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Disney is one of the kings of exploitation. For every successful (and
unsuccessful) franchise film, there comes tons of merchandising,
original soundtracks and sing-alongs and *shudder* direct-to-video
sequels. Yes, these sequels go direct-to-video because we all know that
they're going to be pretty bad, but parents are always looking for
cheap ways to entertain their children (telling folk tales doesn't work
anymore since no one knows them--another topic that's ripe for academic
study, if it hasn't already been pursued) and so Disney somehow
manages, by keeping their costs low and targeting their niche market,
to keep churning out endless sequels of their hit films.
Mulan has a baby. It goes by the clever name Mulan II. This film, which amazingly contains the voice talent of Ming-Na (in terms of returning talent, that's all you get--ER apparently doesn't cover the bills), contains a cheesy uninspiring message of following your heart. (Even over duty! Oh wait, in the wonderful world of Disney, somehow duty gets accomplished incidentally to following your heart. I like the scary Brothers Grimm better, thank you very much.) Fa Mulan and her general friend/lover/dude are getting married. Stuff happens. More stuff happens. Who cares? Oh yeah, the film is a musical too. Do I remember the songs? Nope. Am I glad that I don't remember them? Yep. The animation was unimpressive, the story was unimpressive, the acting was unimpressive, the exploitation of other cultures by Disney in attempt to capture the almighty dollar? Impressive. It appears as though Disney doesn't really care all that much about their source material as a whole. Chinese history and culture is only so important as it helps Disney make Mulan and its direct-to-video heir to sell to the masses.
So what does this film have going for it? It's not as painful as Little Black Book. But it's close. I watched it on the bus and despite the fact that I wasn't sleepy, I had to the urge to fall asleep just so I could avoid it. If it were night, I would have. I think you can manage to distract kids with this mumbo-jumbo, but honestly, there are far better ways of entertaining your children. 4/10.
Mulan 2 picks up a month after part 1 closes, with Mulan and General
Shang receiving special orders to escort 3 princesses to be wed and
thus create a joined alliance that protects China.
Mulan, the hero of China, and General Shang's love is threatened when Mushu, Mulan's guardian immaturely tries to break them up to save his Guardianship pedestal. The story entreats us with a theme of following your heart, which the princesses find is to be like ordinary girls, and not lose their lives even if to save the kingdom.
I really enjoyed Mulan 1, the soundtrack is beautiful, and though I was worried Mulan 2 would not be as good a story, with close attention to detail due to a few changes to cast and so forth, I was pleasantly surprised. Mulan 2 treats us to a sequel that is both touching, fun, and endearing. I didn't find the soundtrack themes as good as part 1, but was enjoyable, and sequence music was fine as well. The animation is very good, and the story has good pacing, and care of plot. A movie to be enjoyed by parents and kids alike.
I saw a screening of Mulan II held at the Disney Studios, and I was
pleasantly surprised at how nice a film this is. It has heart- in fact,
the theme of the film is about following your heart. Its funny, as you
would assume, but it also surprises you with some VERY effective tender
moments; many people in the screening audience were crying(an audience
comprised mostly of people who worked on the film).
Mulan II picks up a month after Mulan and Shang return. Mulan is widely known and loved as a hero, and is admired particularly by the local girls, who rightly see her as a role model. Mushu, meanwhile, is taking full advantage of his status as a hero, much to the disgust of Mulan's Ancestors, who must attend to his every whim. This is all about to change. The 'gang of three' are back to assist Mulan and Shang on a mission. They're all sent by the Emperor to escort his three daughters to marry princes of another kingdom, in order to form an alliance with that kingdom necessary to save China from an invasion. Things don't quite work out as they are supposed to; Mushu plays the heavy, attempting to break up Mulan and Shang to save his 'lifestyle'.
Overall, Mulan II is a fun ride, with a good story, great animation and a really nice score. The kids will love it, and adults will enjoy watching it with them.
i think this movie was great, but i really like the first one more. i suppose its because the first had more action, humor and better songs. However, the second one was pretty good. it shows us the personality of the characters and it was such a sweet movie. Its says u should follow and trust your heart. Someone had wrote that this is a lame movie and they only quickly made it because they wanted more money- i don't believe this is true. the animators did an excellent job and i was glad they made a second movie. i especially loved the part where Mulan was holding on to Shang and he falls down the mountain. Ming-Na did such an excellent job- it was so so emotional. loved the movie.
I just saw this movie.
1. Very strong emotional movie based on love, relationship and sacrifice. Enough to make you cry.
2. Humorous. Mushu and crik-kee are both very humorous this time around, better than the first movie.
1. Less action than the first movie.
2. Animation is not as detailed as the first movie.
3. Eddie Murphy is not in this show but his replacement still puts on a strong comical performance.
4. No academy award songs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really enjoyed Mulan (the first movie). I went to buy a copy for my little girl recently and found that it was cheaper to buy it WITH Mulan II rather than on its own...so I purchased both together. Mulan II was extremely disappointing. The storyline itself is extremely dark. In Mulan (the original), she runs off to protect her family and father from having to go to war. So, she broke the cultural norms of her day for a virtuous reason. She sacrificed herself and was willing to face the consequences. In Mulan II, the emperor's daughters have sworn (freely) to marry the neighborings kingdom's princes in order to avoid war. Mulan finds this very difficult to accept because she can not understand how this can be a free choice. In the end, the princesses run off with their guards (for true love..they like the same food, they like each other's eyes...really deep stuff). The plot seems to teach kids that following your own wants over the needs of others is fine and lying and manipulating to get there are okay too. Needless to say, I cut up my copy (could not even give it to Salvation Army) Selling Mulan and Mulan II for less than Mulan alone makes perfect sense. Mulan II cheapens the original Mulan. Shame on Disney.
I've always been a big fan of the first Mulan movie and when I heard
about a sequel of course I started waiting for it impatiently. I bought
the movie box which included both Mulan movies and when I saw the
sequel for the first time I didn't like it that much but it was OK. I
would say it's a movie which must be watched two times. I just watched
it again and thought it was great this time! I noticed more things
which I didn't notice first time. It included everything that was
missing in the first movie for example love between Shang and Mulan :)
Of course the original is always better but I'm delighted that Disney
has made a good sequel. I don't see why they couldn't make some TV
series or third movie :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mulan II was terrible because of the ending. What happened to saving China? That was half of the plot and it wasn't even addressed at the end!! What if Peter Jackson just decided to do away with Frodo and Sam in the Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King, after they had been in the first two? Even if you don't like that movie, it's obvious that LOTR fans wouldn't be LOTR fans anymore. There wouldn't be LOTR fans. That's exactly what the director of this movie did. Mulan and Shang got married. That's absolutely wonderful. But the director just completely forgot about saving China? That's totally absurd!! It also seems that Mulan, Shang, the princesses, and those three other guys in their mad love also forgot about saving China. That's not exactly what heroes and heroines do. The rest of the movie was amazingly wonderful, but in my opinion a good movie with a horrible ending that leaves you wondering is a bad movie.
Mulan was one of Disney's greatest films ever made with beautiful
animation, excellent voice acting, intense action, and an entertaining
story. So, when some of the Disney sequels came out at the time (Return
of Jafar, Cinderella II, and Hunchback of Notre Dame II), I waited so
desperately to see a sequel that would capture the magic of the
Sadly, my expectations were quite low when after the first 10-15 minutes of this film since it failed to be the same positive levels that made the original such a masterpiece and the characteristic was one of the few main problems of this sequel. I'll show you by contrasting the characteristic of the original and this sequel.
In the original, Mulan was a conflicted woman who was doing what is right for his family by protecting his father from getting himself killed. In this sequel, Mulan's personality is to now be a staunch feminist as she and Shang try to love each other. In the original, Mushu was a well-intentioned but slightly misguided sidekick who gave me some laughs with his comedic moments throughout the film. In this sequel, he's a selfish villain who attempts to break up the relationship between Mulan and Shang. In the original, Mulan's army buddies were hilarious and were quite enjoyable characters. In this sequel, they are now being one-dimensional characters repeating the same characteristic over and over again.
With the characteristic out of the way, there are a few good things about this movie. The voice acting is very terrific and did their best with the material they've been given and the animation, while below the original's standards, is obviously quite good and is the best animation I've seen in a Disney direct-to-video sequel this far.
Sadly, those two positive aspects got suffered by it's predictable story (with some overused clichés from other new direct-to-video sequels) and it's uninspiring message about "Following your heart" which makes it a little less entertaining for children and their adults.
Although, not a horrible sequel (unlike Cinderella 2, which was by far the worst direct-to-video sequel I have ever seen), Mulan II lacks the heart of the original and has a uninspiring message that just doesn't measure up. I'm sure the kids will enjoy it, but in terms of direct-to-video sequels, the adults might have a hard time remembering this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Alright, I saw this ages ago, and the only parts I can stomach at all
are the first song (not the best I've heard from Disney, but for me,
the best in a sequel they produced direct to DVD that wasn't from
Aladdin) and an opening scene that was completely cut. These two things
and the fact that Ming Na actually came back for the role of voicing
Mulan are completely overcast by the many issues held in this film.
First, I have to say that, aside from the Aladdin sequels (which need to be watched with the TV series as well as the main film to really be appreciated), none of the direct to home entertainment sequels produced by Disney have satisfied truly. So, frankly said, it's not as bad as it could have been, if we were to compare it to other non-theatrical sequels from Disney, if you enjoy them. It's not much to go by, though, in my opinion.
Second, I have to state that a lot of these opinions are formed based on my being a feminist and an Asian-American. The first Mulan was refreshing, since it had clear feminist themes and a vastly understated romantic connect without having to re-imagine the characters from the original material, as Disney has done prior in the '90s. On top of that, the original feature film was actually a fair treatment of Chinese culture, or at least as you'd get from Disney. Yes, the exaggeration of the importance of honor was very much a western viewing of Asian culture that has tired itself out, but all things considered, it was a nice enough representation of Chinese culture to not out right offend. The serious action in the film and the comedic but helpful sidekick of Mushu was also a nice icing to the cake.
In Mulan II, Disney completely disregards all of the things that made Mulan appealing.
To start, a lot of the film feels more like it's about Mushu (who is utterly selfish and unlikable here), Mulan's three war buddies--Ling, Yao and Chien Po--and the three princesses they fall in love with. I honestly couldn't be bothered to care for Mulan and Shang past the first ten minutes and forgot that she's the central character until towards the end. The only good thing in this is that the two trios are endearing, if show-stealers, but not by much.
The next point is that, where the first film simply exaggerates certain Chinese values, the sequel completely disregards them in favor of modern western ideals. The main theme in the first is duty to one's family and nation and the need to find your place in society while also being yourself. The sequel disregards duty in favor of personal desire. This is where Disney throws Chinese values out the window for their ideals of true (but shallow and unrealistic) love. The duty that was key is ignored for love matches, disregarding that the arranged marriage will secure national safety. Forget Asian values; I can't even imagine a soldier that has risked life and reputation for her country would disregard that on a basis of "my duty is to my heart". Nor would three princesses that agreed with their father's request, having likely be reared with the understanding that their position is because of their responsibility to their country. Anyhow, the short version of this point that got away from me is that the sequel disregards a valuable and universal idea of duty in favor of an unnecessary ideal of romance that's overly stressed on girls as is, thus taking away from a good thing and offering less.
The final thing that makes this irksome is the offensive stereotyping this movie contains. Mulan I was actually researched to an extent and the worst of it was the exaggeration of honor and the treatment of women (which was more a dramatic device). While not deeply accurate, there is the illustration that much of the spiritual veneration in medieval China was ancestral, with totem-like guardians being much more secondary and more a device to bring in Mushu. Then, in the sequel, we get the "Great Golden Dragon of Unity". The first mention of this Dragon of Unity had me honestly asking, "What the hell is this, Disney?" aloud while watching Mulan II. It's such a blatantly stereotypical fabrication on Disney's part that I wouldn't be surprised to see it in Vegas as a tourist trap in some Chinese-themed casino and drive-thru chapel. The fabrication of the nation "Qui Gong" (again, a verbal comment was made at this mention, along the lines of, "The country of Energy Flow? Said incorrectly?") is also eye-roll worthy, as well as several other Chinese-stereotyping features throughout the film.
These are the kind of stereotypes that are actually limiting what Asian entertainers can get jobs portraying in major western entertainment, and I can only picture the cast cringing internally at they things they had to say and see after getting to do the first film. I feel especially bad for Gedde Watanabe, since he's basically back to being in a film with the same stereotypes he had to do in Sixteen Candles twenty-one years before.
At least he's not named for a duck's donger in this one...
Honestly, my only advice is to borrow it from your local library if you seriously want to subject your kids or yourself to this, and if you had as bad a taste in your mouth as I did after credits roll, watch the deleted opening scene. Five minutes of cut footage gave me all of what I enjoyed in Mulan; scenery, action, and nice dialog between Mulan and Shang that only is outright romantic at the end. It only made it to pencils and storyboards with voice overs, but it's the best the movie has to offer.
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