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|Index||225 reviews in total|
After the horrors of the last few Disney movies, I was afraid I would never go see one again. But this movie is an excellent way of displaying an old Chinese legend. The artwork, script, music score, the characters, everything, it's all perfect. Disney has always been good at entertaining, while teaching lessons at the same time. Keep it up Disney!
Best story since Beauty, and better in some ways. The heroine was so active, so clever and strong, she is a great role model for girls. I thought Eddie Murphy, although funny, detracted somewhat from the story by being so loud and abrasive, but Merchandising has to have something to make into fuzzies for the kids. No songs to rival Gaston's song in Beauty, but a wonderful show.
The best Disney film since Pocohontas, or maybe Beauty and the Beast. The story of a young woman's heroism, Mulan does a good job keeping adults interested in the story, while providing enough humorous moments and a simple enough story to keep the kids interested. Some of the artwork is quite stunning, matching the beauty of The Lion King, though the songs were not terribly memorable. Eddie Murphy does a fine job on the comic relief, without distracting from the story.
One could make a compelling argument that Mulan is basically no
different than any other Disney princess film. And in a way, this is
true. All the basic clichés are here: Outcast wanting to prove herself,
supporting cast there for comic relief, and obviously the romantic
element. To be honest, there's little about Mulan that hasn't already
been covered by other Disney films. But here's the catch: The formula
works. And that's why; despite it's lack of originality, Mulan not only
succeeds, but flourishes.
Mulan, a young Chinese girl is determined to bring honor to her family, and prevent her father from going to war by going in his place, masquerading as a man. A tiny dragon named Mushu and a "lucky" cricket tag along to aid Mulan on her quest.
The romance element is (perhaps for the better) played down. In fact, it almost isn't there at all, merely added to increase character depth, and make it so supporting character Li Shang actually has something to do.
The setting in China is used to great effect, though the animation is surprisingly simplistic. Some shots are quite gorgeous (such as when villain Shan Yu's army is coming to battle in the snow), though it's not quite as eye popping as usual.
There are 4 songs total (not counting reprises). Though these tunes aren't quite up to snuff with that of Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid, they are absolutely delightful (and miles ahead of modern day Disney songs). The first song in the movie is the strongest, though sadly, it's also the least known. Entitled, "Honor To Us All," this song near the opening is by far the most humorous and entertaining.
Other songs fare less well, but all of them have their strengths. "Reflection" is beautiful, but it's too short, and as one of the main themes in the movie, it's woefully underplayed. "I'll Make A Man Out Of You," has great lyrics, but the animation and sight gags steal the show, lessening the impact of the song. "A Girl Worth Fighting For" brings back some of the humor of "Honor To Us All," and is even a bit more catchy. Still, it's far from a showstopper.
The score (by the late Jerry Goldsmith) is perhaps slightly underwhelming when considering the potential, but it works well and is mostly pleasant. It also takes advantage of the setting, though percussion is way too strong at some points.
Characters are a bit of a mixed bag. Mulan is likable, but does little to separate herself from, say, Belle. The villain, Shan Yu is incredibly generic, and even if he was more interesting, he has very little screen time. Li Shang has no personality, and only exists as the romantic interest. The most memorable characters are the nonspeaking lucky cricket, and the pint-sized dragon named Mushu (Eddie Murphy). Mushu, while not quite reaching Genie status, has lots of quotable lines and will leave children and their parents chuckling.
Perhaps if Mulan did more to separate itself from other Disney films, it would reach masterpiece status. Still, as it stands, Mulan is marvelous. Entertaining, heartfelt, and well worth watching Mulan reaches heights that other studios struggle to reach. Mulan's not perfect, but it's superior entertainment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I said to myself that I would need to see this Disney cartoon feature again to see why the critics give it four stars, and I'm glad I did and I can agree. Basically this the retelling of a Chinese folktale, seeing the Fa family's only child, tomboy Mulan (Ming-Na) failing to honour and fulfil herself as a worthy bride. Then she hears that the Huns have started to invade China, and her weak father Fa Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh) being the only man of the family is being called to fight, so she cuts her hair and takes his armour to go in his stead. Her ancestors send a magical dragon, well, the wrong one, Mushu (Eddie Murphy), to protect her as she enters the Chinese army, pretending to be a man, and slowly proving herself as "Ping" to Captain Shang (B.D. Wong). So Mulan and the other soldiers are ready to fight against the Huns, led by ruthless villain Shan-Yu (Miguel Ferrer), who is determined to take over China and the place of the Emperor(Pat Morita). In the end, even after being found out as a woman, destroying some of the kingdom and a few other little mistakes, the Emperor praises Mulan, and she returns home with honour and the love of her father. Also starring Lea Salonga as Mulan's singing voice, Donny Osmond as Shang's singing voice, Mrs. Doubtfire's Harvey Fierstein as Yao, Miriam Margolyes as Matchmaker and George Takei as First ancestor. The animation is still as good as the classics, the voice casting, especially with Murphy, is well done, and it is a film with a fair amount to enjoy, so a fun animated musical adventure. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Music for Matthew Wilder, David Zippel and Jerry Goldsmith, and it was nominated the Golden Globes for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for "Reflection". Very good!
When China is attacked by the Huns, the emperor enlists one man from
every family to help fight the savage invaders. In order to save her
father (the only male in her family) from what would probably be
certain death, beautiful Mulan disguises herself as a man and takes his
place. Aided by Mushu, a wise-cracking dragon, and a 'lucky' cricket,
Mulan learns how to be a soldier, saves the day and still has time to
steal the heart of a dashing captain.
Disney's adaptation of the Chinese legend of Mulan is a well animated and entertaining tale, but one that may not appeal to younger children due to its rather slow start and historical setting. Technically the film is superb, with some lovely stylish oriental flourishes to the animation and superb action scenes, but the unmemorable songs are less than impressive and many of the supporting characters lack the 'personality' we have come to expect from recent Disney films.
Although definitely not a 'classic', Mulan is nevertheless still entertaining fare and, let's face it, even a poor Disney movie usually has enough merits to warrant a viewing (unless it's the Black Cauldron or Cars, of course!).
I must say, I am quite impressed with Disney's 1998 animated classic
feature "Mulan," about a Chinese girl who had troubles attempting to
bring honor to her family, until one night, her father, a soldier,
wasn't feeling well to fight, so she disguised herself as a man so that
she could fight in her father's place. She had a dragon, Mushu, who
helped her out along the way. In this movie, this movie has nothing but
hardcore action!!!!! This isn't your ordinary, everyday, run of the
mill girl movie; no, no, no, this is a great one!!!!!
This is a boy movie, too; I'm just saying that because there are a whole lot of Disney Princess movies out there!!!!!
"Mulan" is an amazing feat to come to the cinema, and to Disney, too. I've seen this plenty of times and it never grows old on me.
OK, Disney movie. Nice word play, good emotional story, Eddie Murphy's
voice, even Pat Morita is somewhere around there. The same really dumb
song and dance routines, though, exactly when the film starts to get
interesting. I really really wish they'd stop that.
Animation. Disney like. I found it less thorough than many, but still OK. Cannot rival Japanese animation, though.
Plot. A bit too shallow for my taste, but after all, this is a cartoon and the audience is children. I am sure battle strategy or good plot continuity were not in the mind of the creators of Mulan.
Conclusion: all in all I rate it an 8 for Disney movies, although it's more like 7.5.
This Disney animated has so many terrible flaws that I'm forced to put
it in my "guilty pleasures" category. I love this movie, but I wince at
the laughable (or insulting) Disney view of ancient Chinese culture and
the Disney-typical "cute sidekicks." The animation is uneven: the
waving flags are marvelous and must be computer-generated, but the
heads of the characters sometimes visibly change shape as they turn
left or right. The charging Hun army looks too reminiscent of other CGI
scenes and looks cartoony. The character of Mushu (voice by Eddie
Murphy) is hilarious but also hilariously miscast. The designs of some
characters (The Emperor and Shan-Yu) are grotesque, while other designs
(e.g., settings, Mulan's horse) are marvelous. The face of Mulan
herself is a crude blank with vividly expressive eyebrows and mouth.
The voices of Mulan and her family are very good, the songs are good
and the music is magnificent (Jerry Goldsmith). The action scenes are
generally exciting while also being laughably illogical. Fortunately,
if you can vigorously suspend your disbelief, Mulan is both very funny
and somewhat touching.
This is a nice Disney movie, but in comparison to other movies of
Disney not for the eyes or ears. For instance, Pocahontas 1 was a feast
for the eyes as well as ears, but the story is in comparison to Mulan
uncomplicated. The music in Mulan is by no means bad, I think partly
because the music and songs were in Mulan more driven by the emotions,
and I liked that very much. Especially the music in the transformation
scene, in which Mulan disguises herself as a boy, I thought, was very
I like it also that the story was set in ancient China, I don't know very much movies that are set in China. I saw once the Red Lantern and it really made me sick and depressed. I could have of course put the television off, but that time, I was forced to follow a school course about China, and I wanted not only through books and writing papers to learn more about China. This seems not to have helped me: I managed to get from all the students who were following the course too, to get the lowest grade as possible. Some interesting things I have learned from my course was that due to superstition about number 4 (in Western culture it is 13) many buildings do not have 4th floors. The most interesting thing for me was however: China is eternal, but the lives of the Chinese are often hard and short. This kind of feeling is very evident in Mulan, but at the same times this movie, of course in most animated movies, has humour. A tiny dragon takes care of that.
The movie did leave me 2 times in almost opposite emotions. I was laughing about the song, which was dealing about women, and the next moment the soldiers stepped in a solitary battlefield. Also when Mulan saved the live of her leader Cheng, and the other moment only a matter of a few minutes later I really thought that (although it is Disney) Cheng would kill her.
The ending did not satisfy me. I think it would have been better, if the movie stopped when Mushu hugged Mulan after he has promised that things will be alright, after the army has left Mulan, or when Mulan gets on her horse to ride to home. But then this kind of ending is maybe only suitable for people who value 'joining' more important as 'winning'. But then again, although they were loyal, I did not care about Mulans parents and her great grandmother and especially not the ancestors.
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