Home Film & TVFantasy Review: ‘Raya and The Last Dragon’ Celebrates Southeast Asian Culture

Review: ‘Raya and The Last Dragon’ Celebrates Southeast Asian Culture

by Lethbridge College

Raya and The Last Dragon is inspired by Southeast Asian culture and portrayed through the characters’ clothing, lifestyle and environment.

Cultural Representation

At the beginning of the movie, Raya and his father, Benja engage in stick martial arts or “arnis” which is a traditional sports martial art in the Philippines. The wavy sword they are seeing using is in fact a historical weapon in Indonesia called “Keris Dagger”.


Back In the old days, Kumandra was populated by humans and dragons. When evil spirits or “druun” attack, everyone turns into stone. In order to save the people, the powerful dragons come together and harness their powers together into an orb and give it to Sisu, the last dragon. She does not have powers unlike her dragon siblings. While the orb remained in Kumandra with Raya and his father, Sisu disappeared and became a myth for people.


Kumandra was divided into five tribes which are Heart, Fang, Spine, Talon and Tail. Everyone wanted the orb to protect themselves from the druun. They fought each other but Raya and his father wanted to unite them together as one. Raya tried to befriend a child her age name Namaari. They got along until the day Namaari betrayed Raya and tried to steal the orb.

The druun attacks again and Raya’s father is turned into stone as everyone else. Raya decides to embark on a quest with her pet Tuktuk, to find Sisu who they believe can bring the people back together.

Overall Thoughts

Raya and the Last Dragon is a great Disney movie with its engaging plot line and stunning cinematography. One of the best things about it are the lessons it offers its viewers about trust and perseverance. Films like this make me yearn for a sequel from Disney someday.



Written by Jazz Sta Ana, Lethbridge College

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