Ossus Library Index Animated Movie Index

MULAN

Directed by Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook (1998, Walt Disney Pictures)
Featuring voices by Ming-Na Wen, Lea Salonga, Eddie Murphy, and Pat Morita

Mulan goes to fight the Huns in her father's place and to bring honor to her family.

View Count: 3 times

 

 

5 stars

August 19th, 2001 on Video

 
    One of Disney's last great victories, this movie features some terrific animation, wonderful songs, and a character that we truly want to identify with and see succeed.  

The visuals are what attracts most to this film.  Mulan is beautiful, the settings are beautiful, and the two comic creatures, Cricket and Mushu, are adorably cute.  The movie features comedy in form of three men who at first terrorize Mulan (known as Ping in her man-makeup), and then go to respect her for her abilities, even though they don't know even her true gender.  These men are hilarious, as they have no skill whatsoever with any of the battle techniques.  

The rest of the comedy takes the form of Mushu and the cricket.  Mushu must go in the place of an ancestral guardian that he destroyed (he was trying to wake it up from being a stone dragon), to rescue Mulan.  From his bacon and eggs breakfast to his sly comments (like in Shrek, Mushu is extremely funny carrying Eddie Murphy's voice), the dragon steals almost every scene he is in.  

As for Mulan, she is a thinking woman, and as such, has no place in Chinese society.  When the Huns attack China, a man from every family is conscripted into an army.  Mulan secretly takes her father's place.  The scene where she cuts her hair and puts on her father's armor is very powerful, and contains my favorite instrumental music in the whole film.  Through lots of effort, Mulan tries to be a soldier.  And only after being humiliated and told to go home, does she put in the extra effort to succeed.  The song that accompanies the training scenes is also one of my favorites.  

The captain of the guard has his work cut out for him, training these troops.  And once he is called into battle (by Mushu, who doesn't want the opportunity to pass by after all the work he's put into his charge, and in a very funny scene involving a panda), he discovers that his father and the entire army has been destroyed.  

Mulan saves the group, including the captain (with whom she has fallen in love) from a Hun attack using a rocket to create a gigantic avalanche.  One of the most impressive scenes in this movie concerns the Hun ambush.  Watching all those men run or ride down the mountains through computer generated figures sent chills down my spine.  It's even better than the stampede in The Lion King.  And when the avalanche engulfs them, it is a tremendous victory for the Chinese troops.  But Mulan was wounded, and her secret is given away by the doctor who treats her.  

And so she is left behind, but since she saved the Captain's life, she is left alive.  And after they go to the capital city, Mulan witnesses the several Hun soldiers revive from the snow, including their leader.  She rides into the city to warn the Emperor, but is too late, for nobody will listen to her.  

The scenes in the city were great, as she devised a plan that the others reluctantly helped her carry out.  They then realize that she is still Ping, even though she's a woman.  They save the emperor by dressing up as "ugly concubines!"  So the Emperor rewards her, and the Captain follows her home.  What better reward.  

Supporting the cast was Mulan's hilarious grandmother, who after Mushu, got the best lines in the movie.  "Do you want to stay forever," she asks the Captain after he is invited to dinner!  She is not shy, and her age lets her say things that otherwise would be dishonorable.  

The songs were also wonderfully scripted.  I own the CD and kept singing or humming to my favorites.  There was no point in the movie where the music was inappropriate; all of it was exciting and passionate.  I will still watch this movie over and over again.

 

 

4 stars

March 10th, 1999 on Video

 
    This is one of Disney's best.  The dragon is hilarious (so is the cricket), Mulan is truly Disneyish, and the songs are great.  The computer effects of the Huns coming over the snow cliff is completely breathtaking.  Definitely a keeper.  
   

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