‘Raya and the Last Dragon’? More Like ‘Raya and the Dragon-Who-Can’t-Stop’!

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Raya and the Last Dragon (CREDIT:
Walt Disney Animation Studios/YouTube Screenshot)

Starring: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Thalia Tran, Lucille Soong, Alan Tudyk

Directors: Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Rating: PG

Release Date: March 5, 2021

Now that I’ve seen Raya and the Last Dragon, do I want a dragon of my own? It doesn’t have to be a “last” dragon, but I guess if that’s all that available… Anyway, if she’s voiced by Awkwafina, I won’t complain. In fact, that’s a positive in my book! She’s good company. That’s probably my most positive takeaway about this movie. Sisu’s a friend to all, as she’s been imbued with the personality of the lady who voices her, i.e., one of our favorite current Queens-bred rapper-actor-comedians. And I’m also happy to report that friendship ultimately shines through brilliantly in this flick, even with creatures who initially seem like they’re going to be enemies. That’s great news in a world in which magic objects can turn people to stone. You suddenly find yourself alone, but next thing you know, a dragon’s your best friend.

Also, the music reminds me of Woodkid’s “Run Boy Run,” a song that’s had a surprisingly strong pop cultural impact.

Grade: 3 out 5 Credit Purchases

‘Frozen II’ Only Makes Sense If You’re From Arendelle

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CREDIT: Disney

In Frozen II, Elsa hears a mysterious voice calling out to her from the forest. There’s some gee-gaw mystical explanation by the end about what that’s all about, but its ultimate purpose seems to be making her realize that she ought to be living on her own out in the forest. It’s hard not to read queer subtext into that, if you’re at all open to the possibility that there could be queer subtext in an animated Disney movie. So that’s how that goes, and meanwhile, there’s plenty more going on elsewhere, as Elsa and Anna stumble across some soldiers who have been fighting each other for decades while also trying to understand the important messages their parents have left for them. Plus, Kristoff attempts to propose to Anna while she keeps misinterpreting him in maddeningly over-the-top fashion, Olaf keeps telling us that water remembers, when ALL OF A SUDDEN, I’m so overwhelmed that I’m now doing a Phil Donahue impression (or at least an impression of Darrell Hammond’s Donahue impression). Arendelle is a busy place. Sometimes it’s exhausting.

I give Frozen II One Million Voices out of a Million and a Half Water Memories.

This Is a Movie Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

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CREDIT: Disney

Ralph Breaks the Internet presents a remarkably satisfying and accurate (such as it is) cinematic version of the Internet (minus all the porn, of course). It’s filled to the brim with buzzy avatars representing pushy autofill, distracting suggested ads, and the like. There are also scores of little blue birds tweeting a bunch of nonsense (there should probably be even more of those). If the references look like they will be instantly dated, look again, and see that it is actually an ouroboros/phoenix of eternal present and unceasing nostalgia constantly eating itself and being reborn. The story zips along weightily with the technical dangers of a connected world grounded metaphorically in the emotional lives of Ralph and Vanellope. And the much-hyped inclusion of all the Disney Princesses is more significant than expected, with the ladies proving to be narratively essential as they also remain thematically true to themselves. All in all, as much as constant connectivity has transformed society (often for the worse), Ralph Breaks the Internet demonstrates that there is still room for friendship.

I give Ralph Breaks the Internet 23,000 Hearts out of 27272 Viruses.