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Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon, produced by Disney Studios and directed by Don Hall and Carrlos Lopez Estrada, is an animated fantasy action-adventure film, based on traditional Southeast Asian cultures. The film’s screenplay was written by Adele Lim and Qui Nguyen, and it stars the voices of Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Izaac Wang, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh and Benedict Wong. It tells the story of a warrior princess who is on a quest to find the last dragon, in the hopes of restoring the dragon gem that would cast out the Druun, the evil spirits, from the land of Kumandra.

The land of Kumandra is ravaged by evil spirits called the Drunn that turn people and dragons to stone. Sisu, the last dragon, banishes the Drunn with her magic gem, bringing the people of Kumandra back to life, but not the dragons. Kumandra’s people fight for control of the gem, and is eventually divided into five tribes called Fang, Heart, Spine, Talon and Tail. The Heart tribe gets to keep the gem. Five hundred years later, Chief Benja of the Heart tribe instructs his daughter Raya on how to protect the gem. In an effort to reunite the five tribes, Chief Benja holds a feast for the tribe leaders, during which Raya befriends Namaari, the daughter of the Fang tribe chief. Namaari tricks Raya into showing her the gem’s location, and a fight for the gem ensues, during which the gem breaks into five pieces. Each of the tribes steals a piece of the gem, but the Drunn is awakened, and petrifies the people of Kumandra again. Raya survives this catastrophe and goes on a trek to find Sisu to create another gem to banish the Drunn again. She finds Sisu, and together, they go on a quest find the other four pieces of the broken gem. En route, they encounter Namaari, who kills Sisu. Raya prepares to fight with Namaari, but later makes her an ally in the battle against the Drunn. She hands over her gem piece to Namaari, who is now able to assemble all the pieces of the original dragon gem. The Drunn are vanquished, and the people of Kumandra are revived. The tribes gather at the Heart to reunite, and thus the land of Kumandra is saved.

Raya and the Last dragon features Disney’s first Southeast Asian Princess, and Kumandra, according to Disney, is inspired by Southeast Asian cultures. Thus, the film is a milestone moment for Southeast Asian representation in Hollywood, and is a cause for celebration in Asian communities around the world.

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