A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Audiences will be exposed to a non-specific blend of Southeast Asian cultures and will learn about courage, teamwork, communication, and perseverance.
Strong theme of importance of trust. Lasting messages about impact of grief and acknowledging how those you love are a part of you. Lessons about courage, teamwork, perseverance. Shows the need to overcome prejudice and assumptions to find commonalities with others.
Positive Role Models
Raya is brave, selfless, generous, and kind -- also suspicious and wary of accepting help, but she learns the importance of teamwork. Sisu is powerful and courageous but also sweet, forgiving, trusting, and empathetic. Namaari is loyal and persistent but also deceptive.
Raya is the first Disney film to focus fully on the cultures of Southeast Asia. The characters are all voiced by Southeast Asian and Asian actors, and the script was written by Qui Nguyen (Vietnamese American) and Adele Lim (Malaysian American). However, there's little in the movie that specifies different cultures and peoples from this diverse region of the world, which could lead young Western viewers into thinking that cultures as different as Thai and Vietnamese are pretty much indistinguishable.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Electric-purple blob monsters -- the manifestation of a plague known as the Druun -- attack relentlessly at every opportunity, turning people and dragons to stone. Central characters are impacted; some sacrifice themselves (i.e., willingly turn to stone) to save others. Many have lost loved ones (including children who are without parents/family members). A main character is struck by an arrow, presumed dead. People fight with bow and arrow, swords, knives, other blades. Close-contact combat/violence. Characters must run to escape capture. Dangerous pursuits on ground, at sea. Glimpse of a skeleton. The Fang warriors ride scary big cats. Spine warrior hurls a huge axe.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Raya insults the Fang people. A couple of characters say "badaxery," which sounds very much like "badass-ery."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Nothing on-screen, but off-screen merchandise tie-ins to Disney movies, including apparel, toys, games, books, and more.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Raya and the Last Dragon is an animated Disney adventure about a warrior princess on a mission. Set in the fictional land of Kumandra, which is based on real Southeast Asian cultures (including Thai, Malay, and Vietnamese), the movie follows Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran), who for years has tried to find a way to reverse a scary, curse-like plague known as the Druun, which takes the form of relentless purple-and-black blob monsters and turns anyone it touches into stone. Awkwafina co-stars as the voice of Sisu, the last surviving dragon, whom Raya recruits to help in her quest. Grief is a major theme of the movie, and several characters talk about the loved ones taken by the Druun, including children who've lost parents and entire families. Scary sequences involve characters fleeing for their lives from various dangerous situations, including both human enemies and the Druun. There are intense close-up fights with swords/blades, and a skeleton is visible in one sequence. In another scene (spoiler alert), a main character is struck by an arrow and presumed dead. In one very emotional scene, characters willingly sacrifice themselves to the Druun; young viewers may believe they're dead. The movie emphasizes the importance of trusting others and overcoming prejudice to find common ground. And Raya is a standout role model who exhibits courage, teamwork, and perseverance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Equal parts charming, empowering, and epic, this Southeast Asia-inspired adventure introduces the next great Disney warrior princess to join the likes of Moana, Merida, and Mulan. The thorough prologue establishes the world of Kumandra and the battle between the dragons, the humans, and the Druun. Raya and Sisu get a lot of help on their mission from the various locals they incorporate into their circle: young Boun (Izaac Wang), the chef/boat captain from Tail; baby Noi (Thalia Tran), a Talonese pickpocket toddler whose monkey squad will delight younger viewers; and Tong (Benedict Wong), an intimidating but kind warrior from Spine. They band together to protect Sisu (who can shape-shift into a woman who looks more than a little like Awkwafina) and find a way to defeat the Druun.
The movie's bursts of peril and moments of grief are balanced by a lot of levity (little Noi is hilarious, and Sisu, like the comedian who plays her, is irresistibly charming) and heart. Humor is threaded throughout Raya and the Last Dragon, and Tuk Tuk is an adorable animal sidekick. There's no romance in the movie, which focuses instead on the "found family" that Raya and Sisu create with their new friends. Directors Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, along with the screenwriters Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim, manage to make the characters' orphanhood a touching statement about loss -- it surrounds every character and drives Raya forward to do everything she can to free her father from his stone cage. While this isn't a musical, James Newton Howard's evocative score is fantastic, and the animation is so detailed and stellar that families may find themselves pausing and rewinding just to take in the diversity of landscapes, costumes, and characters. Once again, Disney has managed to take the familiar and make it magical.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.