REVIEW: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is an enjoyable, mythical ride

Swords, princesses and dragons aren’t exactly new to Disney animated films. But how they’re portrayed here in “Raya and the Last Dragon” is somewhat refreshing.

The movie follows the story of Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran), a young woman exploring a rather desolate land that is made up of five tribes. In the past, the land was much more tranquil and lively, but an event between the five tribes led to an important stone being shattered, which led to the release of evil beings which can turn people to stone.

Only a legendary dragon named Sisu can destroy the evil by putting magic back into the stone once it’s back together. Early in the film, Raya does succeed in finding Sisu (voiced by Nora “Awkwafina” Lum). However, a larger task is getting all of the stone pieces, each held by leaders of the different tribes, and none of them trust each other. Raya and Sisu set off on adventure to accomplish this task, though.

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REVIEW: Character issues make ‘Over the Moon’ a misfire

The year 2020 hasn’t been my favorite for animation and unfortunately, “Over the Moon” hasn’t helped that case.

The picture, released on Netflix, tells the story of Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), a young girl who became fascinated by the Moon because of stories told by her late mother. At the film’s outset, following the death of her mother, Fei Fei is working with her father at their small pastry company.

Life seems to be carrying on for the family, but the pain of loss still lingers for Fei Fei. That pain is reinforced when her father begins spending time with a woman, Ms. Zhong (Sandra Oh), as the Moon Festival approaches. Eventually, she learns that her father plans to marry Ms Zhong, and as a result, she will likely be getting an annoying step brother in the deal.

Hoping to fix the situation, she builds a craft capable of reaching the moon to speak with an ancient being who resides there. The plan goes a little haywire, though, when it turns out her step-brother-to-be, Chin (Robert Chiu), tagged along for the ride.

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REVIEW: ‘Wolfwalkers’ is a wonderful film with a sweet story

This movie is about the legendary Wolfwalkers, not to be confused with the Timberwolf Walkers, who mainly gather at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

This animated feature takes place in an Irish city during the 1600s and follows a young girl named Robyn (Honor Kneafsey). Robyn’s father Bill (Sean Bean), has been tasked by the city’s ruler (Simon McBurney), to eliminate the area’s wolves, which have threatened livestock and people alike.

Wanting to follow in her father’s footsteps, Robyn also wants to go out and hunt. When she attempts this, though, she comes face to face with the dangerous wolves. However, she is protected by a young girl, Mebh (Eva Whittaker), who has a connection to the wolves. It turns out that Mebh is a wolfwalker who can take the form of the wolf at night. After meeting the two become friends.

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REVIEW: ‘Soul’ is mostly a sour experience

Pete Docter is no stranger to emotional animated features, having directed “Up” and “Inside Out.” He makes another attempt at one in his latest picture, “Soul.”

Jamie Foxx voices Joe in “Soul,” a middle-aged jazz artist and part-time music teacher. One day as he’s about to get a gig he’s been waiting for, he accidentally falls down a manhole. As a result, Joe has an out-of-body experience where his soul travels to a gateway to what’s called the Great Beyond.

Opting not to go, he instead takes another path. There he ends up in the Great Before, where souls form before going to Earth. Not long after his arrival, he meets a stubborn soul named 22 (Tina Fey), who doesn’t find Earth too appealing. The two end up having to work together as the plot develops, though.

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