Raya and the Last Dragon finds the title character Raya living in the land once known as Kumandra. This once was a place where people and dragons lived in harmony. This is no longer true unfortunately. Nobody is united and the entire land is under siege from the Druun. Raya must find the last dragon, defeat the Druun, and hope to reunite Kumandra. But first, she must fight the battles she is waging within.
Raya and the Last Dragon is an absolutely beautiful movie. As so often is the case, the technology of this movie has continued to build on the successes of its predecessors. The result is a visually stunning movie that brings to life Kumandra and the people who live there. The audio profile that accompanies it is equally beautiful and enjoyable to experience. The combination of the two make for a wonderfully enjoyable viewing experience.
There were several bonus features included with Raya and the Last Dragon. Most of these were very enjoyable. Highlights easily are the animated short Us Again, the Taste of Raya, and Raya: Bringing it Home. There were several others that were quite fun as well, however, these were the three that really connected with me at the heart. The animated short, Us Again, is absolutely beautiful and I could watch it over and over again. Taste of Raya had Kelly Marie Tran and quite a few of the film’s creative team coming together virtually for a Southeast Asian meal. During this film, they connected what they were eating with different elements of the school. This was wonderful to see the heart of the people behind the film and also the love they had for each other. Raya: Bringing it Home showed how the entire production for the film was moved home when the pandemic hit last year. This was fascinating and fun as you watched how people adapted to this situation and then created something beautiful through it. There were other extras included with this film but these were just my three favorites. I found myself watching all of them at once and enjoying them throughout the entire sitting. The only thing I wish had been added is perhaps a director’s commentary or something.
Raya and the Last Dragon Bonus Features*
- 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.
*bonus features vary by product and retailer
I really wish we had been able to see Raya and the Last Dragon on the big screen. It is such a beautiful movie and I think the audio profile also lends itself to a wonderful theatrical experience. Having said that, watching it at home was very enjoyable. It is full of heart, has some incredible messages, and moves along at a nice pace. All-in-all, it is a very enjoyable movie that I could watch multiple times I think. For the home entertainment release, the addition of the bonus features added a lot to the depth of the movie. I am becoming more and more convinced that my bar for successful extras is if they add more to the movie and make me like it more. This doesn’t always happen but in this case it did. This is a wonderful home entertainment release that I thoroughly enjoyed and is one that Disney fans will want for their library! It easily gets a hat tip!
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