This retelling of the old Chinese folktale is about the story of a young Chinese maiden who learns that her weakened and lame father is to be called up into the army in order to fight the invading Huns. Knowing that he would never survive the rigours of war in his state, she decides to disguise herself and join in his place. Unknown to her, her ancestors are aware of this and to prevent it, they order a tiny disgraced dragon, Mushu to join her in order to force her to abandon her plan. He agrees, but when he meets Mulan, he learns that she cannot be dissuaded and so decides to help her in the perilous times ahead. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
Now I must admit I wasn't sure about this one. MULAN seemed to break most of my preconceived rules on Disney movies. These included the fairytale element - a cross-dressing Chinese soldier doesn't have the same magical appeal as, say, the son of the Greek gods searching for his birthright, etc etc. Also, this verge towards realism meant that the bad guy would not be as appealing - Disney villains are camp, over-the-top thespians by rule - Jeremy Irons in THE LION KING for example. I was concerned about the absence of king-of-melody composer Alan Menken, whose wonderful songs encapsulate the charm of Disney.
However, that said, I thought this film was wonderful. The characters were well thought out and expertly drawn. Not enough songs were present for my liking, but those that were fit perfectly with the story, and the chance to hear the wonderful voice of Lea Salonga (Mulan's songs) is worth the price of this film alone. Eddie Murphy has managed to be as good, if not better, than Robin Williams as the comic sidekick. And the film's conclusion is as genuine and as heartfelt as any adaptation of this story. The mountain scene contains some of the best animation I have seen from Disney, and the rousing score from maestro Jerry Goldsmith accompanies the action superbly.
This may not turn out to be a classic in the same way as THE LION KING and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, but I enjoyed it immensely. Go see it now!!!
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