Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” offers another bold female lead from an underrepresented group and cute sidekicks, embarking on a stirring quest.
The deeper message, however, involves the toll that division and distrust inflicts on a mythical kingdom, which gives the otherwise pretty-good movie a rather timely hook.
Reading too much political subtext into this movie — which hits theaters in addition to Disney+, like “Mulan,” at a premium fee — won’t be a problem for the kids watching it. Yet the adults who join them might find something deeper in the themes, in a film that’s otherwise colorful, action-packed, and more than a little convoluted in setting up its premise.
Representing Disney animation’s first Southeast Asian heroine, Raya is as much a warrior as a princess, happily, voiced by Kelly Marie Tran of the recent “Star Wars” movies. The dragon of the title, Sisu, is voiced with Eddie Murphy-in-“Mulan”-like energy by Awkwafina.