Raya is a guardian of the dragon gem in the Heart of Kumandra. The people have been attacked by evil clouds, called druun, that turn people to stone and Raya is seeking out the dragons to save the world. That’s where the movie gets going, twenty minutes in. I would have had more patience for the prologue if the prologue didn’t have a prologue. The first three minutes are a lesson which covers the history of the dragons and druun, unfortunately everything in it is repeated in the next fifteen minutes of the movie. There also seems to be a structural problem where the events of the intro come in direct conflict with the moral of the story to forgive and trust everyone.
The movie starts out as an adventure with light comedic elements, but hits a hard transition to goofy comedy with adventure elements once the titular last dragon shows up. You might like it, but the comedy here is not for me. I found most of it overly silly and occasionally in poor taste and has jarring transitions between funny and serious moments. That combined with dialogue trying to sound like the cool kids made “Raya and the Last Dragon” chafing.
But it wasn’t all bad. The movie looks and sounds great. The voice acting is good and the characters are pretty consistent. The story is very good and the ending climax is meaningful and satisfying. The epilogue throws out all sense of time and distance to get a cool moment, but it feels nice if you don’t think about it.
There is no gore, but there are several fights and, of course, lots of people are turned to stone by nightmare clouds. Although there is no english coarse language there are several obvious stand-ins and lots of name calling and explicit tribalism displayed by both bad guys and good guys.
As I see it, “Raya and the Last Dragon” is a good story poorly told. I give it a 6/10 propped up by a good story and technical prowess. To be honest it’s better than I expected from the trailer, but I came away disappointed because the story could have been turned into a masterpiece film and I think this will be one that most people watch once and forget. The mini-reviewers gave it three of six thumbs up they appreciated the humour more than me, but I hope they don’t ask to watch this one much. There’s a lot of behaviour I don’t want them mimicking.
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