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Raya & The Last Dragon, Disney’s Fun Family Adventure Entertainer

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Raya & The Last Dragon, Disney’s Fun Family Adventure Entertainer 5

Raya  & The Last Dragon(Disney –Hotstar, animation film)

Rating: ***

Disney’s 59th  feature  film is everything you would expect  it  to be. Frothy, hopeful, adventurous, joyful, motivational and engaging. It  is a pity that the  animation narrative’s  vast epic scale  is  lost in translation. To watch this sumptuous spread of sunshine and  vistas at home  is to  entrap a storm in a  teacup.

And  yet, what remains even on your home-viewing  medium is far from  the portals  of  tedium.It is a  delightful treat filled with sounds of  bravery and resplendence, replete  with  a statement on making this  wretched  world a better  place.

The  film’s protagonist is Raya(voiced  by  Kelly Marie Tran) the  princess  of  the peace-loving  kingdom of Kumandara where  Raya’s father   the valiant  king Benja(voice Daniel Dae Kim) has made every effort to  thwart the  evil designs  of  a tribe known as  the Druun.

To cut a  complicated  plot short(the  crisscross of power-play is   meant only  to create  an aura of gravity beneath the buouyant  surface) Raya takes off with a  friendly female dragon named  Sisu(voiced  with irresistible  warmth  by the wonderful Awkwafina) to  retrieve  a magical orb that would unite the  scattered  tribes  of Kumandara.

 The fairytale like ambience is  constantly harpooned  by cutting mordant dialogues . The conversations have a contemporary  swagger  about them, and  yet that feeling of  regal nostalgia for  a world  gone-by,  is never  lost in pace . As Raya  travels with her dragon friend she  accumulates a band of  benign likeminded  peace soldiers including a little boy who runs  a eatery  on  a ship.The characters are interesting  as they come from a  place  of kindness in search of a suitable  resting place.

 The writing is razorsharp and the characters, thought animated,  are so vividly portrayed  they seem less  fictional than  many  of  the people who populate feature  films in India.There is a  sense of quiet  valour  in the way Raya and her team of  gumptious  soldiers  slip from adventure to adventure in seaside  cities bustling with  people who inhabit a throbbing landscape  of constant  adventure and  thrills.

Bolstered  by some brilliantly apt and evocative songs  by James Newton Howard(stay  till the end to hear the  beautiful  ballad “Lead The Way”) Raya  & The Last Dragon is  never a drag inspite   of its running time  of  107  minutes(which is unusual for an  animation film). It is relentless in its pursuit  of sights and  sounds that  are new vibrant and life-changing. The  infectious  gusto  of  this charming film is inescapable. Before you  know   it,you will be hooked  to the adventures  of Raya and her  endearing friends.

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