A Druun on Society


Raya and the Last Dragon – Beth and I had watched all of Walt Disney Animation Studios films, then last year we fell behind. We finally got around to watching this one last night. It takes place in a Southeast Asian fantasy land, and has a lot of voice actors of Asian heritage. When the Druun, a spirit of mistrust, turned a lot of the people to stone, the water-providing dragons did their best to drive off the monster, with only one surviving and the power of the others contained in a gem. The land is divided into five separate kingdoms, each one named after a dragon body part. 500 years later, Namaari, the daughter of the chief of Fang, tricks Raya, daughter of the Heart chief, to try to steal the gem, which ends up breaking into five pieces and further ruining the land. A few years later, Raya finds the last dragon, Sisu, who’s voiced by Awkwafina. I don’t know much about her, but I’ve seen complaints that she’s an Asian-American who appropriates Black culture. I can kind of hear it in some of her speech patterns, but I’m a pretty clueless white guy, so it’s not my call. I thought her performance as the dragon was mostly just goofy and a little raspy. She’s the funny, talky sidekick character, as Raya’s pet giant beetle creature, Tuk Tuk, is the animal friend. It’s pretty typical Disney in that respect. Beth commented that Sisu seems to have been designed to make a good toy. The plot is pretty straightforward, and has the general theme of trust being necessary to keep people together. It’s a valid point, but at the same time, there really are some people who are just generally untrustworthy, aren’t there? Maybe it’s more about not just assuming that others have bad intentions. Raya gathers a group of people who have lost loved ones to the Druun, including a boy who pilots a ferry and cooks, a baby, and a warrior.

When everyone is willing to work together and trust one another, it results in the Druun being banished and the stone dragons and people being restored. I liked the visual of the dragons moving through the air by means of water platforms, and the idea that each one had a particular magical power.

I guess the next one to watch is Encanto, so I can finally find out why we don’t talk about Bruno. I suspect it’s the first rule of Bruno Club. But I think we’ll watch Pixar’s Luca before that, since it did come first.

This entry was posted in Animals, Cartoons, Chinese, Humor, Magic, Monsters, Mythology, Revisiting Disney, VoVat Goes to the Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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