Last night my family and I decided to watch Raya And The Last Dragon. After we finished, I thought maybe I should write a brief review of the movie. A review of Raya And The Last Dragon can't happen without a few spoilers. I will try and keep them as minimal as possible. No one wants to ruin the movie for you. There are some interesting things to talk about with this movie.
Here we go...
Did I pay the premium price to watch Raya And The Last Dragon on Disney Plus?
The quick answer is yes, I did pay the $30 to watch Raya And The Last Dragon on Disney Plus.
Let me explain why I did that.
When Mulan came out, I thought it was crazy to pay that $30 to watch the movie. I mean, why would I pay to watch it on TV, when I could go to a theater and watch it. I love movies, and I especially love going to the theater to see them. There is magic in that dark room, sharing that experience with a group of people. The problem was when Mulan came out, we couldn't go to the theater. So instead I decided to wait until it was free to stream.
After thinking about that, I realized that if I had gone to the theater with my family of 4, it would have cost A LOT more to see the movie than if I had just paid the $30. And that was just for the tickets. It didn't include the snacks at the theater! Once I thought about all of that money I would spend at the theater, it totally shifted my opinion about paying for premium access on Disney Plus.
While I would still prefer to go to a movie theater, I don't think that the premium access is a bad deal. It allowed my family to see a great new movie in the comfort of our home, for more than half the price of going to the theater. That doesn't mean I am going to stop going to the movie theater. I still love that experience. But it was really nice to sit at home, see a new movie over dinner with my family. We could talk about it as it was happening, and we really enjoyed the experience.
Definitely something I think everyone should consider!
Now On To The Review
Let's get right down to it. I enjoyed Raya And The Last Dragon. I thought it was a fun adventure, with fun characters. And while it may not be the best movie Disney has put out, it is definitely not the worst. We thoroughly enjoyed it (even my 15-year-old!)
That being said, there were some things that a review of Raya And The Last Dragon must include, in my opinion.
First, I am beginning to wonder if Disney can make an animated movie without the loss of a parental figure towards the beginning. I feel like they think that is the only way to pull on our heartstrings. And also the only way to create a need to start out on an adventure. I realize that the loss of Bambi's mother is important, but aren't there other ways to make us care about a character and start them on their journey. I really wish someone at Disney would be daring and try another way to make us care about our hero.
Second, I'm not sure there was a lot of original story work in this movie. I felt it was predictable (as an adult watching it), and that predictability did take away from some of the joy of watching it. I never felt our hero was truly in jeopardy, and at times I actually felt some of her adventures were pretty easy for her to be successful. A little more thought and creativity would have gone a long way. I actually felt that the movie was just a little short. Like they could have added some length to some of those sequences, and it would have really benefitted the movie.
I'm also not sure that everyone was on the same page. At times I felt like "What? What just happened?" Usually, that is because something is thrown in that doesn't really match the tone of energy of the movie. It was something a "committee" decided needed to be in the movie, and maybe even at the very end of the production process.
All of this might lead you to believe that I didn't like the movie. That is not the case at all. I did enjoy the movie. The animation is beautiful! Disney has really come a long way in their computer animation, and I really feel that they keep pushing what is possible. There are some breathtakingly beautiful moments that I will love to see over and over again! Truly a work of art!
I also thought that the voice cast did a wonderful job! Awkwafina as Siso makes the movie! She is perfect in the role. The right amount of sass and humor and heart. Truly a great performance. I also thought that Kelly Marie Tran as Raya was fantastic. She brought a lot of depth to a character that quite honestly could have just been a stereotype. Gemma Chan as Namaari was a great "villain", but not in the traditional sense. She was also human, and sometimes that is a hard thing to do as a voice actor!
Finally, let's talk about the score. I am a musician, and I love Disney music. So much so that I have a podcast dedicated to Disney music (from a fans perspective). The score did it's job. It added the background emotion that you would want in a score. It didn't stand out from the movie, and there was never a moment that I went "Wow! That music is awesome!" Really, that is a scores job, support the movie. But this is a Disney animated movie, and I always want more from the score. I will go back and listen to it again. It is beautiful, there was just nothing that stands out about it. It did it's job.
Overall, I enjoyed Raya And The Last Dragon. And honestly, I will probably watch it again in the future.
Is it worth see...Absolutely!
Is it perfect...No. But I feel like Disney's bar is so high that not everything they do is going to reach it. It is, though, so much better than most of the animated movies out there! (I mean, anything is better than the Croods!)
Let me know what you thought of the movie! Do you agree with me, or disagree? Leave a comment below, and let me know!
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