Sorry for being a bit behind on this but as you all know, Disney is coming out with its new featured movie with its first Southeast Asian lead character. The movie we’re talking about is Raya and The Last Dragon. Before we talk about the criticism, let’s give a little background on the movie itself.
Raya and The Last Dragon is Disney’s latest featured animated movie that will be released in March 2021. The movie follows the character Raya, a fearless and passionate warrior who has been training to become a Guardian of the Dragon Gem and is on a journey to find the last dragon to restore peace to the world of Kumandra.
Okay, so from the trailer, at first glance, it doesn’t look all that bad. I mean I was intrigued and interested to watch the movie. When it was first announced that Disney is making a movie based on Southeast Asia, I was excited because yes finally we’re gonna be represented!
To make it even more exciting, one of the writers for the project is Malaysian-born Adele Lim. That was the selling point for me. Who wouldn’t want to see that? So let’s talk about what we’ve seen in the trailer so far.
The teaser trailer for Raya and The Last Dragon was released last week on October 21. From the teaser trailer obviously we saw the Raya going on her mission with her armadillo companion. The teaser trailer also shows the tribes or clan of Kumandra that are supposably inspired by different cultures of Southeast Asia.
That’s where the criticism comes in. Of course the movie is fantasy and it’s not 100% based on actual Southeast Asian cultures but there were users that were not satisfied with the representation when the teaser trailer first dropped. One user expressed that it’s not possible to represent 11 SEA countries with just 4 tribes as shown in the trailer. You can read her thread here
— Jeanne is crying because hes sad (@jeanneruko) October 22, 2020
She has a point. The purple tribe is very familiar to Malaysians and Indonesians. It’s just that we’re mixed into one. Another user backed up the previous criticism saying that it doesn’t fit all 11 SEA countries based on the trailer and that it limits itself to a few countries.
"Raya and the Last Dragon," an original fantasy film that is heavily influenced by Southeast Asian lore and cultures.
My expectation vs reality after watching the trailer pic.twitter.com/nFEb1rikAO
— AaaAAa (@anemoniac_) October 22, 2020
But despite the criticism, we’re not saying it’s gonna be a bad movie. I am still excited for it. It’s refreshing to see Southeast Asia being represented in a Disney movie. Though not perfect, but again, you can’t win them all. There are those who are very excited to watch the movie, some are not so excited but still want to it give a chance.
I do hope Disney can give a little touch-up here and there to the characters to make it us look more distinctive. Just slightly more accurate. What do you guys think of the teaser trailer? Are you excited to watch the movie? Let us know your thoughts!