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Raya and the Last Dragon (4K UHD Blu-ray) review

Raya and the Last Dragon (4K UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: May 18, 2021, 02:58:34 PM »


Studio: Disney Animation
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Rating: G
Film: 4/5

Plot
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world—it’s going to take trust as well.

My Thoughts
New content has been hard to come by in during the pandemic, so any new release is a momentous occasion in the Vaughn household. My wife and I sat down to watch this over the weekend and were initially a bit underwhelmed during the first act. We found it to be a bit preachy and it wasn’t resonating with us, but thankfully we didn’t give up and it became more interesting and entertaining during the second act and by the end of the film we actually liked it quite a bit. The message is ultimately a good one—even for us cynics—and some of the characters are very endearing and relatable.

I did a quick comparison between the Blu-ray and 4K versions of the film and while the 4K was a tad sharper with slightly more enhanced colors, the differences would be very difficult to discern in a blind test. The original animation was finished in 2K and upconverted for the 4K release and that has a lot to do with the minimal differences. The audio track is serviceable, but the recording level is a bit low (typical for Disney) and the overhead effects are very minimal outside of a couple of action scenes.

Video 9/10

Audio 8/10 (Dolby Atmos)

Special Features:

  • An Introduction to “Us Again” – Director Zach Parrish takes you behind the scenes of the Walt Disney Animation Studios short.
  • “Us Again” – An elderly man and his young-at-heart wife rekindle their passion for life on one magical night.
  • Taste of Raya – Dine along with Kelly Marie Tran and the film’s creative team--virtually--over a Southeast Asian menu inspired by the countries that influenced the film as they discuss their experiences creating the world of Kumandra.
  • Raya: Bringing it Home – When the global pandemic of 2020 hit, production of “Raya and the Last Dragon” moved to the houses of over 450 people. We open a window into their lives and learn how they overcame massive obstacles to make an animated feature from home.
  • Martial Artists – Get a kick out of learning about the martial art forms and weapons used in the film as co-screenwriter Qui Nguyen and visual anthropologist Dr. S. Steve Arounsack share the inspiration behind the film’s action-packed elements.
  • We are Kumandra – Meet members of the Southeast Asia Story Trust and discover the cultural influences that inspired the film...and how important this representation in a Disney animated film is to the people of the region.
  • Outtakes – Step into the homes and behind the mics of the cast of “Raya and the Last Dragon” as they experience voice-over sessions in closets and shaky internet connections, which made recording this film unlike any other.
  • Fun Facts & Easter Eggs – Take a look at some of the hidden surprises and behind-the-scenes secrets of “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
  • The Story Behind the Storyboard with John Ripa – Co-Director John Ripa invites you to get an inside look at his thought process as he pitches a storyboard sequence from the film and talks about his amazing career with Disney Animation.
  • Deleted Scenes:
    • Introduction – Head of Story Fawn Veerasunthorn introduces deleted scenes from “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
    • The Bridge – Raya confronts an early version of the Druun in this deleted storyboard sequence.
    • Escaping Namaari – See an early version sequence of an introduction to Namaari as an adult.
    • Dragon Blade – Discover an early version of Raya’s sword, when it used to have magical powers.
    • Meet Boun – Meet an early version of Boun before he was a chef and shrimp boat captain.
    • The Heart of the Dragon – Co-Director John Ripa introduces a deleted scene which brought the theme of hope into the film.





Conclusion
If you’re a Disney fan, you’ll certainly enjoy this animated tale. It doesn’t really break any new ground story wise, but the animation is very good, and the execution is strong when taken as a whole. Recommended for families with younger kids.


Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High-Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
Stewart Filmscreen - Firehawk 88” 16x9 Fixed Screen
Trinnov Altitude 16 Audio/Video Processor
ATI AT527NC Powering Bed Channels
ATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: URC MX-990
M&K S-150 THX Ultra (R-C-L Speakers)
M&K SS-150 x4 (Surround Speakers)
Atlantic Technology IC6-OBA x 4 Overhead Speakers
SVS PC-Ultra Cylinder Subwoofer
HSU VTF-15H MK2 Subwoofer
SVS SB-3000 Subwoofer
JL Audio Dominion F110 Subwoofer x 2
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

bmoney

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Re: Raya and the Last Dragon (4K UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2021, 08:21:32 AM »
i actually thought this one was one of the few that DIDNT need the bump in audio.  weird
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AVSMike

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Re: Raya and the Last Dragon (4K UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2021, 08:22:31 AM »
I enjoyed this movie, but then my son says I will watch anything. :) 
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Re: Raya and the Last Dragon (4K UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2021, 09:59:18 AM »
i actually thought this one was one of the few that DIDNT need the bump in audio.  weird
I had to boost my volume by about 3dB. 
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

bmoney

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Re: Raya and the Last Dragon (4K UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2021, 10:57:53 AM »
interesting.  even the bass charts show its not needed ...hmmm
SadieMax 2,0 Build thread

Nad t758v3 
7.4.4 diysoundgroup 1099's (3) 
Volt 6 (8 ) 
18" SI subs (4) 
diy 130" 2.40 spandex screen
minidsp 2x4HD
JVC rs600
Lumagen radiance pro 4242
Nvidia shield pro
Emby NAS media player

Re: Raya and the Last Dragon (4K UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2021, 02:50:18 PM »
interesting.  even the bass charts show its not needed ...hmmm
I have been doing some changes to my system lately, so maybe that had something to do with it. Or, it could be I'm just conditioned to turn up Disney mixes without even thinking about it :)
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

bmoney

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Re: Raya and the Last Dragon (4K UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2021, 04:07:24 PM »
I have been doing some changes to my system lately, so maybe that had something to do with it. Or, it could be I'm just conditioned to turn up Disney mixes without even thinking about it :)
Probably. Hahah. Damn you Disney!!!
SadieMax 2,0 Build thread

Nad t758v3 
7.4.4 diysoundgroup 1099's (3) 
Volt 6 (8 ) 
18" SI subs (4) 
diy 130" 2.40 spandex screen
minidsp 2x4HD
JVC rs600
Lumagen radiance pro 4242
Nvidia shield pro
Emby NAS media player

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