Double Feature: Frozen 2 (2019) & Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Frozen 2 (2019)

Directors: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee

Voice Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Primpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, Jeremy Sisto, Aurora Aksnes

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom. – IMDB

The sequel of Frozen follows the group as Arendelle has a magical catastrophe hit the town and Anna, Elsa, Kristof, Olaf and Sven follow a childhood tale that Anna and Elsa’s mother told them to find an enchanted land which is covered by a mysterious mist when the unknown cause of war between Arendelle and Northuldra which angered the spirits.

Frozen 2 still packs in the musical tunes and still has the fun dialogue and fantastic voice cast with some comedy and adventure. The tunes itself aren’t quite as catchy as the first film. The main elements are still there but this story already has the first film’s foundation so dives into the connecting pieces about their parents, Arendelle’s past, Elsa’s powers, etc. It adds more magical elements in this enchanted land mostly in the form of the different spirits. It gives a playful side to the air and fire spirit as swirling leaves and a cute fiery salamander. There are water horses in the ocean and lots of fun little enchanting moments. Plus, it adds in the silliness with Kristoff trying to propose to Anna and Olaf enjoying being permanently a snowman.

Overall, Frozen 2 is a sequel and one of the better ones for sure. The story trajectory is pretty good plus it gives both the sisters the strength to grow separately as their journey splits it halfway through. They have some throwbacks to the first film which is fun but also some extensions to it and adds even more magic to the whole situation. Its definitely something that has always been very enchanting plus these new princesses don’t always need a man pursuing them and more of a personal growth sort of story which definitely applies here for Elsa. Its an overall fun time.

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Directors: Don Hall, Carlos Lopez Estrada, Paul Briggs

Voice Cast: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Izaac Wong, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Jona Xiao, Sandra Oh, Thalia Tran, Lucille Soong, Alan Tudyk

In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon. – IMDB

Talking about the new princesses without a man pursuing them, Raya and the Last Dragon is very much that. Raya is such a beautiful story and sadly one that feels not seen as much due to the pandemic and it hit Disney Plus fairly quickly and not everyone has the streaming service.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a story about trust wrapped up in a world where the dragons have all disappeared and the last magical stone that preserves the dragon’s power is in possession by Heart which is prosperous and has big dreams by the King to reunite everyone in peace despite everything. However, every other part of the realm named after different parts of the dragons are exactly as that: separated and some with jealousy as they believe the stone was unfairly brought there and manipulating the trust, they ended up breaking it and taking parts of it for themselves and awakening the evil Druun which turns everyone in their path to stone. Years later, after being the object of manipulation, she chases after the clues to find the last dragon Sisu and of course does and proceeds to repossess the pieces of the stones in the different places to hopefully bring her father back to life.

There’s a lot to love about Raya and the Last Dragon. The message it delivers is really nice. Its a little simplistic and a tad naive but this is a Disney animated film so it remains valid to give that sort of hope trying to trust others and reunite everyone to be stronger. The voice cast here is already really good especially with Sisu being voiced be Awkwafina who is definitely a huge highlight especially with all the delivery of some very clever and funny dialogue adding some quirk to the last dragon. Much like the different members that join Raya’s crew as she goes on this adventure. There’s humor and action and remains very fast-paced. Its a really fun time and very well-paced. The setting for each of the tribes are also very different so it also adds in some change in this big Kumandra land.

Overall, Raya and the Last Dragon is really underrated. Sure, its not perfect and they don’t break out in song and dance but the story has a very strong princess figure who does have a decent character development throughout, not to mention that Raya and even the other tribe’s daughter Namaari, voiced by Gemma Chan, are very badass. The animation is really nice capturing the colorful and the more dull areas, having a whole group of well-crafted characters voiced by a lovely cast and the story execution is pretty decent packing in a decent balance in drama, humor and adventure.