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|Index||208 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I do love Mulan, but I do not rank it up with what I call the four new
classics (the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and Hercules...yes you did read that right). Instead it ranks the next level down, along
with Tarzan (another movie I loved but that had some annoyances in it I just
This is a great movie with several good songs (Reflection being one of them...it is quite beautiful) but one of the problems is that there were NOT enough of them! The songs that are there are great, but there are so few that it just doesn't do the movie justice.
Although the movie overall is wonderful, and well well worth watching, there are two scenes that stand out from it as, in my opinion, spectacular. These are SPOILERS: the transformation scene where Mulan disguises herself as a boy (the background music and pouring rain in this scene make it simply breathtaking) and the final scene in China, which brings me to tears every time I see it.
The only reason I do not rank this movie with what I call the fab four, is the very end, which is one of the weaker endings I have seen in a Disney movie. With such a strong story throughout the ending seemed to be simply thrown on at the last minute. While I understand that the romance aspect did not really work with this movie, surely they could have done something slightly better than (and I quote) 'would you like to stay forever?" I mean please! Even if it were Mulan who says this line it would make it better.
Other than the ending though, and the fact that there simply are not enough songs, this is a wonderful movie that will make a great addition to any Disney collection.
While the rave reviews for the latest Disney flick Mulan poured through on my Internet screen, I wondered just what all the fuss was about. So I watched this movie for a second time. The first viewing was one of pure hatred, but the second viewing changed my mind, but only a bit. I still found flaws in the film. Basically Mulan was a mildly interesting and fast-moving typical Disney movie with the same Disney story twisted around to Chinese style. The film bursts into song too many times. Don't get me wrong, I love music, but hearing the characters sing jumpily along to a song every 15 minutes was not my idea of a story. Especially when each song has the same tune as the next! The film was pretty boring in places, and didn't tell us enough about the Chinese culture. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of humorous moments in the movie, and found myself bursting out with laughter in a few key scenes. Some of the action sequences were pretty decent the animation was average but not the best thing about the movie. I spotted some faults in the characters faces and some of the visuals were very over-done. However, the best thing about the movie that overwrites some of the faults is how interesting the character of Mulan is. You really find a place in your heart for this young Chinese girl who wants to protect her family. Eddie Murphy does a typically fast voice in a typically funny role that seems very typical of him. Overall, an average Disney fair, the material was excellent but it was not quite up to standards, but I wouldn't pass up a chance to watch this again if the choices were Mulan & Battlefield Earth!
Mulan was pretty good for a movie from the Evil Empire (although as long as
Microsoft is still solvent, Disney is only a distant second as Evil Empires
go ;) There were few songs, which I heartily approved of (I hate the songs)
and the story was kinda nice. I did have two major problem with
1) Why oh why does the main character of the story desperately require a 'Wacky' sidekick? I will admit, the scarecrow riding a panda scene made me laugh, but other than that, Mu-Shu did nothing but make me groan. Robin William as the Genie was funny, after that, and he was the only sidekick actually called for by the movie. Every Disney movie thereafter has had to have one, and it is starting to grate on my nerves.
2) It was too dang short. Nobody said animated movies have to be short! Put another scene in there! Show Mulan and Gen. Shang getting married! It wouldn't have ruined the story! There is no rule against liberated women liking hunky guys! And he was smart and enlightened too! The movie was just too darned short for my tastes..I prefer the Studio Ghibli type of Animated movie, very long and very good..and NO SONGS! (well..usually no songs..)
Well I have one statement to make: Jeffrey, you're needed at
About Mulan: The story is boring and predictable, the hero and heroine are
shallow and you never feel special for them, like for Simba, the Beast or
And then the sidekick: again a wisecracking animal who saves the day. You
know what he will do and say, there is never a surprise. Before I forget:
the songs. What happened?
There two things I liked about Mulan. The mass-scenes in the snow and at the castle. But hey, that was only for 5 minutes all together. When Jeffrey left Disney, he did not only took the talents with him, but also the magic in the movies. This weekend I am gonna see Prince off Egypt. Don't let me down now, will you Jeff?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was a huge fan of the "Disney Renaissance" films in the 90's, of
which "Mulan" is one of them. However, I don't think it holds up very
well among the others. Which is a shame, because the story and setting
are unique, and the heroine is strong and admirable. She deserved a
better movie, in my opinion.
First of all, the songs and score are just not that memorable (with the exception of "Reflection", and even that is pretty conventional). The animation was not as impressive. Compare the animation to that of "The Lion King". Every shot in that film was an "awe" moment. In comparison, Mulan looked like it was made for home video. The villain, while scary, was more of a caricature than a fully developed character. Disney always did a great job with villains, so this was a missed opportunity. Also, I really missed a romance. Now, some may love that Mulan never got together with Shang (at least in the first film), but romance is what gives Disney films their spice! Overall, the story just didn't excite me. I saw it once in college when it first came out, and didn't see it again until recently. That just shows how much I really missed watching it (lol). It's admirable that Disney would do a film about a Chinese girl who dresses as a man to fight in a war, but they could have done a better job of it.
Somewhere in 'Mulan' is a great story. In fact you can feel the potential all through the first half of the film. Lush backgrounds, wonderful character design, and a promising premise. Enter Eddie Murphy and everything falls flat. Not to say that it is his fault alone but whenever Mushu appears you can almost see the studio exec memos saying 'more comic relief' or 'more kid appeal'. Yeesh. A friend of mine suggested that the character may have been better silent or as a ghost that Mulan could only see. Something falls flat in the second half of the film that is never quite retrieved which is a real shame. The folks at Disney could use a few lessons in subtlety in storytelling from the Chinese.
I own the video and have watched it numerous times. I really like this
because mostly because of it's theme and some key scenes that are very
What's frustrating about Mulan is that it's a really good movie whose potential greatness is forfeited to the commercial imperative of mass audience appeal.
Dramas employ light comic relief release tension. Comedies employ a smattering of drama to move the story along. Mulan tries to indulge both to a degree of contrast that is detrimental to its primary genre: drama.
The themes of honor and search for one's destiny are very well explored through the adventures of the heroine Mulan. The greatest moments in this film are when we see the courage of a young woman facing the dangers imposed both by cultural paradigm and warfare. We admire her more for dealing with both at the same time.
The problem is that too many moments are ruined with a comedic tag and the film's dramatic pace is often interrupted by obligatory slapstick comedy. I honestly don't think this was necessary. Children appreciate the story and don't need to be pandered to with incongruous comedy.
Still, the power of the story itself and the crafting of the main characters manage to stand out and hold their own despite the self-imposed comedic distractions. If the writers had given their own story the respect it deserves, this would have been a great film.
By this point in Disney's post-'Mermaid' history, they felt they had a grip
on culture with their colorful-yet-pointless musicals. Remember, it's
because we accepted all this lard that we now love 'Shrek'. If society had
rejected this at its roots, our green ogre friend would never have existed
(or spawned a sequel).
So, once again, Disney does its usual work in the design and marketing phases and lets our minds do the rest. Interestingly enough, this is a bridge between Phases III and IV for the studio. Pixar recovered from 'Bug's Life' with 'Toy Story 2' and within two years
Disney loves itself and lovingly sticks to its prefabricated formulas. Think of it, when was the last time a Disney cartoon tried taking risks? The last one that comes to mind would have to be 'The Black Cauldron'. Too bad that same attitude doesn't translate here, nothing remotely objectionable can be shown. In some respects, George Lucas should be running Disney since the two of them think alike (look at the extended version of 'Jedi' and the 'Star Wars' prequels if you don't believe me).
So what do we have here? Militarism, snobby chauvinism, holier-than-thou sexism, and a frozen camera. That's why Disney hired Jerry Goldsmith to do the music, he caught on to the 'Rambo' course this movie was taking, so he inserted some of those cues into his score. Just listen. The same thing happened with Klaus and Zimmer on 'Pirates', they used their 'Gladiator' work again.
Look elsewhere for an interesting Disney ride, you won't find it here.
Final Analysis = = Cinematic Dud
I saw this on TV a few days ago. And was pretty pleasantly
-Story: I can't really comment too much on the Chinese legend but the story of the movie was pretty compelling. The story of a young woman searching for her place in the world and proving herself a warrior.
-Look: Disney once again created a new look for its cartoons and this one looks pretty nice. The shots of the battle in the snow are rather impressive.
-Music: The music in this movie is ABOMINABLE. Boring, slow, un-catchy. I was begging for the music parts to go by.
-Secondary Characters: Very uninteresting. Especially the soldier characters. They had absolutely no personality to them whatsoever. Even the love interest wasn't that interesting. The Eddie Murphy character was a little better, but seemed too out of place in this type of movie spouting his one-liners.
Two of the key ingredients of a good Disney movie are a good musical score and villain. Both are completely lacking here. Most songs are painful to listen to and don't work together to create a cohesive sound for the film (ie. the tribal beats of Lion King or the more tropical feel of The Little Mermaid). Only Reflection lives up to the Disney standard. In fact, the only song that has a distinctly Asian flavor is the worst of the bunch. And then we have our villain - who does nothing but glare and grunt. Not quite as appealing as Scar or Ursula or Maleficent or any of the wonderful Disney villains. Sure the film has a great message but I've seen better films with the very same one. It certainly isn't better than The Lion King. Maybe if they played it straight without the cheesy songs it may have been better or at least better-written ones with a more exotic sound befitting the locale.
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