RAYA might lose some points for its narrative being a very familiar shape with key story beats you could sleepwalk between, but it makes up for it by getting the casting right and being one of the most beautiful looking Disney animations of all time. Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) the last of the nation of Kumamdra’s Heart Clan must undertake a quest to reunite the lost shards of a magic gem that will keep a demonic darkness consuming her homeland at bay. Along the way she revives Sisu (Awkwafina) the last elemental dragon and her party of misfit allies grows as her enemies move to stop her. The film’s vibrant and fantastical world combines Cambodian, Thai and other Southeast Asian cultures and fills it with exciting chase and martial arts action sequences and breathtaking imagery. If Disney are to continue avoiding direct adaptations and tell more stories with diverse voices, inventing new fables rooted in specific cultures might just be the way to go. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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