|| ''What wouldst thou know, my Queen Raya and the Last Dragon?''
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Raya and the Last Dragon is an American animated film produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It was released on March 5, 2021 and is the 59th animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon.
The film follows Raya, a warrior princess who must find the fabled last dragon in order to save her divided home world from a ravenous plague. Throughout her journey, Raya traverses the various kingdoms of Kumandra, with an eccentric band of misfits by her side. All the while, they must evade the clutches of Raya’s longtime nemesis, Namaari. The setting of Raya and the Last Dragon takes inspiration from Southeast Asian cultures and regions. The titular dragon, Sisu, is modeled after the Nāga, a serpentine race found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. To respectfully pay tribute to the region, the studio established a Southeast Asia Story Trust—a coalition of specialists of various fields, including visual anthropology, linguistics, botany, choreography, architecture, martial artists.
Raya and the Last Dragon released to widespread critical acclaim, with praise directed towards its visuals, characters, world-building, and voice acting (particularly Awkwafina’s performance as Sisu).
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. 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.
Kumandra is a prosperous land rampaged by the Druun, evil spirits that multiply and turn people to stone. The dragons of Kumandra use their remaining magic to create an orb to ward off the Druun and revive everyone, but end up turning to stone themselves. A power struggle for the orb divides the Kumandra people into tribes, based on their placement of a giant river that resembles a dragon: Fang, Heart, Tail, Spine and Talon.
500 years later, Chief Benja of the Heart tribe has been training his daughter Raya to guard the orb while firmly believing that the tribes will be united once again. During a feast among the five tribes, Raya befriends 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 only for the Fang Tribe to make an attempt to steal it. A fight breaks out when the rest of the tribes find out, resulting in the orb's destruction. The Druun suddenly reawaken as each of the tribes steal a piece, with Benja among the casualties.
Six years later, Raya has been searching for the end of a stream to summon Sisu, a dragon said to have created the orb and the only surviving member of her species, to help her recover the missing orb pieces. While in the Tail Tribe's former territory, she finally manages to summon Sisu who admits that she did not create the orb, but can use its powers. They recover the second piece in a ruined Tail temple, granting Sisu shapeshifting powers. They have an encounter with the hostile Namaari and her tribe, but young entrepreneur Boun, who had lost his family to the Druun, arrives and helps them escape. Despite Boun's friendliness, Raya refuses to reveal her quest.
They arrive at Talon to claim the third orb piece, during which, Raya encounters "con baby" Little Noi and her trio of monkey-like companions the Ongis, who adopted her after the Druun killed her mother. After a chase, Raya takes her in, while Sisu goes into town and encounters Talon's chieftess, who threatens her. Raya rescues Sisu and reclaims the third piece, which allows Sisu to spew out fog.
The group arrive at Spine, and Raya and Sisu enter its village where they meet Tong, a fearsome warrior and the village's sole survivor. The rest of the group arrive to warn them of Namaari's arrival. Raya holds her off in a fight while the others escape, with Sisu assisting her. Back at the boat, Raya tells the truth about Sisu to her party and they agree to work together, with Tong handing Spine's orb piece to Sisu, giving her the power over rain.
As they get closer to Fang, Sisu suggests giving them a gift and asking for the final piece, rather than breaking in. When Raya refuses, Sisu takes her back to what is left of Heart and tells of how she was trusted by her siblings to save Kumandra. Raya gives in and decides to give Namaari the dragon pendant as a peace offering to complete her quest. Raya and Sisu meet privately with Namaari, but upon seeing her orb pieces, Namaari threatens them. Sisu tries to talk her down, but gets unintentionally shot by Namaari and falls into a river which begins to dry up.
Fang is attacked by the Druun as Raya enters to confront a grieving Namaari who is mourning the loss of her mother. The two fight while Raya's companions rescue the people from the Druun. Raya prepares to strike down Namaari, but after seeing her remorse, they run help her friends instead. As the Druun advance toward Raya's group, Raya tells them that they need to reassemble the orb, but her friends refuse to forgive Namaari. To show her faith, Raya gives Namaari her piece and allows the Druun to take her. The rest follow suit, with Namaari fixing the orb before the Druun take her. With the orb reassembled, the Druun become vanquished and everyone is brought back to life, including Sisu and the other dragons.
Everyone is now able to reunite with their lost loved ones, with Raya reuniting with her father. The dragons and the tribes then peacefully gather at Heart to celebrate.
- Kelly Marie Tran as Raya
- Awkwafina as Sisu
- Izaac Wang as Boun
- Gemma Chan as Namaari
- Jona Xiao as Young Namaari
- Daniel Dae Kim as Chief Benja
- Benedict Wong as Tong
- Sandra Oh as Virana
- Thalia Tran as Little Noi
- Lucille Soong as Dang Hu
- Alan Tudyk as Tuk Tuk
- Gordon Ip as Merchant #2
- Dichen Lachman as General Atitãya / Spine Warrior
- Patti Harrison as Chief of Tail
- Jon "Dumbfoundead" Park as Chai
- Sung Kang as Dang Hai
- Sierra Katow as Merchant / Fang Officer
- Ross Butler as Chief of Spine
- François Chau as Wayn
- Paul Yen as Merchant #1
Raya and the Last Dragon's development goes back to 2017, when Disney shelved Gigantic, a re-telling of Jack and the Beanstalk that would've taken place in 15th century Spain and focused on the young hero befriending an 11-year-old giantess. The then-untitled animation project had a November 25, 2020 release date announced when Disney revealed its theatrical release plans through 2022.
- Main article: Raya and the Last Dragon (soundtrack)
James Newton Howard composed the score for Raya and the Last Dragon. The film marks the fourth time he has scored an animated film by Walt Disney Animation Studios, having previously composed for Dinosaur, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Treasure Planet. The score was released on February 26, 2021. Jhené Aiko wrote and performed a song for the end-credits, titled "Lead the Way".
Raya and the Last Dragon was originally scheduled to be released on November 25, 2020, but due to the 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic, it was pushed back to March 12, 2021. This was later advanced one week to March 5, 2021, with a simultaneous release on the streaming service Disney+, via paid purchase through its "Premiere Access" service. The film will be made available to all subscribers of Disney+ regardless of a separate purchase on June 4, 2021. The film was blacked out by Cinemark, which operates 345 theaters in the United States and is the third largest theater chain in the United States, as well as Harkins Theatres, the fifth largest chain. Neither company chose to comment on their decision. Additionally, Regal Cinemas, the second largest chain, remained entirely closed during the film's opening weekend.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 95% of 210 critics have given the film a positive review, with an average rating of 7.70/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Another gorgeously animated, skillfully voiced entry in the Disney canon, Raya and the Last Dragon continues the studio's increased representation while reaffirming that its classic formula is just as reliable as ever." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Blacked out by two major theater chains, the film grossed $8.6 million in its opening weekend in the United States and Canada. The figure includes only box-office data and not paid purchases via Disney+, data for which was not released by Disney.
- Raya and The Last Dragon is Walt Disney Animation Studios' first original animated film since 2016's Moana.
- This film is the first one of the Disney Animated Canon that was both produced and released during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The third Walt Disney Animation Studios film to have 12 minutes of end credits, after Zootopia and Frozen II.
- The third Walt Disney Animation Studios film to feature the full 2011 Disney logo as a closing logo, after Moana and Frozen II.
- The ninth Disney film to feature the full 2011 Disney logo as a closing logo, after Finding Dory, Moana, Cars 3, Coco, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, Frozen II and Soul.
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- "Raya and the Last Dragon: Creating Disney's First Southeast Asian-Centered Movie". IGN. Retrieved on March 1, 2021.
- "Raya and the Last Dragon: Creating Disney's First Southeast Asian-Centered Movie". IGN. Retrieved on February 4, 2021.
- "Disney Moves Soul, Raya and the Last Dragon Release Dates". TheWrap. Retrieved on April 15, 2020.
- Keane, Sean (February 5, 2021). "Raya and the Last Dragon to come out from behind Disney Plus paywall June 4". CNET. Retrieved on February 6, 2021.
- Watson, R.T. (March 7, 2021). "Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Undercut Without Cinemark". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved on March 7, 2021.