CULTURE TRUMPET – REVIEW – Raya and the Last Dragon

The last year or so has been incredibly difficult for any film studio. Even the House of Mouse has felt the strain. This new animation flick had already been delayed once due to the pandemic so Disney has decided to release it into theatres and to Disney + simultaneously from the 5th March 2021. If you want to watch it on Disney +’s Premier Access though, it will cost you an additional £19.99.

Let’s see if would have been worth it, shall we?

“Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” travels to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together in harmony long ago. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world — it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.”

Raya and the Last Dragon clocks in at 1h 57m which is quite a long time to keep kids attention. When you think that Frozen 2, an already highly successful and anticipated sequel comes in at 1hr 43m, Raya has it’s work cut out to entertain young audiences for that amount of time.

It’s bright, colourful and the shots are designed to give that sense of Disney wonder and fantasy, but that’s about it. The story is simple for kids to understand but it feels that Disney forgot that adults will watch this with their kids or in fact watch it on their own without as they are fans of Disney Animation. It lacked a deeper undertone and was very much just a good vs. evil story from the off with the evil realising they were good all along and realise they were on the wrong team and therefore as an adult watching this without a child, it was very easy to switch off and not find it that gripping or compelling. However, the horrendously talented Alan Tudyk returns as part of his Disney residency which was a nice suprise.

Frozen 2 (2019) had some great adult comic relief throughout to keep older viewers on their toes and truth be told was just a much better film. Raya and the Last Dragon had a tough act to follow and the obvious shoehorn of cheesy comical jokes just did not live up to the Disney Pedigree. If you spent the £19.99 surcharge to watch Raya and the Last Dragon on Premier Access, you may have been disappointed. Personally, it was worth the wait for it to become free…

Raya and the Last Dragon is now streaming for FREE on Disney + (not an ad) and is out on Blu-Ray, DVD and 4K UHD.

Movie: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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