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Mulan More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An Ambivalent Message

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

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

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 ...

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!


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Disney Heroine Like No Other.

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.

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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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fond memories of my childhood

Author: Angelus2 from United Kingdom
12 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mulan is an only child, daughter to a famed warrior who is called upon once more to fight for his country against invaders, by the Emperor. Mulan knows her father will not survive if he goes to war and so in turn, she disguises herself as a 'Man' and goes in place of her father.

There she must train hard and defend China from the invaders, with the help of Mushu, the guardian Dragon of her Ancestors and a lucky bug, Mulan tries to bond with the sexist men, train and learn the ways of a soldier and defend China.

I can remember watching this movie over and over again, until I knew scene by scene and the lyrics to my favourite song "A Girl Worth Fighting For". So, about a month ago I saw this movie on a channel and thought that it was worth showing to my nieces and nephews. They loved it and in a way I was transported once more into the past as I danced in the living room, with an imaginary Mulan. (I didn't have a lot of friends)

My favourite scene was when Mulan faces down the invaders on the Mountain as she charges towards them with a missile. Epic.

But twelve years on this film still has great voice actors, great direction, story writing and wonderful songs with even greater animation a genuine testament to Disney's reputation as on of the greatest children's movie studio.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A favorite that was discovered later on

Author: batocicero from Canada
1 December 2009

*** 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.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Disney has Done it

Author: RogelioMontana from United States
29 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I believe that this is one of my favorite Disney movies. Maybe what I like so much is that Mulan is not waiting for her prince to come or any damsel in distress deal, but she is an intelligent woman held down by her society. The story: Mulan's father is old but he is called to war. He will probably die. Mulan decides to take his place. This is remarkably unselfish because if she's discovered she will be killed. This shows how much she loves her dear old dad. You just have to see the movie to appreciate it. The songs are amazing ("I'll make a man out of you" Donny Osmond's voice is fantastic). The extra features were also pretty good. I found "I'll make a man out of you" in all different languages very interesting. The animation is great as it shows a lot of the natural beauty of China. So make sure you don't miss one of Disney's greatest(and probably last judging by the way Disney is going down the drain) animated movies. There is a strong message for us all when watching Mulan. The main character, Mulan, represents the cluminess in all of us. She tries very hard to please her parents but always seems to come up short from their expectations until the time is right. I know it was like that for me growing up and for a lot of people i know. Having seen this many times and enjoy it more as time goes by...if i was on a stranded island and can only have 3 DVD movies with me, this would be one of them. Very good storyline and animation as Disney is knowned for, this is one of their best IMO. Highly recommended viewing for all ages!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Guilty Pleasure

Author: alan_nicoll from Lake of the Woods, CA, USA
25 October 2004

This Disney animated has so many terrible flaws that I'm forced to put it in my "guilty pleasures" category. I love this movie, but I wince at the laughable (or insulting) Disney view of ancient Chinese culture and the Disney-typical "cute sidekicks." The animation is uneven: the waving flags are marvelous and must be computer-generated, but the heads of the characters sometimes visibly change shape as they turn left or right. The charging Hun army looks too reminiscent of other CGI scenes and looks cartoony. The character of Mushu (voice by Eddie Murphy) is hilarious but also hilariously miscast. The designs of some characters (The Emperor and Shan-Yu) are grotesque, while other designs (e.g., settings, Mulan's horse) are marvelous. The face of Mulan herself is a crude blank with vividly expressive eyebrows and mouth. The voices of Mulan and her family are very good, the songs are good and the music is magnificent (Jerry Goldsmith). The action scenes are generally exciting while also being laughably illogical. Fortunately, if you can vigorously suspend your disbelief, Mulan is both very funny and somewhat touching.

Alan Nicoll

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