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Raya and the Last Dragon continues to look just okay

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With only a little over a month before Raya and the Last Dragon releases, it feels like the film snuck up on audiences. The film was originally slated to release last November but was delayed out of the year thanks to the plague being the plague. Still, I find it remarkable that even though there’s barely any time until the film premieres, I’m not all that wowed by its most recent trailer.

The trailer depicts a world that I find fascinating. Inspired by South Asian culture, with its writers being from countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, the world of Raya is a world of fractured alliances that are at war with one another ever since the dragons sacrificed themselves to defeat an ancient evil half a millennia ago. Now that the evil is back and the alliances are gone, Raya, a warrior princess, goes on a quest to find the last dragon, unite the warring tribes, and defeat the resurrected evil being.

That kind of premise is right up my alley, featuring just the right amount of world-building that keeps me interested yet not overburdened. So why isn’t it lighting my world on fire? I can just tell that there’s going to be a lot of forced comic relief here. While Raya, played by Kelly Marie Tran, looks and sounds suitably badass, it looks like she’ll be getting three sidekicks which include a hulking meathead, a smart-mouthed kid, and a sassy baby. Add on to that Sisu, played by Awkwafina, who delivers some real groaners for most of her trailer appearances, and you can see why I’m not all that interested in the film.

Outside of Soul, I’ve become less and less interested in Disney movies since now each film seems to draw itself out from the same playbook, which may have been fresh a decade ago, but now just feel tired. I’m curious to see just how well the movie performs seeing as it will release both in theaters and on Disney+. It is important to note Raya and the Last Dragon will take a page from Mulan’s book and charge $30 to stream the movie on Disney+, thanks to their ridiculous “premier access” garbage. So there’s that.

Raya and the Last Dragon releases March 5, 2021 in theaters and on Disney+.

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.