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|Index||226 reviews in total|
*** 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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Disney is probably the best known name in animation but because their
films are almost never on television I don't think I'd seen one since I
saw Pinocchio in the cinema in 1972 when I was five! For that reason
when I saw 'Mulan' was going to be on television I just had to watch
This film tells the tale of the eponymous Mulan; a Chinese girl living with her invalid father. When China is invaded by the Huns every family must send one male to fight for the emperor; as Mulan has no brothers this means her father must go for the sake of the family's honour. Knowing that he will almost certainly be killed Mulan cuts her hair short before taking her father's armour and sneaking out of the house at night to enlist. This is a foolhardy move as it would mean instant death and dishonour should her true gender be exposed. In order to save her the family ancestors are summoned and Mushu, a small dragon goes off to help her he too wasn't meant to go but he is determined to regain his position. When Mulan gets into the army things don't go too well at first and more than once it looks as if she will be caught; eventually however she and her comrades go into battle against the dreaded Hun and due to Mulan's bravery and quick thinking they prevail. Unfortunately for her though they learn she is a girl; because of her bravery she isn't killed but she is left behind in shame. When she sees that the Hun aren't all dead she must tell her friends and save the emperor this time she won't be hiding her gender they will!
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this; the story was great and I really liked the protagonist, Ming-Na did a good job providing her voice. The most recognisable voice was provided my Eddie Murphy, who played the comedy sidekick Mushu; he did a good job and provided plenty of laughs from a character I initially thought might turn out to be irritating. While there are plenty of laughs there is also a good amount of drama and action; the scenes where Mulan sets off to join the army and where her unit finds the site where the rest of the army had been defeated were particularly poignant. The action scenes were quite dramatic; especially the 'avalanche scene'. Being a Disney film there were some songs and while they didn't have me humming along they did add some enjoyable moments. Being a U certificate there is nothing in this film that makes it unsuitable for young children and it is nice to see a children's film where the female protagonist doesn't need a man to rescue her from danger; here it is she who does the rescuing! Given how much I enjoyed this; I just hope it isn't another forty years till I catch another Disney animation!
Finally, Disney has a great feminist character! Disney has created a
beautifully artistic and cultural movie, with an excellent story, in
the form of Mulan.
The story: Mulan is a young Chinese girl preparing for a life as a housewife, but she knows she's far too strong-minded to be something as menial as that. When the Huns invade China, her father (the only male in the household), is selected to fight in the army, despite the fact he has old wounds that prevent him from fighting properly. Determined to save her father, Mulan disguises herself as a man and takes his place in the army.
This movie has been a personal favorite of mine ever since I saw it when I was a little girl. Since I watched it, Mulan has constantly been a role model of mine: she is a girl who's brave, who will do anything for her family, a girl who dares to be different, and a girl who dares to follow her dreams, and her heart.
But the character of Mulan isn't the only awesome thing about this movie. The other characters are excellent and not at all one-dimensional. Eddie Murphy - who voices the tiny, jive-talking dragon Mushu - is hilarious most of the time. Shan-Yu has to be one of the best villains Disney has created in a long time. Shang is interesting, but is possibly the weakest, least-developed character of all.
The music is wonderful, the battle scenes are epic, the song items don't interfere with the story at all, and the detail is beautiful. My only complaint is that it could have been a bit longer. I would have liked some more development within the story and with the separate characters.
Nonetheless, an awesome Disney movie!
This was a very interesting direction Disney went in terms of
storytelling with their classic charm. Based on an actual Chinese
story, Mulan is unlike anything the filmmakers of Disney ever created.
Mulan herself is very unique compared to most women from the Disney universe. She's no princess or pretty girl wanting more or waiting for a happy ending, instead she's a bit of a social outcast stuck in the traditional family norm the Chinese had with women at the time who just wishes to be herself and prove that she's no obedient little housewife-to-be. Mulan takes a big risk and ends up becoming the heroine China needs to save them from the crafty and ruthless Shan Yu, who leads the invading Huns.
All the other characters are a true delight. Mushu (Eddie Murphy), Mulan's guardian dragon, is a hilarious character who proves to quite helpful on certain occasions and brings much of the comedy into the film. Captain Shang is tough and determined, but even he has his insecurities, which makes him a unique love interest to Mulan. The villain Shan Yu is not someone to be trifled with or underestimated because he's cold, calculating, and powerful as heck. The trio (Yau, Ling, and Chien-Po) are really fun to watch as they hilariously interact with other characters such as Mulan, Chi-Fu, and even each other.
This movie has the perfect blend of amazing art design, epic action scenes, wonderful music that complements the various scenes, memorable songs, great comedy, intricate storytelling, flawless animation, and excellent themes. The filmmakers must have really pushed themselves to make this into an awesome and unique edition to the Disney franchise and they weren't too afraid to get a little dark and make the situations the characters are going through as real and sometimes as dangerous as possible, both the menacing Huns and their own somewhat strict social traditions.
Overall, this is indeed a rare flower that blooms the most beautifully. I consider this to be one of the greatest Disney films ever made, if not the best. It is highly recommended that you check this movie out and marvel at the cultural and cinematic wonder that is Mulan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember watching Disney's Mulan in the 1990's and I really didn't
pay much attention to it. Mmm, hmm, bad move, I reckon in
retrospective. But fortunately, I once had the curiosity to have a look
at it recently, and it just blew my mind! Not only the landscapes were
great and the Chinese landmarks really stunning, I became in love with
the characters, especially Mulan, Mushu and even the squeaky Chi Fu.
It's one of those movies that, once you care to watch again, you can
rediscover as an rare jewel.
I don't know why I didn't see this before, but Mulan is a very positive role model for girls indeed. She is strong, spirited, humble, resourceful, smart and independent. She is selfless and she decides to risk her own life to protect her sick father's. That is quite a statement! Not only that, she manages to become a national hero by defeating the main villain, Shan Yu, single-handedly (well, with a bit of help from the likable tiny dragon Mushu). It's one of the few times I remember watching BOTH a female lead and a sidekick being so proactive! How cool is that! Besides, Mulan is very pretty (even when she is just a cartoon). When she had her self-doubting moments, I wished I could get into the movie and give her a hug (cheesy, I know, but I can't help finding her really cute).
Mushu is one hell of a good sidekick. Not only does he play a major role in the story, he has some of the best lines I've heard from a Disney movie ("Don't look at me. I ain't biting anymore buts", "You lied to me? And what are you, a sheep?"); he has so many good ones, I can't pick a favorite! I couldn't stop laughing. He is hilarious! Plus, he is never cheesy or over the top (perhaps Eddie Murphy has something to do with it).
Noteworthy is also the bad guy, Shan Yu. He is really cool and evil-looking, and menacing. He is very intimidating because he is realistically human (no superpowers, no fairy tale creature; perhaps some extra muscle and brute strength), and his cruelty is very real. It's not hard to think of a real individual who can come close to this guy in terms of power hunger and callous violence. Even with such a dark villain, the film still manages to give us quite a few comical moments. But when he is on screen, he means business, and you feel it.
Definitely, a new favorite for me. A beautifully-designed Asian culture (I love Asian cultures!), an endearing and timeless story, a cute and strong female lead (she also has her funny moments), a cool and intimidating bad guy, and a priceless little lizard... er, dragon sidekick. What else does this masterpiece need? 10/10 without doubt.
My Take: Yet another Disney classic. Impressively animated and
Epics have always been one of Hollywood's most regular films during the golden age of film making. Epics are done in very high budgets, and at the time, one of the most astonishing. Another powerful Hollywood genre, is animation. It was powerful as well, that it earned an award slot in the Academy Awards ("Best Animated Feature").
What's great about "Mulan" is that it combines these to staples in Hollywood in one very satisfying movie. The film is based, as I've heard, on a poem about a typical village girl who, in favor of his father, joins the Imperial army on resent against the invading Huns. Disgused as a man named Ping, Mulan sets on an incredible journey, and finds herself changing the course of history forever. This movie interests me for the fact that it is done in great skill, as if the producers were making a live-action epic. The films moments of war matches the very moments of those on big-screen live-action epics. The score by Jerry Goldsmith, one of my favorite composers of all time, gives his best by providing the music, and of course it was great. But when Goldsmith scored this, he wasn't focusing on an animated movie score, but as if he was scoring, perhaps, a David Lean epic.
"Mulan" has always been one of my favorite animated movies. Perhaps, it may just be one of the best animated movies ever. A "Best Picture" movie epic made as an animated feature. If David Lean were to make an epic and threw in some first-rate musical numbers in, it would have been somewhere akin to MULAN.
Rating: ***** out of 5.
I think that Mulan was excellent. For once, characters could roam around without frickin breaking out into song every five minutes. The one thing I hated about all the old Disney movies is that they were practically musicals. This movie probably had fewer songs than any other Disney flick at its time. And also, the songs were cute n' catchy, instead of overwhelmingly cute and sickening. I could actually watch this movie without the urge of just taking out the tape and loading it on a skeet shooter. Hahhahaha. I left this movie saying wow, I actually wouldn't mind watching it again. I recommend this movie for all to see!
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