Raya and the Last Dragon features beautiful scenes

Kaline Martinez, Editor

Raya and the Last Dragon takes place in Kumandra, an enchanted realm inspired by various Southeast Asian cultures and divided into five kingdoms named after a dragon’s body parts: Heart, Fang, Spine, Talon and Tail. 

Before they became extinct, dragons once roamed the land and served as friendly guardians to civilians and humanity. Their magic lives on in a jewel called the Dragon Gem, which was ultimately kept in a cave in Heart, but the other four kingdoms covet its mighty powers. 

The King of Heart invites the four kingdoms to come together and try to reach a peace agreement, but a fight breaks out and the gem shatters into five pieces that are scattered across Kumandra. This opens the doorway to an ancient enemy called the Druun, a terrible plague that turns people to stone. 

Naturally, a hero rises, her name is Raya and she’s a young warrior princess from Heart. Raya manages to escape the Druun, though she loses her father to the Druun. Raya must now recover the pieces of the Dragon Gem, reverse the damage and banish the Druun for good. 

Raya and the Last Dragon is the first Disney animated film to feature Southeast Asian characters. The movie emphasizes the importance of trusting others and overcoming prejudice to find common ground. The lessons learned throughout the movie aren’t exactly new, but it makes you feel like you’re learning them for the first time. 

The movie was directed by the Disney veteran Don Hall and the animation newcomer Carlos Lopez Estrada, they bring us into a fantasy world that has been beautifully visualized and populated with engaging characters.