While traditionally, Disney has dipped into fairy tales and the occasional book to adapt into the many entries of their Animated Canon, every now and then they have come up with original stories to tell. Some of their most successful ventures in this end include “Lilo & Stitch,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Moana.” Disney Animation Studios’ latest original story is “Raya and the Last Dragon,” a fantasy adventure in a Southeast Asian setting. COVID has bumped its original 2020 release date to early this year, plus a stint on streaming, but that gives time to show a new trailer that shines the spotlight on the dragon.
Entertainment Weekly tells us that the January 26 trailer for Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” finally gives a good few seconds of visuals on the second main character of the upcoming animated film as named in the title itself. This comes after previous trailers put the spotlight on Raya, voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, an adventurer princess leading a band of colorful lowlifes in the search for Sisu, the foretold last dragon who could save their war-torn land of Kumandra from the return of ancient monsters called the Druun.
And the wait was worth it to see Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina, as she finally appears in full view of viewers. Similar to Mushu in the original animated “Mulan” from 1998, Sisu is the primary oriental dragon design given a friendly, lively makeover, complete with a pop culture-savvy attitude seen in the Genie (both versions) of Disney’s “Aladdin.” That was certainly a surprise following Raya’s ornate ritual to summon her as seen in the preview, plus her initially deferential tone in conversation. But the kicker would have to be when Sisu takes on human form. The effect is like if Disney artists drew a (dark-eyed) Targaryen from “Game of Thrones.”
But Sisu is not the only highlight of this “Raya and the Last Dragon” trailer. There is also the appearance of Noi (voice of Thalia Tran), a baby girl who is already a skilled con artist and criminal, aided by several animal accomplices. It certain adds a diverse and wackily colorful dynamic to Raya’s questing group until Sisu the last dragon joins their party. Gemma Chan portraying the intensely determined antagonist Namaari also gives this sneak peek the needed tension.
All in all, things are looking great for “Raya and the Last Dragon,” set to premiere cinematically on March 5, as well as digitally for Premier Access subscribers of Disney+.
Image from Keith Loves Movies