Raya: The new Disney princess hitting New Zealand cinemas

Disney is adopting a different COVID-19 release strategy for their new big animated movie Raya and the Last Dragon meaning New Zealand audiences can see the film on the big screen as well as at home.

The film stars a brand new Disney princess, her name is Raya, and she's not to be trifled with.

A wholly original new Disney Animation story, Raya and the Last Dragon is set in the fantasy land of Kumandra where the humans live alongside each other, watched over by a tribe of magical dragons.

But when those humans make a mess of things - as we do - it will come down to the ferociously determined warrior princess Raya - and the last dragon to try and set things right. 

That dragon is Sisu, brought to life by the inimitable irrepressible rapper turned filmmaker Awkwafina who told Newshub she was "blown away" by just how much went into the movie. 

"We step into the recording booth, sometimes not even wearing pants, and that's our job and we go home. There are so many people that helped make this movie and I can't do what they do."

Alongside Awkwafina as the voice of Raya is Star Wars alumni Kelly Marie Tran. She tracked her lockdown Raya journey as video diaries, documenting her voice-overs in make-shift homemade voice booths.

This is where COVID-19 art meets COVID-19 life. The film was made by over 450 animators and filmmakers stuck in their homes all over the US and the world - coming together remotely to make one of Disney's most original stories.

"It's a really crazy feeling to see it all come together," says Awkwafina.

"This specific movie just because of how long we've been working on it and how much hard work I know that's gone into it."

An uplifting story with the theme of humanity needing to join forces for the greater good clearly couldn't arrive at a better time.