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|Index||226 reviews in total|
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.
It is a shame that Disney has not produced any animated films in recent
years of this quality, with the exception of the Pixar films.
A truly wonderful film.
A good story. Shows great respect & importance of family. And, even though based in a time long ago, the film sets a standard for female roles.
Great music, last Disney film, in my opinion to have a soundtrack of this quality. SHOULD have won an Oscar for the soundtrack.
I love Mushu. One of my favorite Disney characters.
Girl/young woman can learn a lot from the Mulan character.
Beautiful animation with this film as well.
I never get tired of this film.
I know this sounds silly, but Mulan is actually my all-time favorite
movie. Trust me, I am a perfectly intelligent young woman who likes to
read and is going to college, but there's just something about Mulan
that I have always loved. It suffered a lot in release because it was
lost in an avalanche of new CGI movies like A Bug's Life. But Mulan's
story is every bit as good as those movies, even if you find the
animation less impressive.
The strengths of the movie for me are not the songs (which are very weak compared to earlier Disney), nor the animation (which is charming with a few Chinese flourishes) or any other technical aspect of the movie production. What makes this moving great is that it has a truly endearing, likable main character. While in most Disney movies the silly sidekicks or cute animals steal the show, in this movie Mulan is both funny and brave, making her a truly human character that I rooted for whole-heartedly.
I am also a crazy feminist and for me this movie is the ultimate girl-power movie. Who would of thought that could ever be said of a Disney movie? But really, Mulan, as a Chinese tomboy who never quite feels that she fits in in her society, is an excellent picture of a woman finally proving to the world that she can do everything a man can do. After watching the movie (which I have done over 15 times) I always feel really inspired and motivated! Seriously! The movie without a doubt has lots of production problems (bad songs, clichéd side-characters, mediocre villain), but I still highly, highly recommend because fundamentally the characters are likable and believable and the plot is well constructed. Oh and I think it's pretty damn funny. Mushu always makes me laugh, and watching Mulan try to spit is still the funniest thing I've ever seen in a movie.
If you want the classic singing, dancing fairy tale-style Disney movies a la The Little Mermaid, this is not quite what you're looking for. Mulan is more character driven and less lavishly made. But it absolutely belongs in the upper ranks of Disney, and it's a pity that Disney couldn't have continued to make animated features of this quality.
Mulan is my favorite animated movie. This is a true Disney gem that a person of any age will enjoy. Disney has truly outdone itself this time, it's too bad that Disney doesn't make traditional musical films like this anymore. It has a good storyline that keeps the audience interested. The backdrops are wonderfully drawn. The songs are memorable and entertaining, plus they're sung by two very good singers: Lea Salonga and Donnie Osmond. I'm so glad they got Jerry Goldsmith to score this movie. It's music is definitely its best asset (with an academy award nomination at its belt). No animated movie has spent so much time on my cd player and on my VHS set. This cartoon is truly worth watching.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Words just cannot express the beauty in this film. Mulan, our heroine,
is a sweet, yet awkward young woman who wishes to bring honor to her
After a meeting with the matchmaker goes horribly awry, Mulan is left ashamed and distraught. She wishes so badly to please and bring honor to her family, yet her spunky, outspoken attitude makes this a struggle for her in a culture where women are expected to be quiet and subservient. But despite her failure, her family still loves her.
That very day, the Emperor's consul comes with a declaration: one man from every family is to serve in the Emperor's army in the war against the Huns. Mulan, knowing that her father will certainly be killed if he goes to war, disguises herself as a man and goes to war in his place. The sentiment and unconditional love portrayed in this movie makes it a very beautiful story.
The movie also pokes some good-natured fun at males in general, but never to a ridiculous degree. The one reference to a modern media (Batman) is subtle enough that it doesn't spoil the atmosphere. Mushu sometimes feels a little overdone, but isn't too bad overall. There's enough comic relief in the movie to keep it fun.
Another thing going for this film is that the dilemmas faced by the characters are very, very serious. The villain isn't just set out to conquer; he's set out to slaughter. This is made very clear to the audience - and although it was kept toned down, it wasn't completely sugarcoated, either.
Also, I feel that Mulan is a much better role-model for girls than certain other animated characters. The love and respect that she shows for her family (especially for her father) is a breath of fresh air compared to many other animated female leads.
This is really a Disney classic and one of the best Disney films I've seen
recently (The Emperor's New Groove was something of a disappointment, though
I haven't seen Atlantis and Monsters Inc. yet). This film is really funny,
something that is mostly due to Eddie Murphy. You know I do not like most of
his post 1990 stuff too much, except maybe Metro and The Nutty Professor II,
but when he lends his voice for an animated film (like this one or Shrek) it
is almost poised to be great.
8 out of 10 (this film spilled 0,5 points with that ghost ancestor stuff in the beginning and end)
Enjoyable Disney movie about a young woman named Mulan in ancient China who poses as a man and joins the army so her elderly father will not have to. She proves her worth as a soldier against the invading Huns. Excellent voicework all around with Ming-Na Wen giving a delightful performance as Mulan. Eddie Murphy's comic relief dragon is funny (and obviously a precursor for his work as Donkey in the Shrek series). The songs are nice, though few stay with you for very long after the credits roll. Good score from Jerry Goldsmith. The animation is solid and occasionally impressive. The cultural diversity helps greatly as the story is predictable to a fault. It's got humor and action to spare with a little bit of romance and at least one tearjerker moment. It's not the best movie that Disney put out in the '90s but it's a good one.
*** 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.
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