Disney has their first South Asian Princess as the tale of Raya and the Last Dragon
“Sometimes you just have to take the first step, even if you aren’t ready.” (Sisu)
Disney has their first South Asian Princess as the tale of Raya and the Last Dragon explores a deep Pan Asian legend for fresh eyes. The film also has a stellar cast that pay special homage to the Asian Culture with its casting of Asian voices including Daniel Dae Kim as Ben-ji, Kelly Marie Tran as Raya, Gemma Chan as Namaari, Benedict Wong as Tong and Sandra Oh as Virana.
Raya is on a mission to reunite the five tribes and recreate a world of Kumandra, the dream of her father. It’s a dream that goes back 500 years though it’s not easy as she must go to each of the tribes and find the lost pieces of the dragon gemstones which will help in this harmony. However through this she must also face Namarri from the fiercest nations and the one whom as a child, deceived Raya and caused the broken dragon gemstone which created an even larger rift between the nations.
All of the casting choices added greatly to the authenticity of the film and its story line.
The film has exceptional graphics including hand drawn storyboards which illustrated the history in the beginning of Kumandra and equally added greatly to the awesome animation that created both suspense and drama for a younger audience to understand.
The music by James Newton Howard as well helped set the mood from a sorrow feeling when Raya searching hopelessly for the last dragon Sisu (Awkwafina) to when it builds with excitement when the dragon finally appears. The music also sticks appropriately with the culture as Asian heritage can be heard through just the music itself.
Raya and The Last Dragon came out in theaters and on Disney Plus with Premiere access on Friday March 5, 2021 and brings a Pan Asian Culture to willing hearts and minds. It furthermore shows how the power of unity is much stronger than separation from all who matter in the world.