If this world had any justice, we'd all be getting ready to see Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon when it was originally set to be released next month. We would have already seen the first trailer, and the hype would be getting serious. Unfortunately, circumstances have determined that we'll all need to wait until next year to see the finished film, but we finally have our first real look at the movie with its first trailer and it checks all the boxes for a modern Disney heroine. Raya kicks ass, the animation looks amazing, and she's got a cute animal sidekick. What else do you even need?
As seen in the trailer above, we meet Raya and her little friend Tuk-Tuk moving through some sort of temple, avoiding traps, and working her way to a Dragon Gem. It appears that this sequence is part of her training, something that Raya, voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, explains in voice-over. At the end of the trailer, however, Raya is on a quest for the actual Last Dragon, and Tuk-Tuk is no longer cute and cuddly, but a massive thing that has become Raya's mount. Has he been magically enhanced? Has he just grown quite a lot over a few years' time?
According to the plot synopsis that's been released, in the world of Raya and the Last Dragon, dragons and humans used to live together, but dragons sacrificed themselves 500 years ago to save humanity. Now, the same evil that destroyed the dragons is back and Raya must seek out the Last Dragon in order to stop it. Awkwafina will voice the dragon whose name is Sisu. The last time a Disney heroine went on an epic quest to save the world we got the excellent Moana. If we're in for another story on that level, this one is going to be something special.
Raya and the Last Dragon looks amazing. The animation is great. The music is suitably epic. The movie looks to be more action-oriented than other Walt Disney Animation Studios efforts, but there's also solid humor here so this one doesn't look like it will get too serious and will still be suitable for the entire family to enjoy together.
Originally, Raya and the Last Dragon was going to be the traditional Disney Thanksgiving weekend release for 2020. Unfortunately, a virus had other plans. Raya was pushed back to March 12, 2021, and Pixar's Soul was given the Thanksgiving Weekend date, before it got pushed back itself to Christmas Day, and to Disney+.
Raya and the Last Dragon certainly feels like a movie that belongs on the big screen, so we can only hope that by next March that option is back on the table.