How does a Disney animated feature that’s also a Hong Kong action movie sound?

That’s the intriguing pitch behind Raya and the Last Dragon, Disney’s next big animated feature, which was unveiled this weekend for the first time at D23 Expo in California. Disney describes the movie as a “fantasy-action-adventure” about “community and hope.” This is the official synopsis:

 Raya, a lone warrior from the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra who teams up with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to their world. The D23 Expo crowd was the first to get a look at the new film, viewing an exclusive three-minute piece.

The two leads of the film are Cassie Steel, who plays Raya, and Awkwafina, who provides the voice of Sisu, the Last Dragon — who supposedly “was left on Earth in case dark forces return to the world.” I’m guessing it’s not a spoiler to reveal that they do?

Regarding that exclusive three-minute piece of footage: The animation was extremely  photoreal and beautiful; it showed a lush forest in a rainstorm, and the flowing water dripping off rocks and Raya herself looked absolutely incredible. Raya was seen exploring a waterfall and then some kind of ancient ruin or temple, where she encounters a young boy (one of the misfits referred to above) and then Sisu herself. Later, a brief second clip that didn’t feature any of the characters was shown; it focused on a magical ball of light and ended with the tagline “Keep The Light Alive.”

Awkwafina seems perfect as a Disney voice, and the idea of a full-out Hong Kong martial arts film in Disney animation sounds fun. Raya and the Last Dragon opens in theaters on Nov. 25, 2020.

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