A-List membership is back in full force, maxing out my held reservations already (tho not yet my weekly movie limit). On this day, it was time to return to the Marina classic. I’d made a decision that I was only going to focus on movies releasing after my triumphant return to the theaters, and I wouldn’t put any real effort into the earlier ones. The BluRay for Raya was even being released this week, and I was gonna allow myself to spend a bit extra on one of my upcoming weekly Best Buy purchases to get it. But hooray for A-List, since this was still playing at the kid friendly theater and I had the time. I even had a freebie popcorn and soda on my account that were expiring soon, so I preordered those to have them waiting for me. My popcorn leftovers fill both my Ralph and Vanellope buckets on my counter.
Continuing Disney’s recent trend of bad ass princesses (which I wholly support), Raya lives in a fantasy land where dragons once roamed the earth inspired by South East Asia. Demon creatures that were the complete antithesis of those life giving dragons invaded, turning everyone they touched to stone. The final surviving dragon used a magical gem to save the realm before she disappeared. Now the gem has been broken, divided up among the now divided kingdom, and it is up to Raya to find the dragon and her gem pieces to reunite the land and ward off the demons. Sounds a little complicated, but it’s really straightfoward.
Really, this movie had me at Awkwafina, the voice of Sisu the dragon. Always adore everything she’s in, and she was perfectly suited for this sweet and trusting creature. I would have gladly watched a 4 hour Sisu cut of just her goofing around. Kelly Marie Tran voiced Raya beautifully, like the princess she deserves to be.
As I mentioned, I love the new route Disney is taking with their princess movies (IMDB tells me this is the first time their princess never wears a skirt). She only happens to be royal, but she’s really a warrior with all the traits that entails. It’s a fun and imaginative adventure that draws gorgeous ideas and imagery from a massively underrepresented culture, because yes, so many bonus points for representation and inclusion. So many steps in the right direction for the mouse, and I can’t wait to see what else they bring.
Raya and the Last Dragon – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/