Raya and the Last Dragon

image for Raya and the Last Dragon

Short takes

Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 10 (violence, themes, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Raya and the Last Dragon
  • a review of Raya and the Last Dragon completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 March 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to violence, themes and scary scenes.
Children aged 8–10 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and scary scenes.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Raya and the Last Dragon
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and animated violence
Length: 114 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Once there was a land called Kumandra where people lived happily, guarded by magical dragons who brought water, prosperity and peace. That is until a plague of evil creatures called Druuns arrived, bringing with them nothing but death and destruction, turning all life to ash and stone. As the last dragons made a valiant stance to save what remained of humanity, their combined power wiped out the Druuns, but when the smoke cleared, all the dragons were gone and nothing was left save a magical gem and the legend of a lone dragon. In fear, the people split up the land, drawing borders and boundaries. As the years passed, mistrust and animosity grew and the gem had to be hidden away. After the passing of centuries, a kind-hearted King dreams of reuniting the lands and invites all the nations to reconcile and form Kumandra again. His young daughter, Raya, trained as a warrior princess, strikes up a friendship with a girl named Namaari from another kingdom but her trust is soon betrayed. She watches in horror as her beloved father is shot and the gem she has sworn to protect is broken into pieces which releases the evil Druuns once again. As each nation takes a piece of the gem and flees, Raya’s father entrusts his daughter with their piece, entreats her to unite the kingdoms and flings her into the river just as he himself is turned to stone. Raya spends the next six years searching for the legendary lone dragon and is, at last, able to locate and reanimate the infamous Sisu who has been sleeping for centuries. Together they set off to find the other pieces of the gem, vanquish the Druun and save all those who’ve been turned to stone.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Grief; Loss of kingdom; Loss of family; Loss of humanity; Children being separated from parents; Death; Betrayal; Revenge; Mistrust.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Frequent animated violence and numerous fight scenes.
  • Raya battles a masked man to reach the gem.
  • Raya and Namaari fight over the gemstone.
  • Raya’s father is shot in the leg and struggles to get away from the Druun.
  • Namaari and a band of her soldiers track Raya to the desert where they try to attack her. Raya must fight her way out.
  • Raya fights a con baby to get back the pieces of stone.
  • Raya and Namaari have a sword fight followed by a fist fight with lots of hitting, punching, kicking etc. until Raya collapses on the ground.
  • A village is shown to have only one survivor after a Druun attack.
  • An evil looking soldier from Spine brags about how he crushes the skulls of his enemies.
  • Namaari shoots Sisu in the chest with an arrow and she falls over a cliff into a river.
  • The people turn on each other, trying to kill one another.
  • Raya tries to kill Namaari to avenge Sisu.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The images of the dragons (and possibly of some of the people) turned to stone could be creepy and unsettling for some young viewers.
  • The Druuns are purple and black, smoky, blob-like monsters that instantly turn anything they touch to stone. For the characters in the story it is the same as death. Once taken by a Druun their loved ones are lost. There are numerous scenes where the Druuns come up throughout the film, some are sudden (when Raya is nearly taken by one in the desert) others lurk in the darkness near forests or rivers, while others attack towns and people en masse. The Druuns presence is often accompanied by loud, suspenseful music. They are very sinister and bring a sense of despair and hopelessness.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The scene when Raya’s father sacrifices himself to save Raya and the piece of gemstone could be very distressing to some viewers. Raya doesn’t understand what is happening at first but she watches in horror as the Druun envelops her father and he turns to stone.
  • Raya’s travelling companions all reveal how they have been orphaned or left all alone by the Druun. This includes a baby and a child.
  • The chief of a village tricks Sisu and tries to lock her outside the city gates where a number of Druuns are lurking in the trees. They threaten her and she is terrified as the Druuns approach but she is saved at the last minute by Raya.
  • When Namaari shoots Sisu in the chest, she falls into the river and is believed to be dead. The light in the gemstone begins to fade and the water dries up, leaving no barrier between the Druun and the people. The Druun attack the city, wreaking havoc and destruction, walls and buildings begin to collapse, and it looks like all hope is lost. Some children may find this very disturbing.
  • Surrounded by Druun, Raya sacrifices herself to give Namaari the chance to reconstruct the gem. One by one Raya and her little band of followers, including a baby and a child are turned to stone. Until the gem works its magic, they are all believed to be dead. The scene is very intense and may upset some children.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Some of the above-mentioned scenes may also be unsettling to children in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A brief glimpse of a baby’s bare buttocks is shown in one scene.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Raya and the Last Dragon is an animated, Disney, adventure and an epic tale of good versus evil. The graphics are excellent, the plot is fast paced and even though the story is full of darkness, it is interwoven with such hope and humour that despair never gets a chance to take hold. Somehow all things seem possible. That being said, due to violence, themes and scary scenes, the film will be best enjoyed by older children and adults.

The main messages from this movie are that as much as humanity is capable of great evil, it is also capable of great good. If we can overcome prejudice and misunderstanding to come together as one family then we have a greater power than any dragon ever did. We have the power to conquer fear and hate and to change all our darkness into light.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Teamwork
  • Hopefulness
  • Forgiveness
  • Trust
  • Creativity
  • Sacrifice and Persistence.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Blindly trusting those who only pretend to be your friend.
  • Refusing to believe that there is good in someone even if you have seen glimpses of it for yourself.
  • Being unable to trust people or believing that a certain group is bad because of what others say about them.
  • Only looking out for yourself and refusing to act in the best interests of others.