Oscars 2022: Raya and the Last Dragon

‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ tells the story of a female warrior called Raya who is trying to fulfill her father’s dream and bring the ancient land of Kumandra back together again.

Kumandra was a land where people and dragons lived together side by side. But one day Druun appeared – a plague born from human discord. So they destroyed the land and changed most of the people and all dragons into stone statues. The last dragons saved the world from the Druum by creating the magic dragon gem but then humans started to fight over it and divided Kumandra into 5 lands: Tail, Talon, Spine, Fang and Heart. Together they form the shape of the body of a dragon. And they need to follow the Heart to become the whole again.

In Heart Raya’s family was protecting the gem until she trusted another young girl called Naamari and brought the disaster on everybody – the gem was destroyed and Druun came back, changing almost everybody into stone again. She has then spent 6 years looking for Sisu, the last dragon, to bring everybody back. And she does find her but unfortunately, the legend was overestimating Sisu’s powers. We learn that it was the last five dragons, Sisu together with her brother and sister, that stopped Druun – ‘When they put their faith in me, it empowered me beyond anything I could imagine.’

In the meantime, the world has changed, and rather not for the better. Because Raya was betrayed by Naamari who she thought could be her friend, she started to have trust issues. As she explained to Sisu: ‘The world’s broken. You can’t trust anyone.’ But Sisu replied: ‘Or maybe the world is broken because you don’t trust anyone.’ We let what happened to us in the past impact our present and our future. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change. And Raya proves this by in the end taking the leap of faith.

Five dragons have saved the world, and now people representing five lands (Raya’s body parts) need to come together to do it again. They are all united by a common enemy. But they need to trust each other in spite of everything that happened between them and all the stereotypes they have about each other. That reminds us we shouldn’t judge people on their actions. For example, the con baby lost her whole family to Druun. She only does what she has to do to survive. Given a chance, she changes into a completely different toddler. Same with Naamari – after Raya entrusts her piece of gem to her, she stands up to the occasion.

Raya was at first blinded by her own rage but then she just followed Sisu advice: ‘It may feel impossible but sometimes, you just have to take the first step, even before you’re ready.’ All it takes is trust and self sacrifice. And not being afraid. Or push through it even when you are.

‘Raya and the Last Dragon’

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