Raya and the Last Dragon Review

Hey everyone, sorry for the late post. I wanted to postpone my scheduled Wednesday post until today so I could give my review of this movie, Raya and the Last Dragon.

Raya and the Last Dragon Review

Raya and the Last Dragon Review

So, in general, I don’t really think buying these “early access” or “premier access” or whatever movies are worth it. For that reason, I didn’t buy Mulan when it came out, and we haven’t even watched it since it became available for free on Disney +. However, for this particular movie, my kids were pretty excited about it and I actually wanted to watch it too. My wife and my mother-in-law ended up watching all of it as well.

So then 5 people watching a movie for $30, that’s like $6 a person. That’s reasonable, I guess. Of course, that’s nowhere near as good as when we rent a movie on Redbox for $2 for the kids. I needed to expand my Value Cost Ratio a bit, just for this time.

So how was it?

Well, first of all, I wanted to talk about the expectations for this movie. I think that expectations for any Disney animated movie are always sky high. Raya and the Last Dragon is no exception.

However, upon reading critic reviews, there was a distinct undertone to understanding the racial/cultural influences which were evident in the movie. The movie draws from many different cultures in Southeast Asia while not really favoring any particular one. There has also been some criticism about there not being enough Southeast Asian representation in the voice acting.

Trust me when I say I wish there we was more Southeast Asian representation. My daughter and son never see anyone on screen with a Vietnamese last name. It was great to be able to point out that Kelly Marie Tran in The Last Jedi was Vietnamese, just like them. Additionally, daughter is interested in voice acting and so I was elated when I heard Kelly Marie Tran was going to voice the main character in this movie.

Would I like to see more Southeast Asian voice acting representation?

Of course! Having more voice actors from the Philippines Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and others would be great.

However, this is a big movie and the list of A-list Asian (in particular Southeast Asian) actors/actresses is small. That said, I am hopeful that this will be a step forward.

Could it have been a bigger step? Or a leap?

Sure. It could always be better and we can always ask for more. It would have been nice if Disney had cast some lesser known Southeast Asian voice actors/actresses for more roles, but sometimes it’s ok to just acknowledge the first step(s).

Overall, I really liked that my Southeast Asian heritage was a part of this story. However, let’s just step back and take the movie for what it is:

It’s a story about a grand vision, betrayal, loss of trust, sweeping losses everywhere, unification against a common enemy, and restoration of trust. The central themes of trust and unification are something we really need in this pandemic.

Trust others to do the right thing. Allow people to trust that you will do the right thing. Unite against a common enemy. Together we can beat this.

This movie is great because the story, animation, and acting are all great. The setting just happens to be inspired by Southeast Asia with Southeast Asian characters and cultures — and I think it’s done well. Its presence both enhances the movie and elevates it to the next level.

Be proud of that.

Everyone in my house loved this movie. Please don’t let criticisms revolving around race/culture prevent you from seeing a great movie. Watch it and then decide for yourself.


Just my average joe review on Raya and the Last Dragon.

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