O@tM: Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

And once again your trusty stuntgirl sacrificed herself and watched a movie … so you don’t have to!

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good.

A sickness goes around in the House of the Mouse these days. Dwindling profits (mostly due to the fucked up LucasFilm/Star Wars division) and a total creative blockade created a fever they are trying to cure … the fear of failing! They even had to remind us that Kumandra is a fantasy world, so that no complains would arise out of south-east Asia. But Raya’s pet is named Tuk Tuk (Alan Tudyk), to make it clear what Kumandra’s really standing in for, or what? 😐

‘Raya’ Is Disney’s First Southeast Asian Princess

So not a fantasy princess from a fantasy world?

And they are fighting against their own fear with all the wrong measures. Instead of getting it right they are just making more mistakes, burning money, losing fans and audiences, making films for nobody!

Ever heard of the term “movie by committee”? Mhm, yes, exactly this is what Raya and the Last Dragon is! 4 directors and 10 screenplay writers are superduper democratic but the outcome is mostly sub par flicks. I prophesize that Raya will bomb. Wanna watch it on Disney+? Pay 30 American $!!! Wanna watch it in the theatre? Good luck. Maybe in America, rest of the world movie houses are mostly still closed I guess.

The work of the committee shows in every scene and every single second of Raya and the Last Dragon. They checked all the boxes, tried really hard to make everything right, waterproofed everything and the result is an inoffensive, goody-two-shoes borer. 😐 Stunning to look at but bloodless and bared of any real emotions.

They set the sparse plot in a fantasy world. Probably to avoid any criticism about cultural appropriation and racism. But it makes us care less about the characters. Instead of following the single vision of a really driven director/auteur, they left all the decisons to a committee of cowardish SJWs.

The plot is paper thin, there are no really bad people that can’t redeem themselves; the heroes are so flawlessly lovely they put you to sleep after 10 minutes. Kelly Marie Tran (the unlucky Rose Tico from Star Wars) did a good job voicing Raya, Awkwafina did an even better one lending her voice to the dragon Sisu. Rest of the cast seemed to have a good time, as always in Disney movies. No complaints about that part of Raya. Everybody was in it and gave it their best shot.

What was really really bad about Raya was its cowardice, its inoffensiveness, its attempt to be a heartfelt warm kiddies- and family flick. Nothing bad about that in the first place but Raya fell flat on its nose. All the characters were totally bereft of any character, everybody was just lovely. There was no suspense, no twists and turns in the story.

I bet my sweet sexy ass that Raya’s gonna bomb with the kidz as well as with the adults! Even James Newton Howard’s musical score was too inoffensive to be remembered.

Disney, hear my last and very honest advice: You gotta take risks! Simple as that. Making movies is an art form, and we still have enough real artists in the business. Making films is no democracy, it’s a singular vision! It may fail, it may succeed. Cance is 50/50. Even better when enough test readers like the script. In any way is the chance to succeed much better than producing middle of the road, boring and cowardish flicks like Raya and the Last Dragon.

CONCLUSION: Raya and the Last Dragon is pedestrian at best. Inoffensive but unpersonal, bereft of feelings, humour and character. It’s just boring. That’s not good enough to dig Disney out of its selfmade hole. 😐

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