Raya and the last dragon

Raya and the last dragon
Running time:108 minutes
Director:Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
Release date:05 march 2021
Long ago, in the imaginary kingdom of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived in harmony. But one day, an evil force fell upon the kingdom and the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. When this force reappeared five centuries later, Raya, a lonely warrior, sets out in search of the legendary last dragon to restore harmony in the land of Kumandra, among a people now divided. She begins a long journey in which she discovers that she will need much more than a dragon to save the world, and that trust and mutual aid will be essential to the success of this perilous mission.

Review of Mulder

Raya and the Last Dragon (Raya and the Last Dragon) is the fifty-ninth classic animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios and certainly once again a pure masterpiece, not only because of its animation of immeasurable beauty, but above all to testify to the studio's willingness to constantly renew itself and to offer engaging stories, full of twists and turns, excellent ideas and above all to succeed in getting us from laughter to tears with phenomenal ease. This is Carlos López Estrada's first animated film (Blindspotting (2018)) which he co-directs here with Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) (2011), Big Hero 6)(2014), Moana (2016)). The co-directors Paul Briggs and John Ripa are also co-directors.

In the kingdom of Lumandra on a reinvented Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon who alone will be able to save her kingdom and bring back to life people turned to stone by an obscure force. In her quest and fight against this dark power, she will be helped by Sisu, a clumsy young water dragon who can transform into a human and is the last of his kind in existence, Tog a huge man with a big heart, Boun, a 10-year-old entrepreneur and owner of the "Shrimporium", a boat restaurant, little Noi, a baby crook and his three monkeys, and Tuk Tuk, Raya's best friend and his faithful steed (a kind of huge armadillo). Composed of all kinds of twists and turns, spectacular chase scenes and a bluffing fluidity, fight scenes, Raya and the Last Dragon easily exceeds our expectations to become one of the most beautiful and great animated films we've seen recently.

Far from being an adaptation of a family tale, Raya and the Last Dragon reminds us of those great adventure films that cradled our childhood. By discovering the character of Raya, a cross between a female Indiana Jones and Alita (those who had Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro), we will recognize a warrior with a big heart who is as comfortable in bare-handed combat scenes as she is with a sword. The great strength of Raya and the Last Dragon is to find one's own way while paying homage in a certain way to films that have marked our memory. In the same way, by placing the action in an imaginary country in Southeast Asia (some landscapes will remind us of countries such as Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam), Raya and the Last Dragon is a real change of scenery and especially a very special aura at the moment as we can no longer travel because of a global pandemic. 

Conducted without any time-out, the scenario does not neglect either the psychology of the characters and their humanity and goes as far as explaining the behavior of some characters (we won't say more). It again emphasizes important values such as the fact that appearances are often deceptive and that it is as a team that we can achieve great things. With its different possible reading levels, this film is really geared towards a family audience and will appeal to young and old alike. As such, one scene may worry a very young audience showing an unequal confrontation between our team of heroes and these dark powers.  The Walt Disney Company has understood the public's expectations once again and offers us a roller coaster that will fill us with wonder, make us grab our seats, move us and make us laugh, but above all it will make us have an excellent time. Once again, whether in the original version or in the French version, the dubbing is perfect (special mention for the French version to Emilie Raul (Raya) and Geraldine Nakache (Sisu)).

Raya and the Last Dragon (Raya and the Last Dragon) must be seen in a big movie theater specially to share our laughter and our various feelings when we see this great animated film which shows once again the undeniable know-how of Walt Disney Animation Studios to deliver us great animated films and constantly succeed in renewing itself. 

Raya and the Last Dragon
Directed by Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
Co-directed by Paul Briggs, John Ripa
Produced by Osnat Shurer, Peter Del Vecho
Written by Qui Nguyen, Adele Lim
Starring Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, Izaac Wang
Thalia Tran, Alan Tudyk, Lucille Soong, Patti Harrison, Ross Butler
Music by James Newton Howard
Production companies : Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date: March 5, 2021 (USA), June,4, 2021 (France)
Running time: 108 minutes

Viewed on February 20, 2021 (Disney+ press access)

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