Raya and the Last Dragon Movie Review

A bit of a new one for the blog, but it's a series I've been wanting to start for a long time! You may or may not know that I am absolutely obsessed with films. I often do film reviews on my InstaStories, but I thought it would be a fun idea to start posting them on the blog too! It's a topic I'm really passionate about, and I'm usually lucky enough to be given early access to new films, so it just made sense that the reviews became a thing. 

My most recent watching experience was Raya and the Last Dragon - the brand new release from Disney Animation Studios. I've been so excited for this movie for a number of reasons - the main one being that it's a brand new, original story which we haven't had for a while. While I love Frozen 2 and some of the other sequels, the original stories are really where it's at for me. I love being able to immerse myself in a new world with new characters to love. 

*Disclaimer! I was given early release press access to this movie. There will be no spoilers in this review.*

So, how did it hold up? Well, I for one absolutely loved this movie. I'd say it's the best Disney Animation Studios film since Moana. 

The animation is absolutely stunning, as you would expect from Disney! I absolutely adored the fight sequences, they felt really impactful, beautifully directed and felt like there was a real threat there. I loved that the characters didn't feel invincible, with some scenes where it felt like Raya may actually get totally beaten. 

I absolutely loved the character of Raya who is Disney's newest princess. Of course, she's a total badass and wields a sword like a pro, but she definitely has some wonderful character beneath that too which stops her from turning into a Mary Sue type. She's a flawed individual who makes mistakes and you can tell that she has been through trauma. As I mentioned before, she didn't feel like some magical, invincible warrior like Mulan in the live action remake, it felt like she was really fighting the whole time. 

The world building was also excellent considering the run time of the movie. I felt very immersed in the culture and style of this fictional universe. A lot of the main inspiration comes from Thailand and as I visited there last year it was really lovely to see how those real cultural elements were blended with the more mythological ones. I saw a lot of criticism of the animation of the dragons in this movie but I actually really liked it. Sisu takes a few forms in this movie and I really liked those as well.  

My main criticism of the movie would be that the main message is a little heavy handed when I don't think it needed to be. It's clear from the start what the moral of the story is, yet the characters feel the need to repeat it over and over again, they must have said it about 20 times! I sometimes feel like Disney don't trust children to understand the moral, so they repeat it to get it through to them, when really it's not necessary. I think if the theme had been a bit more subtle then the movie would have really benefited from this. 

Overall I would give this movie an 8.5 out of 10. It wasn't a flawless movie and I think there were areas where it could have been improved, but overall I had a really good time and would definitely rewatch it. I hope this movie gets good feedback because I do truly believe that we should be supporting these original movies to show big film companies that these are the ideas we want to see, not just remakes. 

You can watch Raya and the Last Dragon NOW on Disney+ Premiere access. It costs £20 in the UK to watch it (on top of your normal Disney+ subscription). 

Let me know if you've watched the movie yet and your thoughts in the comments! x