiped by one of the leaders), unleashing the Druun, which turn Chief Benja into stone. Six years later, Raya and her beloved sidekick Tuk Tuk (Alan Tudyk), a giant pill bug, are on a mission to find Sisu and reunite the gem pieces. They succeed in finding Sisu (Awkwafina), who's sassy, sweet, and optimistic. Together they travel to the rest of Kumandra's regions, teaming up with locals from each as they work to stop the Druun once and for all. 041b061a72


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