Raya and the Last Dragon | Review

★★★★

A couple of things become eminently clear in the first five minutes of Raya and the Last Dragon. The first is that this may well be the crowing visual achievement of Disney’s in house animation team in the post-hand drawn era. It’s gorgeous stuff. Breathtaking. Second, the whole thing is very ‘on-brand’. The twenty-first century Disney Princess owes a lot to the Frozen mould and that’s both a blessing and a curse. When Dwayne Johnson’s Maui cracked the code in Moana – ‘if you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess’ – that was irony. In Raya, it’s marketable. Take that as you will. Raya doesn’t sing but she doesn’t do much we’ve not seen before either.

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Ride Like a Girl | Review

★★★

Much akin to his relationship of Wimbledon and tennis, this critic’s understanding and knowledge of the horse racing world begins and ends with the Grand National. As such, to my shame, I had never heard of trailblazing Australian jockey Michelle Payne prior to an experience Ride Like a Girl, the new biopic to tell her story. I confess to knowing less still about the sexism still at rage in contemporary equestrian circles. To this end, the film, which has this week made its home cinema debut, proves as educationally notable – if not quite analytical – as it is visually attractive.

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Artemis Fowl | Review

★★

No end of spinning has proven a particularly convincing argument that Disney hasn’t lost faith in Artemis Fowl. Indeed, was the writing not on the wall when those high up announced its shift to a digital only release? And this following trailers so dispiriting that fans of the beloved Eoin Colfer book series from which the film originated screeched blasphemy. The result is predictably bland fantasy inaction. What should have been ‘Die Hard with fairies’ hits the ground heavily as National Treasure with tweens.

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