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Mulan is a well-known ancient folktale in Chinese history. It tells the story of mulan, who disguises herself as a man and goes to the war to protect the country in place of her aged father, and finally returns as a national hero/heroine. Although the story of mulan was evidently modified from its original, Disney did a fantastic job at retelling the story, and delivered it through the beautiful hand-drawn animation that has been lost to us for many years. As a Chinese myself, I know the mulan story like millions of Chinese people do. Some people (espcially Chinese people) may not like the Disney version of mulan simply because Disney didn't stay true to the original, but i feel somewhat differently about this. Not only did i have no problem with Disney's decision to make modifications to mulan's story, I actually kinda appreciate that they did. Cuz Disney's retelling of mulan turned out to be rather amazing, and even better than the original in my opinion. I mean, the original story is great, but it lacks fun and humor, which you can find in Disney's mulan. In the Disney version, Mulan is an outgoing, smart, and independent young woman who has difficulty fitting in the more traditional and reserved ancient Chinese society, where a woman's value is judged by marrying into a good family and being a good wife. So naturally this creates conflict and inner struggle for mulan, and thus brings out the musical number "reflection" that expresses mulan frustrations and desires. This song is so beautifully written and the lyrics have such meaningful morals and depth that it touches me every time i hear it, and I'm a guy! This song can certainly relate to a great many of young people, not only girls but also boys, cuz its central theme is all the same, that is to be your true self regardless the environment that you in. And now back to the movie, there's a lot to love about Disney's mulan: the story, the fun characters, the songs and music, the beautiful animation, etc. The story is smoothly-paced and very believable. You have no problem understanding why things happen the way they do and why mulan has taken certain actions. And I think Disney created the characters very successfully because they made them look like real Chinese people instead of the classic Disney characters that we used to see. And they made the backgrounds in the animation look like beautiful Chinese landscape paintings, which really amazed me! And the opening of the movie is probably one of the most brilliant among the Disney animation features. I was completely blown away when i first saw it in the theater. Although Disney didn't completely stay true to the original mulan, it stayed true to the spirit of the original story and the spirit of china in most part! And as Mulan being a Chinese story, i think Disney did its best to make it look like and feel like Chinese, and i really appreciate their effort. So thank you Disney, for making mulan so great!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Witty, amusing little Disney movie, regardless of the horrid song
I'm not a fan of the Disney musical formula. I do not like the made-for-five-year-old song element found in most Disney animations, so I tend to just ignore those sections except in movies such as "Beauty and the Beast," where that activity is just not possible. I therefore avoid the movie itself, as often as I can.
This movie, has much of that Disney musical element, which for me, lowers the value of the movie.
However, the animation is far better than that of other later Disney movies, and the backgrounds are well done, which is a delightful surprise.
Disney has taken to ignoring detail, of late, which is a major disappointment for those of us who watch these movies for the animation quality.
The story itself is really very compelling, innovative, and strong. I thoroughly enjoyed this Disney attempt, although I am sure, as with all Disney sequels, they will screw up the animation quality and background value in Mulan 2. And I fully appreciated the comedic element provided by Eddie Murphy.
It rates an 8.2/10 from...
the Fiend :.
I first saw this movie as a little kid, but I still enjoy it now that
i'm 15. I consider this to be one of the first GOOD movies to come out
of that greedy capitalist hellhole called Disney in years. Some of the
arguments against it have been ridiculous.
"It's racist!" Oh come on people, it's supposed to be and adventure/war movie, not a remake of Ghandi! The Huns are bad, the Chinese are good because that's how it was in the ancient legend. A movie like this is not supposed to put political correctness before entertainment.
"It's discriminating against men!" Lighten up, please. I'm a guy and I wasn't offended by this. It's from Mulan's perspective, and I think it's safe to say she was somewhat prejudiced. Besides, Shang was cool. There was nothing wrong with him.
"It's too violent!" I hate to break it to you, but war happens. Yes, there are fields of bodies. Yes, the bad guys kill people. Yes, it might scare little kids. But seriously, the evening news is way more violent. These things happen, and if your kids never know about it then they're going to be pretty freaked out when they first encounter the real world.
In short, Mulan is a great movie for anybody who doesn't want they're kids to live in a bubble. It's got action, romance, friendship, the whole works, and would have been great even if it wasn't animated.
I must say, Mulan is a truly wonderful film. It used to be one of my
favorites as a kid.
It deals with ancient China, where only men could join the army. To fight the invading Hans, the government recruits men to join the army to fight the invaders. This affects Mulan's small family. Mulan is reluctant to have her father fight in the war, because she knows he could easily die, so she steals his armor and sword and sets off to join the army as a man. She later gets a companion named Mushu (voices by Eddie Murphy) who is a miniature and funny dragon sent by the ancestors. And so our story begins .
I really loved this movie. First of all, he story deals with a semi-sexist community, and one of the people who are considered lower, stands out from the rest. I found this to be very dramatic, and it reminds me of other movies, such as Rabbit-Proof Fence, where the despised half-castes run away from the cruel camp. This is a similar situation.
Second of all, the film is very funny. Eddie Murphy shows off his comedic talents when playing the role of Mushu. It's rather silly at times, but it doesn't hurt to laugh. I thought one of the funniest scenes was the bath scene, but it was pretty gross though.
Third of all, the animation is superbly detailed. The characters do look a bit funny, but the artists defiantly took their time in making this wonderful film.
Mulan is very powerful, very detailed and very funny- just like all animated films should be. I don't know why this isn't in the top 50 animated films. It's wonderful.
Now, I'm sixteen and I still watch Disney movies more than any other
type of movies out there, so some people consider me pretty childish. I
don't know if that'll hurt my opinion on this film or not, but I'm
giving my opinion anyways.
Mulan is probably one of the best Disney movies of all time. It, along with the Lion King and the Lion King II are probably the only movies I can watch more than once in a day. And yes, I have watched Mulan more than once in a day. And I've rewound (it's VHS. I still live in the '90s. Get over it) some parts over and over during those viewings. This movie is just so fantastic I can hardly put it into words. The music isn't tiresome or annoying like some Disney movies, the message is strong and a good one, and there are some dark elements in it that won't scare the children but will provide a little extra entertainment for adults.
I personally think that this movie should be in every household - whether there are children or teenagers or adults watching, it's fantastic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
By Disney renaissance standards, this was pretty close to what the film was actually based on, the ancient Chinese poem called the Ballad of Hua Mulan. There is a slight exception from the poem and the movie, in the fact, that she lasted ten to 12 years in the military without getting discovered. Disney got it wrong in the settling as well, the ballad is set in the Northern-Southern dynasties period (420 to 589 AD), but Mulan the film makes it look like the height of the Ming dynasty a thousand years later. Oh, she also died tragically in the ballad. She commits suicide because the emperor asked her to be a concubine. But that's beside the point. I'm just history nerding. In the end, the story is the same, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) must pretend to be a man to save her elderly father from death in the army due to invasion with the Huns and it's leader Shan Yu (Miguel Ferrer). Some people think of him as forgettable due to one of the relatively few Disney villains who doesn't have a villain song, but I like Shan Yu as a villain because he looks so scary. No, his personality isn't that great, but the dude just looks like a monster! And he's a powerhouse! He can slice through the castle pillars with one swing of his sword. He's the only Disney villain I can think of that actually causes that kind of destruction. He doesn't need to be fleshed out as a character. He's the leader of the Hun Army. The Huns were trying to conquer China and were really violent and underhanded in their tactics. He belongs with the greats. One thing that bugs me in the film is how Mulan go to the camp, and get nearly kicked out of the army for not being fit, which kinda negates, the whole point of her taking her father's place. Clearly, her father wasn't healthy so if he was sent instead of her, he would have been sent home anyways. So what was the point of replacing him? Why, didn't Mulan go home after not being fit to join the army? I think it's about giving Honor to the family. Mulan's smart in a way I can see, a cheater, a bit lazy, loving, outspoken, and just fails at all things social, but lovable. This 'wood orchid' seems like the girl-power type character for the overly feminist. If anything, I've always seen her as a person who was just trying to find her own place regardless of gender roles. She tries to act as her society's definition of a woman and fails, she tries to act as her society's definition of a man and fails. If anything, Mulan only succeeds when she acts like herself rather than the roles that are put before her. It isn't about the girl power or the male dominance, it's about people finding their own place in life. Mulan may be a strong female character, but I don't believe with Disney marketing her as a princess. Mulan appealed to some girls because she wasn't a princess. The title of Princess is really just more marketable, because Queens in Disney type movies are usually evil, while the Princess is a heroine. Still, Mulan is not a princess. For example, Mulan in the movie didn't like her kimono outfit and found it uncomfortable and it's only seen in the beginning of the film. And yet, most of the toys of her showed her in that outfit as opposed to her warrior one. For Disney to do that is kinda wrong. A lot of the hate has to do with gender roles. No matter how brave or action oriented or tomboyish princesses are, they still dress in pretty clothes and have beautiful hair and fall in love which isn't realism to the source material. The main musical theme "Reflections" is well written and expresses Mulan's feelings and desires with emotion. Even though it's like the other princess songs, it's still a great song. 'A girl worth fighting for' is just as good, but my favorite is 'Be a man'. Most badass song in Disney history. How come only guys can have no singing ability whatsoever but still make an awesome song? Was it really necessary for Shang to be shirtless for the entire duration of that song? Shang clearly had a thing for Mulan even during the time he didn't know she was indeed a she. Conclusion, Shang must be at least bi. Disney, you astonished me again. Want to know something interesting though, the voice actor for Captain Li Shang, was B.D. Wong, an actually an openly gay man in real life. So it was a bit odd in a while. The confusing gender roles jokes and visual gags closely border on PG, but it was funny. Another person who was funny was Eddie Murphy as Mushu, the Chinese Dragon. He did OK in the role, but couldn't they find a Chinese or Asian American comedian, that would fit the film, more. I don't mind the fact that the Chinese culture is underplayed. Speaking as an Asian, it's refreshing to see a work of media that takes place in an Asian setting without overplaying the stereotypes to the point of offensiveness. The film was generally well received by Chinese audiences. The fact that Jackie Chan put his pipes to work as the voice of the captain for the Mandarin dub didn't hurt either. The animation was breathtaking in some scenes, but others were missing the epic sheer artistry. All in all the film itself doesn't really do any harm to the source material or the culture it seeks to portray. I really liked that about it and continue to consider it one of Disney's better animated films of recent memory.
When Roger Ebert reviewed this movie a while back, he said one of the
movie's weak points was its lack of great tunes... he couldn't be further
from the truth.
My favorite aspect of the movie was the music.
10/10 Just for the tunes!
That's my background - grew up with Aristocats, Jungle Book, 101 Dalmations
etc but I've avoided stuff like Pocahontas and The Lion King like the plague
because cutesy animals and horrible moralising have replaced wit and charm.
So I gave Mulan a chance.
And I was really pleasantly surprised. Mulan manages to keep a reasonable flavour of Chinese/Hong Kong cinema without seeming patronising or watered-down. It's not too cute or fluffy and the villain is not even remotely camp or risible. He's just plain EVIL. Course the songs are sometimes naff, but I really loved Disney's take on the staple "kung fu boot camp" .
Even the romantic angle isn't too gloopy and soft focus, it just leaves you with a hint of a beginning.
Anyway for more cross-dressing martial arts heroines, check out Brigitte Lin's career.
Definitely one of my favourite Disney movies ever. It's always nice to see a female come to the rescue. And after Hercules, I'm glad that the villains in this movie were actually scary. A chill went down my spine during the mountain scene. And the ending was great too, not completely wrapping up the story like most Disney movies do. Excellent work.
Modern Disney is kind of a funny thing with me. Their formula, more or less,
keeps getting recycled every single movie. Despite this, there are good
modern Disney movies, and there are bad modern Disney movies. Yet even with
the good ones, there is always some kind of funny aftertaste. Mulan is an
example of a great modern Disney movie. I'll point out the good parts first
and get to the funny aftertaste later.
First, this is a touching and dramatic story. Mulan is only the third Disney movie that was able to touch my heart, The Fox and the Hound and Bambi being the first and second. It is about a young woman's struggle to do what's right and save the life of her father, who for once is a caring but firm man and not some goofball like you see in some of the other Disney movies. This is also about her struggle to find identity, her struggle to persevere, her struggle to be like one of the men, and her struggle against the Hun army and the horrors of war.
Now the funny aftertaste. As usual, Disney insists on throwing in a comedic sidekick. While he is funny, it does get annoying sometimes. Some of the songs are good, but others are real snoozes. And Disney's modern formula still hasn't changed any. Disney also still insists on modernisms and pop culture.
Despite these flaws, which appear in practically all modern Disney movies, Mulan is still a great Disney movie with a strong story. This is one the family will enjoy over and over again.
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