Run time: 103 mins
A lone figure blasts across a barren wasteland, riding a single rolling wheel like a Suzuki motorcycle, face masked and emitting full-metal energy — this is our introduction to the hero of Raya and the Last Dragon.
Inspired by South-East Asian mythology, the world of Kumandra is divided into warring factions, and centuries later a power-grab gone wrong brings with it a terrible plague, plunging the kingdom into further ruin. Enter Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) — a lone wolf on a quest to reunite the broken shards of the Dragon Gem (a stone holding the last vestiges of dragon magic), end the plague, and restore Kumandra’s people, her father Benja (Daniel Dae Kim) included. Raya traverses multiple lands, giving the animators an excuse to indulge in expansive scenery, while snappy editing and rousingly choreographed action scenes animate everything with panache.
Veteran Disney director Don Hall (Big Hero 6) delivers an impressively impactful action-adventure that hits harder than typical animated fare. Disney delivers a vibrant fantasy epic with another heroine who feels legitimately revolutionary. Raya rules — bring on the next step in the princess evolution! (Jack Whiting)