Walt Disney Animation Studios’ epic adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon” has arrived! Now available on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD starting **TODAY**, you can enjoy never-before-seen bonus footage and deleted scenes from your home!
In full disclosure, my family was so excited we were sent a copy of this to review. We had not seen the film as we were anxiously awaiting the Blu-ray release. We love watching the special features these releases offer. I promise to keep this spoiler free as much as possible. So, let’s get started!
Just so we are all on the same page, here is the official movie description…
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But 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, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world—it’s going to take trust as well. From directors Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, co-directors Paul Briggs and John Ripa, producers Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho, the film features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu.
Raya and the Last Dragon is Unique
There are so many ways this movie sets itself apart from other Disney movies. Raya is a princess, but not your typical Princess. Raya is a warrior. One might even label her as a super hero. While she does not possess actual super hero “powers,” her strength and dedication could definitely be considered her “super power.” This movie highlights a strong Asian female role model, without any “love” interest. It’s refreshing to have a story that does not involve any sort of adult theme, language or excessive violence.
It’s so easy to relate to Raya while she deals with real world problems in her fantasy world. Undertones of politics, injustice and betrayal are prevalent. Raya deals with these problems the best a 16 year old can, without a song, dance or fairy godmother. Well, she does have a dragon and Tuk Tuk, but you will just have to trust me on this one…it’s different.
Can you believe that Raya and the Last Dragon was made entirely at home during the pandemic? This is the first Disney movie to be created by over 450 animators in their homes. This posed many challenges for the animators, who are used to collaborating in person. Be sure to watch the end credits for a special nod to these animators.
Raya and the Last Dragon is Beautiful
Raya and the Last Dragon takes place in the fictional world of Kumandra. The visuals that accompany this movie are breathtaking. The colors are vibrant, the details are intense. When Raya is walking through the desert, you almost feel the heat. But would you expect any less from a Disney movie? Animators continue to make each movie better than the one before.
I always love a movie with a great take-away. In Raya and the Last Dragon, Raya has lost everything, including the ability to trust.
Raya: The world is broken. You can’t trust anyone.
Sisu: Maybe it’s broken because you don’t trust anyone. You just have to take the first step.
It’s really hard to have unity without trust. Raya learns that in order to trust, you simply have to take a chance and trust. The relationship between Raya and Sisu is very important. It’s a beautiful lesson and a perfect opportunity for family discussions afterwards.
I love bonus features, and this Blu-ray/DVD does not disappoint. Bonus features can enhance the experience. Take a look at all that is offered:
- An Introduction to “Us Again” – Director Zach Parrish takes you behind the scenes of the Walt Disney Animation Studios short.
- “Us Again” – An elderly man and his young-at-heart wife rekindle their passion for life on one magical night.
- Taste of Raya – Dine along with Kelly Marie Tran and the film’s creative team–virtually–over a Southeast Asian menu inspired by the countries that influenced the film as they discuss their experiences creating the world of Kumandra.
- Raya: Bringing it Home – When the global pandemic of 2020 hit, production of “Raya and the Last Dragon” moved to the houses of over 450 people. We open a window into their lives and learn how they overcame massive obstacles to make an animated feature from home.
- Martial Artists – Get a kick out of learning about the martial art forms and weapons used in the film as co-screenwriter Qui Nguyen and visual anthropologist Dr. S. Steve Arounsack share the inspiration behind the film’s action-packed elements.
- We are Kumandra – Meet members of the Southeast Asia Story Trust and discover the cultural influences that inspired the film…and how important this representation in a Disney animated film is to the people of the region.
- Outtakes – Step into the homes and behind the mics of the cast of “Raya and the Last Dragon” as they experience voice-over sessions in closets and shaky internet connections, which made recording this film unlike any other.
- Fun Facts & Easter Eggs – Take a look at some of the hidden surprises and behind-the-scenes secrets of “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
- The Story Behind the Storyboard with John Ripa – Co-Director John Ripa invites you to get an inside look at his thought process as he pitches a storyboard sequence from the film and talks about his amazing career with Disney Animation.
- Deleted Scenes:
- Introduction – Head of Story Fawn Veerasunthorn introduces deleted scenes from “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
- The Bridge – Raya confronts an early version of the Druun in this deleted storyboard sequence.
- Escaping Namaari – See an early version sequence of an introduction to Namaari as an adult.
- Dragon Blade – Discover an early version of Raya’s sword, when it used to have magical powers.
- Meet Boun – Meet an early version of Boun before he was a chef and shrimp boat captain.
- The Heart of the Dragon – Co-Director John Ripa introduces a deleted scene which brought the theme of hope into the film.
Disney shorts before movies are always fun, and Us Again does not disappoint. The short features an elderly couple who rekindle their love for life..and each other. “Us Again” has no dialogue, but the story is easy to follow. The incredible original funk and soul musical score will remind you of the mid-60s. And when a Disney short has a take-away too, it’s an absolute bonus in my book! This story reminds us age is simply a number and life should be lived to its fullest. Us Again is my new favorite Disney short, next to Lava.
Raya and the Last Dragon will be a favorite movie in your home. With strong female role models, and a wise-cracking dragon in a magical land, how can you go wrong? Raya and the Last Dragon is available now on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD, and you will not want to leave this one out of your collection. This is certain to make for one epic movie night with the family.