Thinking of streaming Disney's 'Raya and the Last Dragon?' You won't be disappointed.

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News

'Raya and the Last Dragon' is streaming for free for Disney Plus subscribers

“Raya and the Last Dragon" is a well-crafted Disney animated film that should entertain the entire family. 

I watched it with my wife, 7-year-old daughter, and in-laws, and everyone had a blast, especially my child, who sat enthralled throughout. I knew she really liked it when she told me she wanted to own it and started to play the soundtrack in her room shortly after watching the films. 

The film is full of wonderful animation and visuals, an engaging story, great action, well-rounded characters and is enjoyable and executed well from start to finish. It is a gem of a film. 

Bill Choy.

“Raya and the Last Dragon “ tells the story of the mystical land of Kumandra, which was once terrorized by the Druun, evil spirits that attack and petrify the land's people as things look pretty bleak. But there are dragons that come to the rescue. As her dragon brothers and sisters are being petrified, Sisu, the last dragon, thanks to a magic gem banishes the Druun, reviving Kumandra's people but not the dragons, as she goes missing. Instead of being grateful for the dragons saving them at great cost, the people of the land become divided and are separated into five tribes, based on their placement along a giant, dragon-shaped river: Fang, Heart, Spine, Talon, and Tail. 

Disney's "Raya and the Last Dragon" is held over at the Story Theater and will be shown Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

A long time passes – 500 years to be exact when our hero Raya comes into the tale. Her father is Benja the Chief of the Heart Tribem which protects the gem. Chief Benka believes with all his heart that the tribes can be united once again. He invites the leaders of all five tribes for a feast. During the feast, Raya befriends the daughter of Chief Virana of the Fang tribe, Namaari. Thinking she’s made a new friend and shows her the location of the gem. Namaari, betrays Raya, as she and her mother want the gem for their own people. Well, a scuffle takes place and the gem is destroyed, which reawakens the Druun , who start petrifying people, including Benka. 

Six years later, we discover that Raya has been in a desperate search on the potential location of where Sisu might be lying dormant. So, Raya, finds the location using a stolen map belonging to the Fang tribe and summons Sisu, who she believes can bring things back to order and restore the people that have been petrified, including her father. 

Young Raya looks up to her beloved father Benja, Chief of the Heart Lands. Benja, the legendary Guardian of the Dragon Gem, is an idealistic and bold visionary who seeks to reunite the fractured kingdom of Kumandra and restore harmony. Featuring Daniel Dae Kim as the voice of Chief Benja, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” will be in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on March 5, 2021. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Sisu, who is a funny and odd dragon and not at all what Raya expects, tells her that she did not create the orb but only used it on behalf of her siblings and can gain her siblings' powers when she touches its pieces. 

They go about trying to recover the missing orb pieces pursued by Namaari and her tribesmen. Along the way, they are befriended by a variety of colorful characters, including a toddler con artist and her three monkey like friends, a young restauranteur Boun, who lost his family to the Druun, and Tong, a fearsome warrior, who is actually a softy with a sad backstory. 

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The story is well crafted and engaging. I like the world that is created and how culturally distinct it all is using different Asian cultures, mainly southeast Asian, to form a unique and fully formed world.  

The voice cast is top-notch. Kelly MarieTran makes a wonderful Raya and is fierce, compassionate, and brave heroine who is relatable. Awkwafina is fun and witty as Sisu and has some of the films best lines and had be laughing out loud throughout. She brings wonderfully odd energy and quirkiness to the part.  Gemma Chan is great as Namaari, who is not a conventional villain but is much more complex and three-dimensional. 

All in all “Raya and the Last Dragon” is a terrific film that is without a doubt worth watching. I will most certainly be watching it again. Knowing my daughter, we will be watching it a lot over the summer. Honestly, some of the other films she likes I get a bit tired of watching it again and again. This one, on the other hand, I am more than fine with repeated viewings. It’s certainly a film I think will be right up there with other Disney animated classics. It’s that good. 

Grade: A+

“Raya and the Last Dragon” is now streaming on Disney Plus. 

Rated PG for some violence, action and thematic elements. 

Running time: 1 hour and 47 minutes 

“Raya and the Last Dragon” is now streaming on Disney Plus. 

Rated PG for some violence, action and thematic elements. 

Running time: 1 hour and 47 minutes