YouTubers have mixed reviews on Raya and The Last Dragon

Can a lone warrior riding on the hopes of a legend, track down the last dragon and save the once united kingdom of Kumandra from the evil Druun? Raya and The Last Dragon (2021), directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada and Don Hall, stars Awkwafina, Kelly Marie Tran, Gemma Chan, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, and Daniel Dae Kim. The film is now available on Disney+ with premium access. YouTubers Schaffrillas Productions, Perri Nemiroff, John Campea, Mark Kermode from the channel kermodeandmayo and Michael from the channel BlackGayComicGeek, share their thoughts on the latest Disney animated release.

It looks fantastic. It’s got all the stuff that you kind of have come to expect from top notch animation. It’s got sword fights and fantastical apparitions, chase sequences and shape shifting and you know, sweeping cinematic vistas.

A visually stunning and entertaining film to watch, says film critic Mark Kermode, of Disney’s latest animation original. He goes on to praise not only the visual spectacle of the story but the core theme and message also seems to hit the right notes and will resonate with many given today's social climate.

There are times when those messages seem to strike a particular chord and I think right now a movie for which the message is you have to put aside differences and you have to trust the people who you didn’t trust and you have to learn to find common ground between enemies, just feels like its hitting the right note.

YouTuber Perri Nemiroff is also impressed by the animation and describes some of the action scenes looking similar to dance sequences, so carefully and intricately laid out. The YouTuber has admitted grown more and more intrigued by animated films due to her niece, who she is now able to appreciate and share the love of the stories with.

I’ve grown kind of obsessed with animation lighting … sure enough Raya might be their most impressive film yet in that department. This is also some of the best choreography and shot composition for fight sequences I think I’ve ever seen in animation. The battles have a dance like beauty and finesse to them that feel appropriately intense.

Raya and The Last Dragon has a very similar element to another animated story, Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005), says YouTuber Michael, who describes the central theme as well as the character designs as portraying a striking parallel to each other.

This movie reminded me a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender… even when the movie starts, the character design of the main lead Raya, she reminded me a lot of Katara … the way she looked… I really enjoyed Avatar: The Last Airbender and I also really enjoyed Raya and The Last Dragon.

After being introduced to the film concept at D23, YouTuber and film critic John Campea came into the film with mixed feelings after his initial excitement was clouded with some drama behind the scenes that changed up the film director and main actress of the film. In the end though, not rated as a top 10 in animated films, the YouTuber finds Raya and The Last Dragon to be funny, charming and overall an entertaining watch.

It’s a win, this movie is a win. It’s charming, it’s funny and it’s got a really good core story. The action is good. It reminds me of some of the old kung fu and wushu films I used to watch as a kid. At the same time, a strong central character and good mythology. I got to tell you, I really liked it.”

But when asked if it was worth the $30 premium access price tag, unfortunately the YouTuber recommends to wait for when it becomes available for free.

A great film is not without some flaws, according to Schaffrillas Productions, who is disappointed in the characters and character development of Raya and her main rival Namari. The YouTuber feels the large entourage of a cast, puts a damper on allowing each character to develop and grow and really get to know them other than having them just in the background.

I wish Raya herself and her rival could get more focus and development. But when you got such a large ensemble cast, it just kind of turns into Rogue One where you enjoy these people but you never really get to know them as well as you’d like.

There are some fun side characters and for the most part, the voice acting is great, according to the YouTuber. However, the casting of actor Awkwafina as Sisu really brings down the enjoyment of the film for the YouTuber, who’s personal preference against the actress couldn’t get him invested in any aspect of the character.

Awkwafina isn’t funny and I hate her character so much. She’s so annoying. Oh my god. I mean she’s better than Chris Pratt in Onward but this is yet another case of a celebrity voice casting just absolutely tanking a character. Nothing she ever says is funny and I had enough of her after about 30 seconds. Stop casting Awkwafina in stuff. She’s not good in anything except The Farewell.

All of the YouTubers find Raya and The Last Dragon a decently entertaining film, however, not one that would be worth the splurge for premiere access.

YouTubers Perri Nemiroff, John Campea, Mark Kermode, Schaffrillas Productions and Michael from BlackGayComicGeek, discuss, rate and review new movies and TV shows on their channels regularly.