Cinephile Movies

Raya and the Last Dragon (Cinephile #8)



  • Don Hall
  • Carlos Lopez Estrada


  • Osnat Shurer
  • Peter Del Vecho

Screenplay by:

  • Qui Nguyen
  • Adele Lim


  • Kelly Marie Tran
  • Awkwafina
  • Izaac Wang
  • Gemma Chan
  • Daniel Dae Kim
  • Benedict Wong
  • Sandra Oh
  • Thalia Tran
  • Lucille Soong
  • Alan Tudyk

Music by: James Newton Howard

Edit by:

  • Fabienne Rawley
  • Shannon Stein

Production Companies:

  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios

Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Release date:

  • March 3 2021 (Indonesia)
  • March 5 2021(United States)

Running time: 107 minutes

Country: United States

Language: English

IMDb rating: 7.4 / 10

My rating: 10 / 10

Movie Summary

The prosperous land of Kumandra is ravaged by the Druun, evil spirits that attack and petrify the land’s people and dragons. Sisu, the last dragon, concentrates her magic into a gem and banishes the Druun, reviving Kumandra’s people but not the dragons. A power struggle for the orb divides Kumandra’s people into tribes, based on their placement along a giant, dragon-shaped river: Fang, Heart, Spine, Talon, and Tail.

500 years later, Chief Benja of the Heart tribe trains his daughter, Raya, until she finally becomes a guardian of the gem. Firmly believing that the tribes can be united once again, Chief Benja decides to hold a feast for the leadership of all five tribes. During the feast, a power struggle between the five tribes for possession of the gem ensues and the gem is broken thus reawakening the Druun.

Raya’s only hope of saving her father and defeating the Druun is to find Sisu…

Character Development

Raya starts off as a highly trained guardian of the gem who shares her father’s dream of the five tribes uniting into one. It is that belief which prompts the battle for the gem as well as the awakening of the Druun. She subsequently loses her trust of other people and struggles to makes things as they were before out of her guilt for trusting the wrong person. A very dynamic and cynical character she progresses through her journey and learns that she sometimes has to make the first move for others to follow.

Namaari first appears as a very friendly girl with a fascination for dragons. However, we soon learn that this was a manipulative tactic to earn Raya’s trust and fulfill her goal. Quite like Raya she grows into a cynical woman who completely disregards the stories and legends that she adored as a child for a more practical approach in life. But it takes one meeting with a certain dragon to convince her that maybe stories are meant to be real.

The other cast of characters were equally driven with a backstory that explained their evolution into their current shelves. Sisu is the most prominent example as she is nothing the world expected of her and yet every bit the others needed.


The most important theme of the movie is trust. Hard to obtain and very easy to break it plays a crucial role into the decisions the characters make and affects the relationship dynamic between them.

Another great theme is betrayal which is equally tied with trust. How do you trust someone who once betrayed you? Is it possible? Necessary?

Forgiveness and cooperation also play a key role into resolving the conflict and show us that in order for the world to change we have to make the first move.

My Thoughts

Raya and the Last Dragon is a film quite unlike the usual formula that Disney implements in their movies. It lacks the conventional singing and optimistic tone thus portraying a world that feels similar to our own with its misery and egotistical people who seek to fulfill their goals in expense of others. Although grim in some parts it has a fair share of morals that teach us that the key in changing the world lies within us.

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