Raya and the Last Dragon: Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada’s animated adventure sports a single-minded but laudable theme, that unity is preferable in the face of adversity. The Southeast Asian fantasy and aesthetics are relatively fresh, and the animation is so stunning that the film is a joy to watch. The protagonist, a strong and determined female, is a good model, even if (or maybe particularly because) she is slightly flawed; the film has a glut of supporting comical characters, but the focus they get doesn’t hinder the film’s pace. Kelly Marie Tran plays the main character well. Awkwafina, naturally, brings some comic energy to the second half of the title. Gemma Chan makes a good antagonist, in many ways a fine counterpart to the protagonist. Character design is stellar, diverse, detailed, and extremely attractive, with a fine array of costumes to complement them. The same can be said about the many environments the film visits, clearly drinking from Southeast Asian architecture.
Pingback: Casting a ballot – 26th Annual ADG Awards | Fifth about The Seventh