Before we start talking about the movie, due to the pretty unusual circumstances still happening in the world right now, we need to discuss what options are available to watch it. (With apologies to our non-North American readers, for whom none of this may apply.)
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, streaming has been the obvious or only way to watch movies reviewed by Flayrah. Raya and the Last Dragon, however, isn't free to stream right now. You'll have to pay Disney+'s $29.99 'Premier Access' fee, or buy a ticket at a theater.
Currently, this reviewer recommends the Premier Access route. It's more expensive, but factoring in the ability to re-watch it, group watching, and ongoing pandemic concerns, it feels a safer bet.
Anyway, Raya and the Last Dragon is from Walt Disney Animation Studios; directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, it stars Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu, the titular last dragon.
Disney has posted a trailer (now two) for its next animated movie, Raya and the Last Dragon, which will have a release date of March 5, making it officially Walt Disney Animation Studio's first movie of this exciting new decade. It has a talking Eastern-style dragon in it, so that's furry.
Raya and the Last Dragon will release theatrically, but as actually going to movie theaters is still not really recommended at this point, it'll also be released on the Disney+ streaming service the same day, though with an additional "Premier Access" charge of $29.99 in the US.
The movie features Kelly Marie Tran as the titular Raya, with Awkwafina as the titular last dragon (meanwhile, Disney animation regular voice actor Alan Tudyk will once again be "voicing" a non-anthropomorphic animal; this time, the giant pillbug / armadillo creature Tuk Tuk). The movie is set in the fictional fantasy world of Kumandra.
Disney announced some furry bait titles coming to a screen near you in 2022. One is Turning Red, a movie about a girl who is cursed to transform into a red panda when she becomes too excited. Along with this is a new animated series around the 2016 movie Zootopia, called Zootopia+, which was covered in Rod O’Riley’s In-Fur-Nation. It seems to be set up as a slice of life, reality format that will follow the lives of side characters.
But for Nick’s partner in crime, their voice may be missing from any side cast shenanigans. After showing symptoms for COVID-19, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister passed on. The wrestler had many roles in show business. They wrestled Hulk Hogan and were featured on Star Trek, but most furries would know them as the voice of the diminutive fox with an attitude that will “bite your face off.”
It seems 2022 can’t get here fast enough, and not just for the sake of furry films.
Disney launched its new streaming service, Disney+, earlier this week, though not without its share of hiccups (fortunately, the Pirates of the Caribbean did not eat the tourists). However, one strange glitch involving the popular furry movie Zootopia has people believing they've found proof of an alternate dimension where the movie is known as Zootropolis.
Could it be a "Mandela effect", where people remember history in a way that doesn't quite match up with our current universe? Named after Nelson Mandela, who apparently did not die in a South African prison the way some people seem to remember. Mandela effects are taken by believers to be signs of alternative realities, and that people with these kinds of memories are somehow sliding between different realities. Non-believers tend to think that they're caused by people inventing imaginary superpowers and pop sci-fi quantum realms rather than just admitting they don't know as much about South African history as they thought they did.
IDW has a new anthology comic sure to catch the interest of TV animation watchers — and furry fans: Disney Afternoon Giant. According to them, “It’s the first issue of a brand-new series featuring stories from your favorite Disney Afternoon shows! It’s a blast from the past in the present as we feature classic DuckTales, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, and Darkwing Duck stories, all together in one place for the first time!” The first issue features stories by Warren Spector and Ian Brill, with art by Leonel Castellani, Jose Massaroli, James Silvani, Jake Myler, and Braden Lamb.
Fans of the Ursa Major Award-winning rebooted DuckTales TV series (and they are myriad!) have a new resource at paw, thanks to teacher and illustrator Zack Giallongo. His new book is called DuckTales Doodles. “Draw, color, and create with your favorite characters from the all-new DuckTales series. Every page is packed with character doodles, from Scrooge McDuck to Webby Vanderquack. Tap into your artistic talents to bring these hilarious and exciting scenes to life! Solve a mystery and re-draw history!” It’s available now from Disney Press.
We learned about this through Cartoon Brew, though it’s been turning up in multiple places. It seems that the Disney Company has produced a new animated TV series based on the 1944 Donald Duck feature The Three Caballeros. But here’s the strange thing: The new series, Legends of the Three Caballeros, is only available through the Disneylife app — and only in the Philippines to boot. From the CB article: “Frank Angones, a co-producer on the new Ducktales, further commented on his Tumblr that the show has been finished for a while, even before the new Ducktales reboot was produced. He added, ‘It feels sort of like an alternate universe rooted more in the old Donald shorts than anything Barks-related – there’s no sign of Scrooge, the nephews, Gyro, Duckburg, lots of humans everywhere, etc., with April, May, and June standing in for the kid protagonists.'” 2019 is the 75th anniversary of the original film, so folks are hoping Disney will be inspired to release this new series in other parts of the world. Would you look at that: For once, we’re not the only ones whining about cool animation we can’t see in this country!
Looks as if IDW gets the honor of publishing the tie-in comic for Disney’s new DuckTales animated series. After a preview “issue #0” this last summer, the first issue of Disney DuckTales hit the shelves recently. “In ‘The Great Experiment of the Washing Machine,‘ Donald and the Nephews visit a top-secret lab, chock-full of crazy inventions to make life easier… but might make them shorter, instead! And then, learn ‘The Chilling Secret of the Lighthouse!'” The comic is written by Joe Caramagna and illustrated by Luca Usai and Gianfranco Florio.
Disney has been revisiting soundtracks to their classic films in recent years through what they are titling “The Legacy Collection” series. Each volume has contained a CD of the remastered original score along with a second disc of demos, outtakes and other curious rarities that enriches the listening experience. The series was kicked off in 2014 with its inaugural volume: The Lion King. Considering the Collection’s release schedule had been dormant for a couple of years it was with pleasant surprise that the series was unexpectedly revitalized earlier this month with its 13th volume: Robin Hood! Packaged in a small hardbound book with sleeves to house the CDs and generous pages of liner notes and art, this release is a winner in both content and presentation.
One year ago, Zootopia, a story about anthropomorphic animals in a modern setting dealing with the issue of prejudices in society, hit theaters. It was the most highly anticipated film for furries in the last decade, some having even rented out theaters for personal furry gatherings. In the days following Flayrah had a reviewing bonanza in which multiple prominent article writers gave their own reviews of the piece.
Heck, the Fur Affinity banner changed to a Zootopia theme when the movie came out and hasn’t changed since.
But on February 27th, the love for the film was continued to be shown well beyond the borders of furry fandom, as the academy elected it to receive the Oscar for Best Animated feature. It beat out nominees Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and the one that most had thought could take it away from Disney, Kubo and the Two Strings.
The new Chinese 100-minute animated feature Big Fish & Begonia now has a music video as well as a trailer for promotion. Directed by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun, and produced by their B&T Studio, the hand-drawn/CG hybrid feature will be released July 8 throughout China. No word on a U.S. release yet.
Let us not forget, Disney is a corporation. To a certain extent, we hold the 55 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by the Disney Animation Studios to a different standard than, say, the 32 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by DreamWorks Animation, or even the 16 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by Pixar, despite the fact that there really isn't much reason to, at this point. Just the fact that the brand is much older maybe should count for something, but, let's face it, just because it is so old, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has less in common with Zootopia than Kung Fu Panda 3 does (even when factoring out the furry aspects and the use of CGI).
We still treat many of those early animated Disney movies almost like sacred texts, despite the fact that Disney never has. Disney has always treated them like what they are; products to be sold. So, you've got annual theatrical re-releases for most of last century, a practice that only died when home video became a thing. To combat that, they introduced the "Disney Vault", which basically extended the "re-release" strategy indefinitely even with home video. Then came the direct-to-video sequels; finally, when those became a bit too damaging to the brand, the live action adaptations began. And the most recent movie to get that treatment is Jungle Book.
Whine all you like about originality and creativity, but Disney's got a business to run. This strategy is pretty much a brand-strengthening exercise, but at least part of the branding is based on "quality," so at least they're going to try and do right by the old movie (if not exactly Rupyard Kipling). And, hey, most of the older Disney movie's are based on properties that are public domain; if Disney doesn't do it, someone else will (and in fact, Warner Bros. has its own Jungle Book movie planned). And its not like Disney hasn't done this before (or, for that matter, that they were even the first movie studio to adapt The Jungle Book). If you want originality from Disney, go watch Zootopia again.
If you want to watch a good movie, well, actually, watching Zootopia again is okay, but do take some time to watch this version of The Jungle Book. It's actually really good.