Animation Adventures

Journey Through Kumandra: Discovering the Magic of Raya and the Last Dragon’s Production and Soundtrack

Raya and the Last Dragon is an animated movie produced by Disney. It was directed by Don Hall and Carlos Lpez Estrada and released in March 2021.

The movie is about a young girl named Raya who sets out on a quest to find the last dragon in the world, hoping to restore peace and harmony in the land of Kumandra. A World Divided

The movie is set in a world called Kumandra, which was once united under the rule of dragons.

However, a disastrous event led to the dragons’ disappearance and Kumandra was divided into five separate regions, each with its own culture and people. The regions are represented by different animals – Heart, Fang, Spine, Tail, and Talon.

Each region has a magical gem that, when combined, has the power to restore the dragons and unify Kumandra.

The Story of Raya

Raya is the daughter of the chief of Heart, one of the five regions of Kumandra. Raya is determined to find the last dragon, Sisu, who she believes can bring the five regions together.

Sisu is the only dragon left in the world and possesses the power to conquer the evil creatures known as the Druun. The Druun are a group of monsters that have been terrorizing Kumandra for centuries and turning people into stone.

At the beginning of the movie, Raya sets out on her quest with her pet Tuk Tuk. She travels to various regions to find the sacred gems, but things do not go according to plan.

Raya learns the importance of trust, forgiveness, and working together while making new friends on the way. Raya forms a team to help her find Sisu: Boun, a ten-year-old chef who runs a restaurant on a boat, Tong, a giant warrior, Little Noi, a baby con artist, and her three monkey assistants.

The Characters

Raya is the protagonist of the story and is voiced by Kelly Marie Tran. Sisu, the last dragon, is voiced by

Awkwafina, known for her role in Crazy Rich


The supporting characters include Boun (voice actor: Izaac Wang), Tong (voice actor: Benedict Wong), and Little Noi (voice actor: Thalia Tran).

The Themes

Raya and the Last Dragon has multiple themes, including the significance of unity and trust. It emphasizes the importance of coming together to achieve a common goal, even when the people are from different places and have different beliefs.

Another theme is the importance of forgiveness and second chances. Raya learns the value of letting go of her hatred and opening her heart to others.

Overall, Raya and the Last Dragon is a visually stunning and engaging movie. It has something for everyone – a compelling storyline, great characters, beautiful animation, and underlying themes that will resonate with viewers of all ages.

The movie is an excellent choice for families who want to enjoy quality time together, or anyone who loves a good animation movie. Raya and the Last Dragon is a captivating movie that tells the story of a brave young girl, Raya, on a quest to save her world from the darkness caused by the evil Druun.

The movie is full of action, adventure, and heart, with an engaging plot that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The plot of the movie centers around Raya’s desperate attempt to restore peace and harmony to the world of Kumandra.

The story begins with Raya living in the Heart region, one of the five regions of Kumandra. She is the daughter of Chief Benja and is entrusted with guarding a sacred gem that represents her region.

One day, Raya’s father invites representatives from the other four regions to a meeting, hoping to bring them together and unite Kumandra. Unfortunately, the meeting takes a turn for the worse when Raya’s trusted friend Namaari betrays her and steals the gem, causing an altercation that leads to the destruction of the gem, and the emergence of the Druun.

The Druun are evil creatures that turn people and objects into stone by engulfing them in a purple mist. They were created a long time ago when humans’ greed for the dragon’s magic caused the creatures to disappear and the world to fall into chaos.

The Druun have been terrorizing Kumandra by their presence ever since, and Raya believes that the only way to stop them is to find the last dragon, Sisu, and use her powers to defeat them once and for all. Raya’s journey begins as she sets out to find Sisu, accompanied by her trusted companion, Tuk Tuk.

She travels to various regions, each with a unique environment and a different set of challenges.

Along the way, Raya meets new friends and allies, including Boun, a young boy who runs a boat restaurant, Tong, a formidable warrior, and Little Noi, a baby con artist.

Raya is driven by her determination to find Sisu and restore peace and harmony, but her journey is fraught with danger and obstacles. She must learn to work with her new companions and overcome her own fears to succeed in her quest.

One of the most significant challenges she faces is learning to trust Namaari, who had betrayed her earlier in the movie.

As Raya and her team journey through the different regions of Kumandra, they encounter several obstacles and dangers. They have to fight off bandits, evade traps set up by a rival tribe, and navigate treacherous landscapes to reach their destination.

However, Raya’s goal remains unchanged, and she remains focused on her mission.

As Raya and her allies get closer to Sisu, they discover that the last dragon is not exactly what they expected. Sisu, voiced by

Awkwafina, is an atypical dragon, without the imposing aura of an ordinary one.

She is instead a playful and exuberant creature, which Raya and her allies find initially disillusioning. However, Sisu soon proves to be an invaluable ally in Raya’s quest.

The climax of the movie takes place when Raya and her team reach the location where Sisu is supposed to be. They find her there, but the Druun is close behind.

Raya and her companions must work together with Sisu to defeat the Druun and save Kumandra. The climax is intense and thrilling, with a satisfying outcome that ties the story together nicely.

In conclusion, the plot of Raya and the Last Dragon is an exciting adventure that takes viewers on a journey through the land of Kumandra. The plot is rich in characters, with an exciting storyline that is both entertaining and engaging.

The action sequences are well-conceived, and the animation is beautiful, bringing the world of Kumandra vividly to life. The movie is a must-watch for anyone who loves a good adventure story, and it is likely to remain a classic for a long time to come.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a computer-animated movie produced by Walt Disney

Animation Studios. The movie was directed by Don Hall and Carlos Lpez Estrada and was released in March 2021.

The movie is not only visually stunning, but it is also an excellent example of excellent animation production.

The Production Process

The production of Raya and the Last Dragon began with the development stage. During this phase, the filmmakers created the concept of the story and developed the characters’ design.

The next phase was the pre-production stage, where the artists created the storyboards to develop the movie’s visual style. They then created a 3D previsualization reel to set up the movie’s composition and camera angles.

After the pre-production stage, the production stage began, which involved a team of artists creating the film’s animation. The artists worked to create all the characters, backgrounds, and special effects scenes.

They used cutting-edge computer software to create an animated movie. The films’ animation production was arduous.

The team created all the characters using computer software; each character requires entire teams of animators to animate. The production team used motion capture to animate the characters’ movements, giving them a much more realistic look and feel.

The film’s environments are also fully computer-generated, using advanced software to create stunning and detailed backgrounds.

The Soundtrack and Voice Cast

The soundtrack and voice cast are also crucial elements of production in any movie, animated or not. In Raya and the Last Dragon, the filmmakers made exceptional choices for the voice cast.

The protagonist Raya is voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, who gives an excellent performance.

Awkwafina voices Sisu, the last dragon in Kumandra.

The voice cast is rounded out by Benedict Wong, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh and many more. The soundtrack for Raya and the Last Dragon is also top-notch, composed by James Newton Howard.

The music helps set the mood for the film and enhances the story’s emotional elements. The soundtrack incorporates traditional Southeast

Asian musical styles, with various Southeast

Asian instruments, giving the film a beautiful and authentic feel.

The Creative Process

The creative process of making a computer-animated film is a multi-step process that requires teamwork, creativity, and technical expertise. The team working on Raya and the Last Dragon put in many hours of work to create the stunningly detailed animations, soundtracks, and voice acting that make the movie such a masterpiece.

The creative process for computer animation involves many different teams. The character designers create the look and feel of each character, while the story team crafts the narrative structure of the story.

The animation team animates the characters and other objects in the film, while the visual effects team creates digital effects, such as explosions or weather.

The animation production process, in particular, required the team to work closely together.

They used computer software to collaborate and view each other’s work, enabling them to work on different aspects of the film simultaneously. The computer’s collaborative nature allowed the team to iterate on ideas quickly and efficiently, resulting in a polished final product.


The production of Raya and the Last Dragon is an excellent example of what is possible in animation film-making. The filmmakers used cutting-edge computer software and techniques to create stunning and realistic environments, characters, and special effects.

The voice cast, soundtrack, and creative team all worked together seamlessly to create a cohesive and engaging experience. The film’s critical and financial success demonstrates not just the movie’s excellent writing but also the excellent production process.

It is a testament to the power of teamwork and creative vision. Raya and the Last Dragon is sure to remain a classic animated movie for years to come.

Raya and the Last Dragon was released by Walt Disney Pictures on March 5, 2021. The movie was released in theaters and made available for streaming on the Disney+ platform simultaneously, marking the first time Disney released a movie on their streaming platform with an additional cost to subscribers.

The release of the movie was highly anticipated, and it received positive reviews for its incredible animation and engaging storyline.

The Release Date

The movie’s initial release date was supposed to be in November 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney postponed the release, hoping to avoid significant losses at the box office due to cinema closures.

Finally, the movie was released on March 5, 2021, in the United States and globally. The release strategy, releasing the movie simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+, was a creative solution to make the film available to a broader audience in light of the pandemic.

Box Office Performance

The movie’s box office performance was impacted by the pandemic, as many theaters worldwide were closed, and public movie-going continued to decrease. Nonetheless, the movie reportedly generated approximately $90 million in total revenue worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, though it fell behind expectations set by previous Disney animated movies.

Disney+ Streaming Numbers

Disney also took the bold step of releasing Raya and the Last Dragon on their streaming platform at the same time as the theatrical release, making it available as a premium movie rental to Disney+ subscribers who paid an additional fee. The move was strategic, as the worldwide pandemic had caused significant disruption, and many viewers were more comfortable watching from home than going to the cinema, similar to the release of Mulan.

Disney did not disclose the movie’s detailed streaming numbers, but the company reported that the film was a success on the streaming platform.

Critical Reception

Critical reception of the film was positive, with critics primarily praising the movie’s incredible animation and engaging storyline. The creation of an original storyline and an authentic world inspired by Southeast

Asia delighted viewers and critics alike.

Critics mentioned that the film could have leveled up the conflicts and the plot, but overall, it was a well-thought-out and fantastic movie.

Audience Reception

Audience reception of the film was also mainly positive, with viewers applauding the film’s rich and vibrant visuals, characters, and diverse inspirations. The camaraderie between Raya and her team and the message of unity helped to connect the audience to the storyline, giving viewers a sense of hope and a feeling of being part of something bigger.


The release of Raya and the Last Dragon was not an easy feat given the circumstances of the ongoing global pandemic, bringing a mix of release strategies combining theatrical and streaming. Though the movie did not reach expectations set by previous Disney animated movies, it still managed to thrive and generate a positive reception from audiences and critics alike.

Its engaging storyline, beautiful animation, and well-written characters and plot are a testament to the skill and dedication of its animators, directors, and producers. Raya and the Last Dragon showcased Disney’s ability to incorporate different cultural influences to create a well-executed and much-needed representation in children’s films, elevating diverse perspectives and

Asian representation in mainstream films for future generations.

One of the standout features of Raya and the Last Dragon is its exceptional soundtrack. The movie’s music is composed by James Newton Howard, who has worked on various successful films such as The Hunger Games franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Dark Knight.

The soundtrack is a beautiful blend of Southeast

Asian instruments, traditional styles, and contemporary music. The music follows the characters’ journey, heightening the emotions and establishing the movie’s mood.

Incorporating Southeast

Asian Music

On numerous occasions, Disney has been criticized for appropriating cultures and not incorporating authentic representations of cultures. However, the music in Raya and the Last Dragon proved that Disney had taken an approach to accurately portraying a culture without falling into stereotypes or being disrespectful.

To help create an authentic feel, Disney collaborated with various Southeast

Asian artists to imbue authenticity to the music. Howard and his team extensively researched Southeast

Asian music and implemented traditional instruments like the Sapeh, Kulintang, or Kendhang.

However, more than just utilizing and promoting the instruments, they also incorporated the real styles of playing those instruments in the movie’s music, the Kulintang, for instance. The approach was welcomed and appreciated by Southeast

Asian representation advocates as Disney was able to create a beautifully crafted soundtrack that celebrated traditional music instead of conforming to Western idealisms.

The Music’s Emphasis on Character Development

One of the things that make Raya and the Last Dragon’s music special is how the music follows the characters’ emotional development and the locations the characters visit. The score and punctuated album pieces helped inform the audience about a character’s inner dynamics.

The score perfectly balances the movie’s emotional and the characters’ physical action sequences. Some of the soundtrack’s best pieces were utilized on scenes with significant character development, such as “The Last Dragon” implying feelings of hopelessness, “Boun’s Birthday” for Raya’s meeting with her team, and “Spine Chief” for the final climactic battle.

Moreover, some pieces of Raya and the Last Dragon’s soundtrack are sung in the fictional Kumandran language, adding to the authenticity of the movie’s Southeast

Asian influence. The specific Kumandran songs, including “Lead the Way” and “Cadence”, focus on themes of friendship, bravery, and trust.

The lyrics, along with the music, help to elevate the movie’s message about unity and redemption.

Awkwafina’s rendition of “Rainbow Resource” in the end credits provides the perfect finisher to the movie’s musical adventure and leaves the audience feeling satisfied.


The soundtrack of Raya and the Last Dragon is indeed exceptional and has become a significant component of the movie’s overall success. Howard and his team’s decision to use Southeast

Asian instruments and make a point of representing the culture fits the story’s themes and made sure the music accurately portrayed the characters and their world.

The music played a crucial role in helping to establish and add depth and authenticity to the movie’s world-building. The soundtrack helps anchor the audience and connect them with the characters, expressed through each key evolving musical moment.

The music, along with the stunning visuals and compelling storyline, creates a memorable experience for viewers, and is sure to be a fan favorite for years to come. Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon is a stunning animated movie that tells the story of Raya’s quest to restore peace to Kumandra.

The movie’s incredible animation, engaging plot, and exceptional soundtrack make it a must-see for fans of animated films. Raya and the Last Dragon is not only a fun and entertaining movie, but it also excellently represents Southeast

Asian culture, music, themes, and narratives.



Q: What is the movie about?

A: Raya and the Last Dragon follows the journey of a young girl, Raya, as she sets out on a quest to find the last dragon in the world and restore peace to Kumandra while battling an evil force known as the Druun. Q: What makes the soundtrack special?

A: The soundtrack is special because it incorporates Southeast

Asian instruments and is composed by James Newton Howard, who used traditional Southeast

Asian styles and worked closely with Southeast

Asian musicians in developing the music.

Q: What themes are explored in the movie?


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