“Maybe [the world is] broken because you don’t trust anyone. You just have to take the first step.”

Released simultaneously in theaters and Disney+ on March 5, 2021, Raya and the Last Dragon tells the story of warrior princess Raya. Her father has trained her to protect the precious dragon gem. However, after being tricked by the Fang tribes princess, Raya loses the shattered gem, her father, and her ability to trust.

Now a teenager, Raya attempts to bring her father back by collecting all of the shattered gem pieces with the help of the last dragon: Sisu.

Sisu is… silly. She’s goofy and jokes around to hide her insecurities. It’s through her journey with Raya that she learns how to be confident in her skills and in return, Raya learns to trust again.

Raya and the Last Dragon isn’t as memorable as other Disney films. Sisu and Raya have a great dynamic and Namaari (the backstabbing fang princess) has interesting character development. I like the visuals and the inspiration from traditional Southeast Asian culture, but the story is overall forgettable and the moral is… questionable at best?

Trust is a topic that has many layers. In order to protect ourselves, we don’t typically associate with people who have hurt us in the past. Namaari hurt Raya in one of the worst ways possible, so Raya has every right not to like or trust her. Regardless of Namaari’s reasons for doing so, Raya has every right not to trust her.

I believe in forgiving, but not forgetting. Even if someone has promised to change, you don’t have to be their best friend. You don’t have to be around them. Forgiving too quickly or ignoring someone’s past actions could lead to your downfall if you aren’t cautious. Yet again, holding grudges can result in the exact same fate (Sisu’s death). Trust and forgiveness are complex topics that I don’t think this movie was fully equipped to discuss.