Animation Studios , Raya and the Last Dragon is the latest effort of the production house owned by The Walt Disney Company to diversify the characters and stories presented by the films they release. After Moana (Ron Clements, John Musker, 2016) featuring characters and stories based on history and legends from the Polynesian archipelago, Raya and the Last Dragon is now focusing on characters and stories from Southeast Asia. In terms of storytelling, Raya and the Last Dragonit does not present a narrative system that is so different from other films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Still, with a slick filming , Raya and the Last Dragon is not only able to transform into an entertaining and inspiring presentation typical of other Disney animated films but, at the same time, also has a significance that is so connected to the social and cultural conditions of modern society. at the moment.
Directed by Don Hall ( Big Hero 6 , 2014) and Carlos López Estrada ( Summertime, 2020), opens with a narrative that tells about the harmonious life between humans and dragons in an area called Kumandra. This harmony is disturbed by an evil force known as Druun who absorbs the souls of everyone they approach and turns them to stone. Not wanting human life to end, the dragons then combined their powers into a ball that had magical powers and was able to defeat Druun – although the dragons themselves were turned to stone. The residents of Kumandra were then released from Druun's curse, but the magical power stone left by the dragons became a bone of contention, causing feuds, and splitting Kumandra into five groups: Fang, Heart, Spine, Talon, and Tail.
500 years later, Chief Benja ( Daniel Dae Kim ) who is the leader of the Heart group and is the guardian of the magical orb left by the dragons, attempts to reunite Kumandra by inviting the entire group to meet. The meeting initially went smoothly but an attempted betrayal occurred which caused the magical power orb guarded by Chief Benja to split and revive the evil power of Druun. Immediately, Chief Benja and the people around him turned to stone. Now, six years since the incident, Chief Benja's daughter, Raya ( Kelly Marie Tran), trying to find the fragments of the magical orb in order to put them back together in order to summon the power of the dragons that he hopes can defeat Druun and restore his father's whereabouts.
After its release, Raya and the Last Dragon sparked a lot of talk about how much this film has the ability to present a true representation of the diverse culture of Southeast Asia. Well … Walt Disney Animation's choice to include voice actors who come from or have an affinity with Southeast Asian culture in a non-dominant amount is clearly quite disappointing. Even so, Raya and the Last Dragonhas clearly felt the maximum in presenting a touch of color and atmosphere of storytelling that can represent the countries that are in the region. Indeed, it is difficult to provide a clearer and stronger identification of the cultural representation when this film chooses to fuse the various cultures that come from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, or Vietnam rather than providing opportunities for each color of culture to be present. stand out. Still, a reliable story management is enough to make the cultural representation that this film is trying to present feels so elegant.
Like most other animated films directed by Walt Disney Animation Studios, Raya and the Last Dragon is handled with a theme and storyline that has a familiar impression. It is difficult not to make a comparison between the various characteristics of the story presented by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim ( Crazy Rich Asians , 2018) in this film with a number of characteristics that have been presented in Moana.: a father figure who is the leader of a group, the main character who is a brave woman, a companion figure who has magical powers, to a journey to collect a number of artifacts before completing the actual final task. However, the familiarity of the story does not necessarily make the narrative of Raya and the Last Dragon bored. Hall and Estrada are able to make good use of each characteristic of the story so as to make the journey of the film's story interesting.
The direction given by Hall and Estrada also feels more mature by giving more space for action elements in the film's storyline. It is not surprising that the action scenes in Raya and the Last Dragon that are well worked out will be able to attract the attention of more adult audiences. Giving praise to Walt Disney Animation Studios' ability to present an animated display that is not only able to captivate the eye but also able to support the storytelling atmosphere may not be too crucial. However, as a story exploring the region of Southeast Asia, Raya and the Last Dragonbeing able to present colors is not only pleasing to the eye but also manages to provide a strong representation of the region and culture that is being told. These various technical successes make the story of Raya and the Last Dragon feel so fresh to continue to enjoy.
The story of the journey through which Raya's character along with the accompanying characters must be admitted felt sluggish at the end of the second half of the film. Luckily, Hall and Estrada have Tran and a number of voice talents who are able to bring every character present in the storyline of this film to life. Tran managed to make the figure of Raya that he played so easy to like – appearing full of high energy, smart, but very fun. Awkwafina , who plays a dragon named Sisu who accompanies the journey of Raya's character, also manages to steal attention with every comical moment she successfully executes. Raya and the Last Dragon's voice cast was also strengthened by the appearance of Gemma Chan ,Benedict Wong , and Sandra Oh, who further ensure the solid quality of the presentation of this film as a whole.
- Venom is a shape-shifting alien who will only harm humans. He is also a host to a mysterious, shape-shifting alien called a symbiote.
- When watching its first season two and a half years ago, Disenchantment still seemed to have a hard time finding the tempo.