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I have a 4.5 year old daughter who is going through the princess phase.
We read lots of fairy tales etc and its very difficult to find a fairy
tale where the princess is strong and resourceful. Most of the time
they are pretty passive and the worst one is sleeping beauty. I find
myself treading a fine line between letting her enjoy the fairy tale
and occasionally commenting on the fact that perhaps some of these
princesses just don't do enough to help themselves and how they can
help themselves a little bit more. I don't want to destroy her pleasure
in these fairy tales, after all, I loved them too. But it took me a
while as adult to see how the subconscious message of helplessness in
these fairy tales can reinforce the existing values of society and
parents that girls are meant to be saved.
So it is a great pleasure to be able to show my daughter a story of a strong and intelligent girl - Mu Lan and its great that Mu Lan and we are both ethnically Chinese. Here is a heroine who is resourceful, uses her brains, saves the Captain and China. We draw many discussion points from the story, such as why it is that women were not allowed to join the army, the value of trying hard and training and practising hard, what is discipline and why it is needed to succeed, using your brains and thinking of how to solve a problem, not just using brute strength, etc. Even some politics - like why did the Hun king want the Emperor to bow to him and why the Emperor wouldn't bow to him but would bow to Mulan. My challenge is the explain things in a way which is both accurate and yet understandable to a 4 year old. My daughter loves the story because Mulan does a lot of "saving".
My daughter has probably watch the movie only 3 times coz I limit TV and video a lot. But she'll ask me to tell her the story in my own words, based on the video. It works out great.
The fact that the movie Mulan captivates me as an adult also helps. There's only so much I can enjoy of a barney video.
I definitely recommend this movie to parents with young girls, as a good place to start talking about being a strong and intelligent woman. Another good one is Beauty and the Beast. I've not seen Pocahontas so I can't comment on that.
There are too few "girl" heroes in stories. According to Chinese
legend, Mulan, the only child of an aging soldier, disguised herself as
a male to take her sickly father's place fighting evil invaders. While
in the disguise of a loyal soldier to the emperor, Mulan falls in love
with her commander, who does not suspect the deception. When Mulan
saves the entire fighting forces, what she managed to hide up to that
point is discovered: She is a girl masquerading as a man. Rather than
punish Mulan with death, the commander sends her away (presumably to
die). In the end Mulan is honored with a medal for bravery by the
Emperor himself. Although "only" a female, she had saved the entire
empire from certain doom.
The finest moment is the scene where her father says "I am proud to call you daughter". Legend or history, this is a fine example of telling a story centering around a girl, rather than the countless tales celebrating boys as heroes. Like so many other recent animated Disney features, this is yet another gem in the treasure chest of Walt Disney Studios.
I can't think of a single animated feature film done by Disney that I don't
like. For some reason they never bore me and they never feel the same. The
classics like 'Snow White' and 'Cinderella' are great but I think I like the
newer ones ('The Little Mermaid', 'Beauty and the Beast', 'The Lion King')
even more. 'Mulan' definitely belongs to the best ones.
Mulan is a girl who doesn't do much right. For the honor of her family she joins the army instead of her father. She takes his gear and runs off. She pretends to be a man and does the training to go to war against the Huns who invaded China.
With some nice new songs, great music by Jerry Goldsmith and beautiful animations this is a real Disney. A little dragon called Mushu is helping her on the way. He is send by the ancestors. The voice of Mushu is from Eddie Murphy and he does a very great job. With a quick and good story and a lot of funny moments this is a great movie.
There are two things I love about this movie, aside from its stunning and beautiful animation. One is that I love the fact that Disney is exploring legends from other cultures and I am so glad it brought us this one. The other is that I just wanted to stand up and cheer at this great heroine. I am a huge fan of Disney movies, but most of the heroines, while spunky, are still just your basic damsel in distress. I loved Mulan's character. She was strong, she was powerful, she could do anything she wanted, and she overcame much diversity. I was thrilled to see the portrayal of a strong female character surviving because of her own integrity and strength rather than because of her looks. Bravo, Disney, for bringing us this wonderfully progressive Chinese tale.
Mulan is a tomboy of sorts - not something that is looked for in a
wife, and she causes constant worry and dishonour to her family. When
Huns attack China, the Emperor commands each family to put one man
to fight. With Mulan's aged father the only man of the family it looks
he must fight, but Mulan dresses as a man and takes his place. With the
help of dragon Mushu, Mulan overcomes her status as a woman to help take
I wasn't sure I would like this film as I have grown a little tired of the Disney formula of `songs, romance and smartassed comedy sidekicks', which Mulan sticks to pretty well, however I did really enjoy this film. I think it was mainly because of the sweep of the story, the big battles and the majestic feel to the movie. The plot moves swiftly and felt like it was all over too quickly. It has the usual mix of laughs for parents and kids as well as having quite a good story behind it all.
The only major weakness is the songs. I didn't exactly start tapping my feet at any of them and, while they are not bad per se, they aren't great and after a few lines I was wanting to skip past them (but couldn't - it was showing on TV). Asides from these the film is funny and quite dramatic and is good fun to watch. The cast are good. Ming-Na is a good Mulan while Murphy rehearses for Shrek with his smart mouthed dragon that gets plenty of good laughs. DB Wong is a good actor but has a `straight' role and doesn't distinguish himself. I was worried at first by the presence of Harvey Fierstein, but he did good work and wasn't half as irritating as he usually is.
With colourful animation that is good without being Pixar, this is a good cartoon that is fun, funny and, at times, dramatic. I'm not a big fan of Disney over the last few years but I did really enjoy this film and would watch it again.
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!!!
I've read through most of the posted comments posted before this about
movie; I find that some people love the music, but think the characters
thin; some hate Eddie Murphy's presence, and think the love story is
Well, your experience with a film is individual, I guess.
That said, I'll follow the trail and state why I loved watching this movie not once, but several times:
First of all, I'm far from being a fan of animated Disney classics. I'm in that age between child and adult(currently 23), where everything is a rebelry. Most of my viewing pleasures is action or its like.
My original incentive for seeing this movie was to please a friend of mine, who has a long-life fascination for oriental culture (read: karate films!). When Mulan was released in Denmark, a single copy with the original voices track (usually all animated Disneys are dubbed into danish with good result) was shown in a local theater. Asking a couple of girls out, we went and saw it. Ok, I was blown away. Before I had left the cinema that day, I too was captured by chinese history and culture. The singing and music I was prepared for; I knew The Jungle Book and Aristocats from childhood. The songs didn't mean anything to me, other than that they were few - good for me. (Some of them do kling to the ear - irritating for me!) I quickly realised Eddie Murphy was on the voices cast. I started liking the movie right then. Some find him malplaced in a Disney epic, but fact is that the business of animating classics is profiting well these years in bringing in already established names to the animations; Tom Hanks in the Toy Stories, Mel Gibson in Pocahontas, Robin Williams in Aladdin, and who else I don't know of. These names sell the film before the film have a chance to sell itself. (The danish producers, by the way, have stolen this idea when dubbing the films, using local media stars for the voice cast.) Well...it did work for me. Eddie Murphy is not as funny in this production as he is in others, but what the heck...he can't exactly use too much harsh language, it IS a children's flick. But with the room he got, his speedy tongue made me laugh again and again. I have later seen Aladdin, and find Eddie Murphy's achievement as funny as Robin Williams'. That Eddie Murphy chose this project was an interesting and probably very clever career move. Later, when I studied the rest of the cast list, I noticed a lot of chinese names. That very much pleased me. Who other than Chinese people to tell a Chinese tale to Westerners? I found some old friends, Soon-Tek Oh and James Hong, people who had worked with Chick Norris in the 80's. Pat Morita as the emperor made me smile. B.D.Wong I remembered from Jurrasic Park, but Ming-Na was new to me (had to look her up in IMDB, was stunned not to have known her before (Ok, I went wow!)). Harvey Fierstein as a ploppy little soldier and Miguel Ferrer as the Hun leader I found the perfect voice-choice for their characters...other names rang also. Anyway, a lot of the above have only value after you've seen the film. When you are an Atlantic ocean from most of the sales pitch, the film had to sell itself. It did - for me, anyway. Before then, I knew little about China and her history apart from things here and there (read: karate films!). Meeting angient China like this totally threw me away. Wership of the ancestors, the power and position of the emperor, I found myself lost in the dream of a world long gone; I loved the image of a China with different traditions but still found myself attracted to the pro-Disney story about a girl standing up to a culture's sexist prejudice. (I do find the plot a bit silly, actually, but I let myself be taken away...it's just a Disney.) Agree, the characters lack a little bit, the love story of Mulan and Shang should perhaps have had a few more frames to play with. The project was a little bit tuned down from the Disney board of directors, but honor to all who worked with it: You people did a good job! The computer animation used for the Great Wall and the attack of the Huns startles me again and again; Not many live movies can do the job as good.
So that's what Mulan is for me...The dream of ancient China and Eddie Murphy's speedy tongue. I accept the term classic. I have the damn thing on video now (English language) and must prevent myself from seeing it too often, in fright of one day getting tired of it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the reasons why I like Mulan so much, is because she is independent and braver than many of the female characters from Disney, who looks always to be searching for a man to be the reason for them to live or to be happy. Mulan is lovely, but also a tomboy what always gives her problems. Since the story takes place in a China of more than 1.000 years ago, women from that time, more than in the present days, needed to have an outstanding behavior all the time and with everybody.Being the only kid her parents had in a time where women didn't have many rights,Mulan is pressed to marry with a good catch. One day, she is going to see the matchmaker but everything goes wrong,since she is clumsy and not very graceful. Being accused that she '' will never bring honor to her family'', Mulan stays sad and depressed, and so stays her parents. But the chance to change that awful prophecy comes quick when the Emperor's men started to call one man from every family to serve in the Imperial Army: since Mulan's father was no longer young and healthy, Mulan reported to the army with a new name and looks. But she needed to make this a secret, because it was against the Chinese laws to a woman be a soldier, so, with the help of the dragon of the family called Mushu,one of the coolest adventures from Disney's starts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really held back from Disney's later animated features, most of them
started to slid down hill after The Lion King, excluding The Hunchback
of Notre Dame, but it seemed like Mulan was going to be a
disappointment for Disney. It turned out to be an actual pleasure
watching this film. It had great animation, a good soundtrack, and a
wonderful story about courage and strength.
Mulan is a girl in China who is ready for marriage but seems like she isn't ready to settle down in this man's world where she must have permission to speak and only cook and please her husband. When her father is called to war, she fears for his life and dresses like him and fights in his place disguised as him. Mushu, her "guardian" dragon per say, comes to help her out and make sure she doesn't get herself killed out there in battle. She also falls for the captain that doesn't kill her when he finds out her secret.
It is a visually stunning masterpiece that I am glad that I had a chance to watch. It had great morals and values for children, even if it was a bit unrealistic, we have to let go. Still, I don't think a film will compare yet to The Lion King or Beauty and The Beast, but Mulan is a treasure of it's own.
In the 1990s, I felt that Disney made quite a few undistinguished cartoons following Aladdin. Unlike most of the world, I wasn't all that enamored with THE LION KING and subsequent offerings such as the wretched HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and POCAHONTAS were huge disappointments. Sure, POCAHONTAS is a lovely film to watch, but it's so wrong historically and it's so politically correct and hokey. And as for HUNCHBACK, the story was so dark and unappealing, I have no idea WHO the intended audience was. So it was in this context that I expected to hate or at least be underwhelmed by MULAN. Instead, it seemed fresh, well-made, humorous and fun--something distinctly missing from these other films. While the anachronistic aspect of having a lady warrior is problematic, for once Disney had another strong and likable female lead following Belle in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. This was a definite home-run for Disney and well worth your time whether you are a child or an adult.
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