Movie Review: Raya and the Last Dragon


Jo Wunderlich, Staff Writer

Raya and the Last Dragon is well worth a watch. While the setup for the movie is complicated, the basic points are as follows: The world used to be a united realm called Kumandra in which humans and dragons thrived together. Then, monsters called the Druun came and the dragons sacrificed themselves to save the humans. Since then, humans have divided into five different kingdoms. In the present day, the Druun are back and Raya must set out on a quest to find the last dragon in the world, Sisu, in the hopes that she can save everyone again. 

The setup of the story feels somewhat rushed. Both the ancient and more recent backstory are complex and take time to explain, but the movie seems to want to get through these as quickly as possible and move on to the main story. 

The movie feels a little dull or predictable, especially in the beginning and middle parts. It feels as if you have seen it before. Some moments and characters feel cliche–a classic villainous plot here, a seemingly mandatory cute animal companion there. Also, the rising action feels redundant as Raya overcomes similar obstacles on each stage of her quest and gains the same things each time.

This movie’s strengths lie in its art and its ending. The animators clearly took advantage of the presence of magic to create visually beautiful and interesting scenes. Even the Druun are cool to look at. While the beginning and middle section of the movie are predictable, the events during and leading up to the climax are unexpected and exciting, and keep you wanting to know what happens next.

Despite its shortcomings in its plot, Raya and the Last Dragon’s beautiful scenes, interesting story, and light tone make it a good movie and a perfect watch for a casual movie night.