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Mulan
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Mulan More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Spoiler Alert!

10/10
Author: shakiajcorcoran from United States
29 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We are all accustomed to the usual beautiful princess who needs a prince to rescue them; that is not the case for Mulan who proves herself not to be a damsel in distress, but a warrior who saves all of China. She accomplishes this amazing task along with vivid characters and defeats all odds against her. It was not just a film, though, it was an epic depiction based on a true story of Hua Mulan, a real warrior who fought in the invasion of China. The Disney film Mulan captures the timelessness of Ballad of Mulan and reintroduces it in a way that appeals to viewers of all ages, displaying empowerment as a trait all girls can possess, overall an excellent movie with clear cut theme and plot without losing its authenticity. Mulan, released in 1998, was a screenplay written by Robert D. San Souci. Fa Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) was the only child of her ill father Fa Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh) and mother Fa Li (Freda Foh Shen), both decent farmers. The story begins with Mulan having a meeting with the matchmaker to find a suitable husband, but Mulan is not as poised and graceful enough to impress the matchmaker and ultimately dismissed and labeled a disgrace. Soon after her father is summoned by the councilman Chi Fu (James Hong) to serve in battle. Chinese culture collects one male from each family, if the father is summoned, a son can volunteer to assume his position; although in this family, there is no son to volunteer. A brave and determined Mulan, afraid to lose her father, decides she is going to take his place disguising herself as his son. Since women cannot participate in war she had the challenge of concealing her identity as well as living up to expectations as a male warrior. Li Shan (B.D Wong) is assigned to train the recruitments for battle. Mulan was not as trained and skilled as most of the males so she was met with challenges. After training was over with Mulan was at the top of her class, and soon her identity was revealed and she was released from the roster. She was a determined warrior she returned leading to victory against Shan Yu with the help of some friends and began her budding romance with Li Shang. In addition to the incredible Disney film, it's not only for the television screen, the story has roots. Mulan is actually based on a real person and a real account in history. Mulan is based on a ballad written anonymously during the Ming Dynasty telling the legend Hua Mulan. There of course are subtle differences in the ballad and film, such as the fact that Hua Mulan was fairly skilled in weapons and combat, overtly Mulan was not. What makes this fact special is the time period (1368 C.E-1644 C.E.) where there were strict roles that men and women should follow, especially in Chinese culture. But Mulan differed all regulation and ultimately became a popular figure in Chinese history. Selflessly she took the place of her father in risk of being exiled, killed, or worse. It inspired me even, not to allow anything to become a hindrance and to continue to be selfless one day it may be recognized as greatness. Needless to say, the ballad sets the movie apart from any other Disney film. Characterization is important in any film, they give it dynamics and set the tone. This is a critical movie, but the tone can be very light hearted given the vivacious characters. Mulan is given an ancestor spirit in the form of a little red dragon named Mushu (Eddie Murphy) he adds a comical twist although he is very wise. The characters were well thought out and given an identity, even the minor characters were complex. Warriors and friends of Mulan's like Ling, Yao, and Chien-Po were supporting characters who, like Li Shang, learned to accept Mulan's motives and forgive her deceit. Then you have the obvious static character like Shan Yu whose ultimate goal was to kill the last of the Chinese warriors. Moreover, the voice behind the characters were all of Asian descent (given very few exceptions), I found that intriguing and it gave the roles even more distinction. Characterization provided in this film gave the story the tone it needed to reach out to the audience, without losing the culture. This film happens to be a family favorite, it's always on the list when binge watching Disney films. After its release it was nominated for an Oscar award, and ranked number 2 in the box office, rightly so. Without bias this film has been underrated, I believe it gives hope to female youth. It gives off a sense of empowerment and bravery over all odds. In this story you do not need a prince to rescue you from a tower guarded by dragons; in this case the dragon was her accomplice and she saved her prince. If you were to ever ask who my favorite Disney "princess" is I would tell you Mulan. Although she is not a princess, she has just as much nobility on film and in history.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"Let's go kick some Hunny buns! Yee-ha!"

6/10
Author: utgard14 from USA
8 September 2015

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.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Murphy Breaths Comedic Life Into a Dragon.

7/10
Author: Python Hyena from Canada
24 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mulan (1998): Dir: Barry Cook, Tony Bancroft / Voices: Ming Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, B.D. Wong, Harvey Fierstein, Miguel Ferrer: Glorious and enchanting animation regarding the war on China in which one male from every household must venture. Mulan is a teenage girl discouraged of past failures. Her father is not well enough to fight so she cuts her hair and sets out in the night while her parents are asleep. Well placed humour takes affect as she attempts to act manly during training. While plot is typical, structure is formula but its ending bares the message. Directed by Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft with beautiful animated appeal that will appeal to family audiences although it isn't as broad as the best of Disney animations. Ming Na Wen voices Mulan who undertakes a massive task. It is obvious that she will be the hero she never was and that her family will be honored, etc. Eddie Murphy steals scenes as Mulan's dragon guardian who is not exactly what he appears. Murphy steals every scene as the voice of this little red creature. Other voice talents accompany very flat personalities. B.D. Wong voices the commander whom Mulan is under but he serves only as a tight ass and eventual romantic prop. Harvey Fierstein voices one of the other loons under command. Although screenplay is thin it does pass as hilarious with a broad message of endurance and family loyalty. Score: 7 / 10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Very Good Character

8/10
Author: Hitchcoc from United States
24 June 2015

I took my kids to this film when it was first released. I had not seen it since. My daughter holds it in high regard. It is quite a nice film. Mulan, the title character, is being groomed to marry, following the various requirements of one in her position. I would be interested to see how Chinese people today would accept or reject her as a character. The empire is being invaded by the Huns and one member of each family must go fight. Since she is an only child, her frail father must again put on his military uniform and go to fight. He can barely walk and it is horrible for Mulan to watch. She cuts her hair, dons the military clothing, and sets out to join the fray. She is accompanied by a dragon that the spirits have given her out of fear for her safety. Unfortunately, he is relatively useless. Played by Eddie Murphy, he is pretty much the same character as Donkey from Shrek. His mouth flaps constantly with no filter. Once she enters the service, she must maintain her boy-ness and perform deeds that make her useful to them. Her successes are often accidental, but she begins to be seen as a force to her fellow warriors. The Huns are enormous and dangerous, and she must eventually face off the with their leader, no easy task. This is all about having no standing in a culture of sexism that has been around for centuries. This would be quite inspiring for young girls.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An Ambivalent Message

5/10
Author: JackCerf from United States
8 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is not quite the story of self realization and female empowerment that the commercial and internet reviewers are calling it. If she is a role model for the independent girl, Mulan is a very ambivalent one.

Mulan does balk at being married off by the matchmaker, she does go off to war, and she does prove to be not only tough and brave but the smartest soldier in her outfit. She twice saves the life of Li Shang's, her commanding officer and love interest, and she kills the chief of the Huns. The Emperor, who says "A girl like this doesn't come along every dynasty," gratefully offers her a seat on the Imperial Council.

Having seen the wider world at its ugliest in wartime, Mulan is uncomfortable with her newly won status. She turns down the offer because, she says, she has been away from her family too long. Prodded by the Emperor, the deeply smitten but none too swift Li Shang follows to court her. As the movie ends, it is perfectly clear that she will marry him, with the enthusiastic support of her mother and grandmother, who had despaired of ever marrying her off.

Li Shang is brave, conscientious, honorable, from a good family, and not all that smart. You can see him 30 years later in his father the general, a dignified, worthy man who gets his army massacred by the Huns. He is still an excellent match for Mulan and her family, and she is an excellent match for him. He'll love and honor her in very comfortable surroundings as he pursues a career at court. She'll run the marriage and bring some brains and spirit into the Li gene pool. Their sons should do very well.

Their daughters are another story. The Emperor sees Mulan as something that "doesn't come along every dynasty," not as an example of half the population of his realm. And Mulan turns down that seat on the Imperial Council. Her family comes first, and she's been successful enough already. She turns her back on her own exceptional quality. Mulan doesn't put on a glass slipper, but she makes her own glass ceiling.

If the movie has a message for girls, it is that the wider world of men is a nasty, hard and dangerous place. Having a successful career there when you're young is good because it wins you respect and puts you in touch with a much better class of husband material when the time comes to leave your career behind, go home, and settle down with your own family. Mulan's courage, spirit and intelligence raise her out of the marriage market to which she appears foredoomed in the first reel, only to win her the one extraordinary man whom she deserves in the last.

Mulan is popular entertainment shrewdly and successfully designed to appeal to an audience that favors gender equality in principle but is ambivalent about its price. While we'd like our daughters to do well in their own right, we'd also like them to mother our grandchildren. Mulan is all in favor of young women of intelligence and spirit going out to prove themselves in the world run by men, but it is equally in favor of their settling down with the right young man to carry on the family after they have gotten the career thing out of their system.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One Of The Best Disney Animated Musical Features

10/10
Author: Desertman84 from United States
3 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mulan is an animated musical film directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook.It is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan,who is a girl pretends to be a man and takes her father's place in the army. Ming-Na, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer and BD Wong together with Miguel Ferrer,Harvey Fierstein,Beth Fowler,George Takei and Pat Morita provided voice to the characters.The screenplay was written by Rita Hsiao, Philip LaZebnik, Chris Sanders, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer, and Raymond Singer.

It is set in China during the Han Dynasty. Fa Mulan is the only daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou. She impersonates a man and takes her father's place during a general conscription to counter a fictitious Hun invasion led by Shan Yu. Along with her guardian dragon Mushu, her captain, Li Shang, a lucky cricket and her companions, Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po, she battles the invading Hun army.

Exploring themes of family duty and honor, this movie breaks new ground as a Disney film, while still bringing vibrant animation and sprightly characters to the screen.What's terrific about it is its reaching for emotions that other movies run from: family love and duty, personal honor and group commitment, obedience and ingenuity.Overall, this is a lovely film, ranking with the best of Disney's animated features while taking on serious issues of war, honor, gender roles and family pride.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The girl who saved China

9/10
Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
2 May 2012

*** 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 it.

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!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An awesome Disney movie for so many reasons ...

8/10
Author: rebecky14 from Australia
3 April 2012

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!

8/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Disney Heroine Like No Other.

10/10
Author: Dawalk-1 from Hialeah, Florida
26 March 2012

I remember first seeing and hearing previews/ads of this Disney animated feature over a decade ago, when it was set for a summer release back in '98. Before then, I hadn't heard of the original Mulan legend, so I would've thought that this was a completely original film by Disney and there was no inspiration for it to take and adapt or remake. I never saw this in theaters, which looking back on it, I wish I had, but I would own it later when it was brought to VHS since my mother bought a copy of it for me from a Wal-Mart and I'm so glad she did.

And since seeing this, it has been my most favorite or just one of my most favorite Disney animated movies. One of the reasons why I love it so much and what I love about it is the fact that it has a heroine who appeals to both the male and female genders. The eponymous character seems to be the first to do so and I think that's such a great thing. Another is it's a jam-packed, action-adventure thrill ride that will keep y'all on the edge of your seats. I like the fact it was made at the now defunct Disney Animation Studio in my home-state, Florida.

What separates Mulan from the other Disney heroines is when she decides to fill in for her father by joining the army (since she has no brothers and he has no sons). She proves that women can be action heroes too. Evidently as she succeeds in helping defeat the Huns. For me and probably most other males, she's my most favorite Disney heroine and I'd also consider her to be the best. The moments with Mushu and Cri-Kee are great too. I wish the former's musical number could've been possible to make it into the final cut of the movie.

Anyway, if no one reading this has already seen it, I recommend to see it for yourselves. It's not to be passed.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A great movie that entertains with honor.

10/10
Author: kevinxirau from United States
21 December 2011

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.

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