There is no end to human misery because there is no end to Human Greed. We are so blinded by our struggle for power and authority that we are ready to ruin anything that comes our way. Raya and the Last Dragon, the animated film from Disney Studios depicts a broken world created by materialistic humans, just to exhibit their superiority. As a result of which, everyone lives in doom but there is one girl, Raya who is persistently trying to save the world.
Directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, Raya and the Last Dragon is a computer-generated animated film that showcases a folk-tale from the medieval period, filled with dragons and magical elements. The stories of the past are narrated by Raya herself, who talks directly to the audience through the voice-over, thus, simplifying the complicated storyline.
‘Raya And The Last Dragon’ Summary
Kumandra, a fictional territory on earth, is rampaged by an evil spirit called Druun, which turns all living beings into stone. To save the people of Kumandra from the Druun, the dragons of the land concentrated their power into a gem and blasted the Druun away. The Druun went away with gem’s magic but Dragons didn’t come back. Their powers remained trapped in that gem, a handicraft that became a power pursuit for the people of Kumandra. The land got divided into 5 parts, Fang, Heart, Tail, Spine, and Talon, ruled by a different chieftain having different sect of people.
500 years later, Raya’s father Chief Benja who guards the dragon gem, tries to assemble the broken world and invites all the chieftains to make peace with each other. But Namaari, the warrior princess of the Fang Land deceives Raya and tries to steal the dragon gem. In a fight, the gem gets broken and Druun comes back to haunt the people of Kumandra. The broken pieces are taken by different chieftains who flew away to save their lives. In the chaos, Raya’s father is turned into stone but he throws Raya into the water to save her.
In the present, Raya is scouting the rivers to bring back the spirit of the last dragon Sisudata, the fire dragon who was wiped off Druun, 500 years ago. Sisudata is Raya’s last hope to bring back her ba (father). Sisudata does come back to life but the dragon is helpless without the magic of the gem which is broken into five pieces. To fight off Druun, Raya and Sisudata will have to find all the broken pieces of the gem to finally bring peace to the Kumandra.
Unity of Spiders can tie Down a Lion
Thematically, Raya and the Last Dragon explores the strength we have in unity. Raya’s father, Chief Benja believed in harmony from the start and thus it was his ultimate goal to assemble the broken world. However, Raya’s character pursuit is not to bring harmony but bring back her father. She is fueled by an individual goal rather than a collective goal. Due to her selfish pursuit, she is easily irritated and angered by conflicts. The dragon, Sisudata acts as the soulful master to Raya’s conflicted personality. She acts like Yoda to the young Jedi and enlightens Raya with a very basic moral value, that the pursuit of trust, begins with oneself. If you won’t trust anyone or try to believe in them, then how can you expect anyone else to trust you or unite with you?
Raya gives Namaari a chance to correct her errors but in a confusion, Namaari kills Sisudata. Losing all hope to bring back her father, Raya explodes with anger, but once the Druun multiples and takes over, Raya steps back and realizes that she is becoming another version of Namaari by being distrustful. In the end moments, she recalls what her Ba taught her, what Sisudata was trying to convey. Raya drops all her selfish pursuits and hands over the broken piece of gem to Namaari and asks others to do so. Thus, exhibiting a ray of trust which will bring unity to the world, as what you sow, so shall you reap.
“We can still put the gem together. It can still work. By doing one thing that sisu wanted us to do. What my Ba wanted us to do. To finally trust each other and fix this.”Raya
When Raya’s personal pursuit changes into a collective goal for humanity and harmony, she shines brightly. All Disney Movies, often share similar transformations in characters where they go through a test and it gets corrected in their journey. The new self is always bright and inspiring. When that moment plays on screen, the film does bring tears to your eyes.
Through Namaari, the gem gets re-assembled and the dragons come back to life, eradicating Druun with a constant downpour. P.S. Druun’s is like a relentless fire that can’t withstand water. Thus, it is the water dragon, Sisudata who wipes out these evil spirits.
Disney films explore a theme with a message in the end. For Raya and the Last Dragon, it is a celebration of Trust and Harmony. It is a very simple tale that takes you on a sweet ride filled with emotions and cute dragons. The funny one-liners used by sparkling Sisudata are tickling. If you are looking for a subtle treat, do watch the film. You won’t be disappointed.
Raya and the Last Dragon is running in Theatre and available for Video on Demand on Disney+
For more Quality Content, Do visit Digital Mafia Talkies | DMT