Mulan (1998) Poster

(1998)

User Reviews

Review this title
235 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Why Mulan sticks out as a great Disney film.
Skeletors_Hood29 October 2004
I was impressed by this Disney film for so many reasons, too many to list here, but I will go on the record as saying that Mulan has got to be one of the best Disney female characters that ever saw production, in the midst of a colorful and artistic film, that will resonate in your memory.

Mulan sticks out in my mind for this reason. For once, we have a strong female lead, or at the least, stronger than most of them. She isn't counted among the Disney "princesses" line-up. She doesn't want for herself, and she seeks to look deeper within herself to discover her inner being. She isn't like Ariel, who wants to be someone else. She isn't like Jasmine, who sits in luxury, waiting to be swept off her feet by Prince Charming, just like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and almost any female character that Disney brings to life. And while she does share some traits among this list, she stands out because she does something that these do not. She uses her mind.

Mulan, in fact, has more in common with male Disney leads than the female Disney leads. Mulan is a thinker, and a do-er. She's resourceful, like Aladdin. She is quick to act, like Eric (mermaid.) And she sacrifices herself for the sake of others, like Hercules. She also speaks her mind, even in a culture that does not allow such a thing. She doesn't waste time pining about "will I ever find true love?" Indeed, we see that she has an attraction to Shang (as he was her husband in the legends,) but we see her uncomfortable and unsure of meeting the Match-maker. She begs for her father's life when Chi-Fu came to the village. When you see her make her decision to take her father's place in the army, she does so out of her love for him, valuing his life above hers. She doesn't wish to become a man to see what it is like or for a change. Only to save his life. She later doubts herself and her reasons for going, but she did so because of her inner strengths, something other female Disney leads too often lack. (And it is these strengths that Shang is attracted to at the end.)

This movie also has a simple, but very effective villain, Shan Yu. Though not as memorable as Jafar or Ursula, he is more effective and more menacing because he is not fantastic. By that, I mean that he is not magical, he holds no special power. He is portrayed as a man, and as a man that could have truly existed, performing vicious acts that men do. We see the destruction that his army lays to a village, and when Mulan finds the doll, it shows that Shan Yu left no one living, man, woman or child. This is what makes him so effective as a villain, showing how truly human he indeed is. Granted, the producers did not develop him in any great depth, but they showed enough of him to remind us of his threat to China. Besides, sometimes the better villains are the ones you don't know too much about, or see a lot of.

Of the rest of the supporting cast, I will only mention four of them as being memorable in any real way. Chi-Fu, the emperor's consultant, was a reminder of the way many men looked at women in this culture. He thrusts his head up when Mulan begs for her father's life, and when she is discovered to be a woman, though she is a hero, he is quick to insult her, and to order her execution, simply because she impersonated a man. The other three were, of course, her comrades, Ling, Yao, and Chian Po. Though they were mainly comic relief (almost like a 3 stooges set,) they remained loyal to Mulan and trusted her fully, even after she was discovered. I like them, because they were not discriminatory to her in any way, even trying to stop her execution. When Mulan told them she had an idea to help the emperor faster, they were the first to her side, even when Shang was still reluctant to do so.

Overall, a wonderful movie to the Disney list. If you haven't seen it, then do so, you won't regret it.

And yes, Mushu was a cool character as well.

**** In Response to an earlier post by Phoenix-1 **** To expect any movie to accurately portray history in any way is lunacy. Even those movies that come close to historical accuracy are flawed in many ways. This was a way of telling a story, as any movie is. It can be argued that it tries to provoke curiosity in another culture, but it is also meant to entertain. I would also like to point out that Mulan is really not "historical," like Joan of Arc, but rather she is a legend, much like Hercules and Aladdin, who also come from the realm of myth, stories and legends. And while there is some difference between the original legend and this movie, your examples of how Disney would butcher tales of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln do not compare to this story in any way. Your arguments for comparison should be better applied to Pocahontas, as she was an actual historical figure.
167 out of 177 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Disney comes through with yet another animated masterpiece, and this one goes by the name Mulan.
chrisbrown645317 June 2002
Mulan is a young girl in ancient China. When the Huns start attacking the country, the Emperor orders one member of every family to join the Chinese Army and defend the country. The one member must be a man, but in Mulan's family, the only male is her injured father. Not wanting to allow her father to die, Mulan dresses like a man, and escapes into the night to join the war. To protect her, the ancient elders of her family ask the great Stone Dragon to watch over her. Unfortunately, the great Stone Dragon is destroyed by the little tiny dragon Mushu (Eddie Murphy). So with Mushu and a small cricket by her side, Mulan heads off to help destroy the Huns.

I think we can all guess what happens. Mulan, although a woman, manages to save the day. The plot line isn't really a surprise when you break it down. And the animation is, by now, expected to be great, and Mulan certainly lives up to the great Disney tradition. It's the story and the feeling you get that makes this movie so wonderful. Disney went through a lot to make sure it's depiction of ancient China was accurate. From the decorations on the walls, to the matchmakers, to the great honor in family, Disney manages to show what the country of China was like, and in many ways, still is today. Following the Disney tradition, there is a strong female character, this time taking lead. There are the over the top bad guys, and of course, the comic relief. Eddie Murphy was just down right hilarious in this movie. I wish they had showed more of him. The songs were sort of a change of pace, with Matthew Wilder and Jerry Goldsmith doing the honors, and not the venerable Alan Menken. The music was good, but the lyrics in some of the songs were weak.

The reason I feel Mulan was better than recent Disney fare like Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dame is because it had a much more lively feel to it. Hercules was very dark, animation-wise. Everything was centered on the color blue, so it didn't feel alive. And The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a more adult story, and some of the scenes were very dark and broody. Mulan took a simple plot, put it in ancient China, and made it very colorful and fun to watch. It was light, and "Disney" enough for kids to enjoy, while still being adult enough for the parents to enjoy.

Overall, I'd say Mulan is definitely one to watch. Disney animation has done it again.
70 out of 81 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
The growth of the typical Disney heroine
Emma973 December 1998
There are two things I love about this movie, aside from its stunning and beautiful animation. One is that I love the fact that Disney is exploring legends from other cultures and I am so glad it brought us this one. The other is that I just wanted to stand up and cheer at this great heroine. I am a huge fan of Disney movies, but most of the heroines, while spunky, are still just your basic damsel in distress. I loved Mulan's character. She was strong, she was powerful, she could do anything she wanted, and she overcame much diversity. I was thrilled to see the portrayal of a strong female character surviving because of her own integrity and strength rather than because of her looks. Bravo, Disney, for bringing us this wonderfully progressive Chinese tale.
42 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.
Jessica Carvalho21 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
One of the reasons why I like Mulan so much, is because she is independent and braver than many of the female characters from Disney, who looks always to be searching for a man to be the reason for them to live or to be happy. Mulan is lovely, but also a tomboy what always gives her problems. Since the story takes place in a China of more than 1.000 years ago, women from that time, more than in the present days, needed to have an outstanding behavior all the time and with everybody.Being the only kid her parents had in a time where women didn't have many rights,Mulan is pressed to marry with a good catch. One day, she is going to see the matchmaker but everything goes wrong,since she is clumsy and not very graceful. Being accused that she '' will never bring honor to her family'', Mulan stays sad and depressed, and so stays her parents. But the chance to change that awful prophecy comes quick when the Emperor's men started to call one man from every family to serve in the Imperial Army: since Mulan's father was no longer young and healthy, Mulan reported to the army with a new name and looks. But she needed to make this a secret, because it was against the Chinese laws to a woman be a soldier, so, with the help of the dragon of the family called Mushu,one of the coolest adventures from Disney's starts.
16 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
More Disney Magic -- Historically Accurate Legend
mdm-111 June 2005
There are too few "girl" heroes in stories. According to Chinese legend, Mulan, the only child of an aging soldier, disguised herself as a male to take her sickly father's place fighting evil invaders. While in the disguise of a loyal soldier to the emperor, Mulan falls in love with her commander, who does not suspect the deception. When Mulan saves the entire fighting forces, what she managed to hide up to that point is discovered: She is a girl masquerading as a man. Rather than punish Mulan with death, the commander sends her away (presumably to die). In the end Mulan is honored with a medal for bravery by the Emperor himself. Although "only" a female, she had saved the entire empire from certain doom.

The finest moment is the scene where her father says "I am proud to call you daughter". Legend or history, this is a fine example of telling a story centering around a girl, rather than the countless tales celebrating boys as heroes. Like so many other recent animated Disney features, this is yet another gem in the treasure chest of Walt Disney Studios.
59 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
I really liked this Disney flick that seemed to slip between the cracks
MartinHafer10 June 2007
In the 1990s, I felt that Disney made quite a few undistinguished cartoons following Aladdin. Unlike most of the world, I wasn't all that enamored with THE LION KING and subsequent offerings such as the wretched HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and POCAHONTAS were huge disappointments. Sure, POCAHONTAS is a lovely film to watch, but it's so wrong historically and it's so politically correct and hokey. And as for HUNCHBACK, the story was so dark and unappealing, I have no idea WHO the intended audience was. So it was in this context that I expected to hate or at least be underwhelmed by MULAN. Instead, it seemed fresh, well-made, humorous and fun--something distinctly missing from these other films. While the anachronistic aspect of having a lady warrior is problematic, for once Disney had another strong and likable female lead following Belle in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. This was a definite home-run for Disney and well worth your time whether you are a child or an adult.
10 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Great Movie for little girls
lichan-18 January 2006
I have a 4.5 year old daughter who is going through the princess phase. We read lots of fairy tales etc and its very difficult to find a fairy tale where the princess is strong and resourceful. Most of the time they are pretty passive and the worst one is sleeping beauty. I find myself treading a fine line between letting her enjoy the fairy tale and occasionally commenting on the fact that perhaps some of these princesses just don't do enough to help themselves and how they can help themselves a little bit more. I don't want to destroy her pleasure in these fairy tales, after all, I loved them too. But it took me a while as adult to see how the subconscious message of helplessness in these fairy tales can reinforce the existing values of society and parents that girls are meant to be saved.

So it is a great pleasure to be able to show my daughter a story of a strong and intelligent girl - Mu Lan and its great that Mu Lan and we are both ethnically Chinese. Here is a heroine who is resourceful, uses her brains, saves the Captain and China. We draw many discussion points from the story, such as why it is that women were not allowed to join the army, the value of trying hard and training and practising hard, what is discipline and why it is needed to succeed, using your brains and thinking of how to solve a problem, not just using brute strength, etc. Even some politics - like why did the Hun king want the Emperor to bow to him and why the Emperor wouldn't bow to him but would bow to Mulan. My challenge is the explain things in a way which is both accurate and yet understandable to a 4 year old. My daughter loves the story because Mulan does a lot of "saving".

My daughter has probably watch the movie only 3 times coz I limit TV and video a lot. But she'll ask me to tell her the story in my own words, based on the video. It works out great.

The fact that the movie Mulan captivates me as an adult also helps. There's only so much I can enjoy of a barney video.

I definitely recommend this movie to parents with young girls, as a good place to start talking about being a strong and intelligent woman. Another good one is Beauty and the Beast. I've not seen Pocahontas so I can't comment on that.
72 out of 92 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Another great Disney
rbverhoef19 May 2003
I can't think of a single animated feature film done by Disney that I don't like. For some reason they never bore me and they never feel the same. The classics like 'Snow White' and 'Cinderella' are great but I think I like the newer ones ('The Little Mermaid', 'Beauty and the Beast', 'The Lion King') even more. 'Mulan' definitely belongs to the best ones.

Mulan is a girl who doesn't do much right. For the honor of her family she joins the army instead of her father. She takes his gear and runs off. She pretends to be a man and does the training to go to war against the Huns who invaded China.

With some nice new songs, great music by Jerry Goldsmith and beautiful animations this is a real Disney. A little dragon called Mushu is helping her on the way. He is send by the ancestors. The voice of Mushu is from Eddie Murphy and he does a very great job. With a quick and good story and a lot of funny moments this is a great movie.
49 out of 61 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Delightful Animated Girl Hero who Breaks with Disney Traditions
noralee8 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"Mulan" is not quite a chick flick and it's much better than "Pochantas."

It has terrific animation and I forgot I was even watching animation. The script has some funny lines.

The music is not great (the writers didn't ring any bells with me as to their past work) but good lyrics. I was disappointed that the music wasn't as Asianish as "Lion King" is Africanish. And the final rap is a bit off-putting, though the segue into the Stevie Wonder song was fun.

Eddie Murray isn't Robin Williams but he's fun. At least they do use quite a few Asian actors' voices - Wing Na Wen ("E.R."), George Takei ("Star Trek"), B.D. Wong ("Oz") Pat Morita ("Karate Kid").

I think "Mulan" is the first Disney animation post-Katzenberg and there's a couple of digs at him and responses to the criticisms of how he did the girl stars. There was a lot of criticism of how Katzenberg personally insisted on Jasmine in "Aladdin"s impossible Barbie shape and "Mulan" takes that on with a line about how stupid it is to want such a narrow waist. Definitely a much more positive body image movie than under the Katzenberg regime.

There's no dead mother syndrome here, well for Mulan anyway. The Captain's mother isn't mentioned. Not only is there a mom, but even a grandmom. The father is still Freudian - he's wounded. All the Disney dads of daughters have some incapacity or other or tragic flaw.

Refreshingly, there's no wedding at the end with birds chirping as a canopy. The courting is assumed and the grandmom invites the captain to live there forever--but Mulan shuts her up.

(originally written 7/23/1998)
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Excellent, if a little different
King_Opossum31 March 2000
Now I must admit I wasn't sure about this one. MULAN seemed to break most of my preconceived rules on Disney movies. These included the fairytale element - a cross-dressing Chinese soldier doesn't have the same magical appeal as, say, the son of the Greek gods searching for his birthright, etc etc. Also, this verge towards realism meant that the bad guy would not be as appealing - Disney villains are camp, over-the-top thespians by rule - Jeremy Irons in THE LION KING for example. I was concerned about the absence of king-of-melody composer Alan Menken, whose wonderful songs encapsulate the charm of Disney.

However, that said, I thought this film was wonderful. The characters were well thought out and expertly drawn. Not enough songs were present for my liking, but those that were fit perfectly with the story, and the chance to hear the wonderful voice of Lea Salonga (Mulan's songs) is worth the price of this film alone. Eddie Murphy has managed to be as good, if not better, than Robin Williams as the comic sidekick. And the film's conclusion is as genuine and as heartfelt as any adaptation of this story. The mountain scene contains some of the best animation I have seen from Disney, and the rousing score from maestro Jerry Goldsmith accompanies the action superbly.

This may not turn out to be a classic in the same way as THE LION KING and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, but I enjoyed it immensely. Go see it now!!!
28 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Despite a few weak songs this is a great cartoon
bob the moo26 December 2003
Mulan is a tomboy of sorts - not something that is looked for in a Chinese wife, and she causes constant worry and dishonour to her family. When the Huns attack China, the Emperor commands each family to put one man forward to fight. With Mulan's aged father the only man of the family it looks like he must fight, but Mulan dresses as a man and takes his place. With the help of dragon Mushu, Mulan overcomes her status as a woman to help take on the Hun.

I wasn't sure I would like this film as I have grown a little tired of the Disney formula of `songs, romance and smartassed comedy sidekicks', which Mulan sticks to pretty well, however I did really enjoy this film. I think it was mainly because of the sweep of the story, the big battles and the majestic feel to the movie. The plot moves swiftly and felt like it was all over too quickly. It has the usual mix of laughs for parents and kids as well as having quite a good story behind it all.

The only major weakness is the songs. I didn't exactly start tapping my feet at any of them and, while they are not bad per se, they aren't great and after a few lines I was wanting to skip past them (but couldn't - it was showing on TV). Asides from these the film is funny and quite dramatic and is good fun to watch. The cast are good. Ming-Na is a good Mulan while Murphy rehearses for Shrek with his smart mouthed dragon that gets plenty of good laughs. DB Wong is a good actor but has a `straight' role and doesn't distinguish himself. I was worried at first by the presence of Harvey Fierstein, but he did good work and wasn't half as irritating as he usually is.

With colourful animation that is good without being Pixar, this is a good cartoon that is fun, funny and, at times, dramatic. I'm not a big fan of Disney over the last few years but I did really enjoy this film and would watch it again.
48 out of 65 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
A surprise pleasure to watch
Kristine20 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I really held back from Disney's later animated features, most of them started to slid down hill after The Lion King, excluding The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but it seemed like Mulan was going to be a disappointment for Disney. It turned out to be an actual pleasure watching this film. It had great animation, a good soundtrack, and a wonderful story about courage and strength.

Mulan is a girl in China who is ready for marriage but seems like she isn't ready to settle down in this man's world where she must have permission to speak and only cook and please her husband. When her father is called to war, she fears for his life and dresses like him and fights in his place disguised as him. Mushu, her "guardian" dragon per say, comes to help her out and make sure she doesn't get herself killed out there in battle. She also falls for the captain that doesn't kill her when he finds out her secret.

It is a visually stunning masterpiece that I am glad that I had a chance to watch. It had great morals and values for children, even if it was a bit unrealistic, we have to let go. Still, I don't think a film will compare yet to The Lion King or Beauty and The Beast, but Mulan is a treasure of it's own.

7/10
21 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Mulan
chrisalexa28 April 2007
A great story..I have always been impressed by China's history,by its culture..even though this film is fiction but even so..I like it!..A girl,Mulan,who wants to save his father from going to war and die in battle...a little dragon,Mushu,who tries to convince the ancestors of the Fa family that he can do something important without messing up things around him..a bug who thinks he's lucky and it seems that he really has lot of luck..and a brave horse and companion,Khan..they all decide to help Mulan in war..that's the plot of the story...In the end everything turns out OK and Shang and Mulan fall in love.. I recommend this movie to everyone..and I hope you'll like it as much as I did..or who knows?even more..
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I loved it...
Chris Engelbrecht29 December 2000
Ok... I've read through most of the posted comments posted before this about this movie; I find that some people love the music, but think the characters are thin; some hate Eddie Murphy's presence, and think the love story is stupid. Well, your experience with a film is individual, I guess.

That said, I'll follow the trail and state why I loved watching this movie not once, but several times:

First of all, I'm far from being a fan of animated Disney classics. I'm in that age between child and adult(currently 23), where everything is a rebelry. Most of my viewing pleasures is action or its like.

My original incentive for seeing this movie was to please a friend of mine, who has a long-life fascination for oriental culture (read: karate films!). When Mulan was released in Denmark, a single copy with the original voices track (usually all animated Disneys are dubbed into danish with good result) was shown in a local theater. Asking a couple of girls out, we went and saw it. Ok, I was blown away. Before I had left the cinema that day, I too was captured by chinese history and culture. The singing and music I was prepared for; I knew The Jungle Book and Aristocats from childhood. The songs didn't mean anything to me, other than that they were few - good for me. (Some of them do kling to the ear - irritating for me!) I quickly realised Eddie Murphy was on the voices cast. I started liking the movie right then. Some find him malplaced in a Disney epic, but fact is that the business of animating classics is profiting well these years in bringing in already established names to the animations; Tom Hanks in the Toy Stories, Mel Gibson in Pocahontas, Robin Williams in Aladdin, and who else I don't know of. These names sell the film before the film have a chance to sell itself. (The danish producers, by the way, have stolen this idea when dubbing the films, using local media stars for the voice cast.) Well...it did work for me. Eddie Murphy is not as funny in this production as he is in others, but what the heck...he can't exactly use too much harsh language, it IS a children's flick. But with the room he got, his speedy tongue made me laugh again and again. I have later seen Aladdin, and find Eddie Murphy's achievement as funny as Robin Williams'. That Eddie Murphy chose this project was an interesting and probably very clever career move. Later, when I studied the rest of the cast list, I noticed a lot of chinese names. That very much pleased me. Who other than Chinese people to tell a Chinese tale to Westerners? I found some old friends, Soon-Tek Oh and James Hong, people who had worked with Chick Norris in the 80's. Pat Morita as the emperor made me smile. B.D.Wong I remembered from Jurrasic Park, but Ming-Na was new to me (had to look her up in IMDB, was stunned not to have known her before (Ok, I went wow!)). Harvey Fierstein as a ploppy little soldier and Miguel Ferrer as the Hun leader I found the perfect voice-choice for their characters...other names rang also. Anyway, a lot of the above have only value after you've seen the film. When you are an Atlantic ocean from most of the sales pitch, the film had to sell itself. It did - for me, anyway. Before then, I knew little about China and her history apart from things here and there (read: karate films!). Meeting angient China like this totally threw me away. Wership of the ancestors, the power and position of the emperor, I found myself lost in the dream of a world long gone; I loved the image of a China with different traditions but still found myself attracted to the pro-Disney story about a girl standing up to a culture's sexist prejudice. (I do find the plot a bit silly, actually, but I let myself be taken away...it's just a Disney.) Agree, the characters lack a little bit, the love story of Mulan and Shang should perhaps have had a few more frames to play with. The project was a little bit tuned down from the Disney board of directors, but honor to all who worked with it: You people did a good job! The computer animation used for the Great Wall and the attack of the Huns startles me again and again; Not many live movies can do the job as good.

So that's what Mulan is for me...The dream of ancient China and Eddie Murphy's speedy tongue. I accept the term classic. I have the damn thing on video now (English language) and must prevent myself from seeing it too often, in fright of one day getting tired of it.
28 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Brave and Magical.
Elswet28 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Witty, amusing little Disney movie, regardless of the horrid song element.

I'm not a fan of the Disney musical formula. I do not like the made-for-five-year-old song element found in most Disney animations, so I tend to just ignore those sections except in movies such as "Beauty and the Beast," where that activity is just not possible. I therefore avoid the movie itself, as often as I can.

This movie, has much of that Disney musical element, which for me, lowers the value of the movie.

However, the animation is far better than that of other later Disney movies, and the backgrounds are well done, which is a delightful surprise.

Disney has taken to ignoring detail, of late, which is a major disappointment for those of us who watch these movies for the animation quality.

The story itself is really very compelling, innovative, and strong. I thoroughly enjoyed this Disney attempt, although I am sure, as with all Disney sequels, they will screw up the animation quality and background value in Mulan 2. And I fully appreciated the comedic element provided by Eddie Murphy.

It rates an 8.2/10 from...

the Fiend :.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Young lady poses as a man to save her father.
mbrockhaus28 October 2004
What I wouldn't give to be able to see this movie for the first time again. This Disney Musical/Comedy/Drama was a delightful surprise for both me and my

daughter. The artful animation(watch the smoke) the terrific songs like "Be a Man", the laugh out loud antics of Eddie Murphy's Mushu, and a heroic, feisty, and really likable Mulan help make this movie truly special. Every time I take it down from the video shelf I'm surprised at how good it is. Some of the subject matter isn't appropriate for small children. The movie does remind us of the historical repression of women and the sorrow of war, which adds meaning to

the story. But overall the film is lots of fun. So "Be a Man" and watch this movie!
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Be a man & watch this movie!
ironhorse_iv9 April 2013
Warning: 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.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Mulan kicks butt without wires!
Fox in Socks11 July 2002
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.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Wow.
sherbear-212 May 2001
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.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Another great Disney modern
Mario Rodgers25 September 2000
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.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Thank you Disney, for making mulan so great!
BeautifulSinner11 March 2008
Mulan is a well-known ancient folktale in Chinese history. It tells the story of mulan, who disguises herself as a man and goes to the war to protect the country in place of her aged father, and finally returns as a national hero/heroine. Although the story of mulan was evidently modified from its original, Disney did a fantastic job at retelling the story, and delivered it through the beautiful hand-drawn animation that has been lost to us for many years. As a Chinese myself, I know the mulan story like millions of Chinese people do. Some people (espcially Chinese people) may not like the Disney version of mulan simply because Disney didn't stay true to the original, but i feel somewhat differently about this. Not only did i have no problem with Disney's decision to make modifications to mulan's story, I actually kinda appreciate that they did. Cuz Disney's retelling of mulan turned out to be rather amazing, and even better than the original in my opinion. I mean, the original story is great, but it lacks fun and humor, which you can find in Disney's mulan. In the Disney version, Mulan is an outgoing, smart, and independent young woman who has difficulty fitting in the more traditional and reserved ancient Chinese society, where a woman's value is judged by marrying into a good family and being a good wife. So naturally this creates conflict and inner struggle for mulan, and thus brings out the musical number "reflection" that expresses mulan frustrations and desires. This song is so beautifully written and the lyrics have such meaningful morals and depth that it touches me every time i hear it, and I'm a guy! This song can certainly relate to a great many of young people, not only girls but also boys, cuz its central theme is all the same, that is to be your true self regardless the environment that you in. And now back to the movie, there's a lot to love about Disney's mulan: the story, the fun characters, the songs and music, the beautiful animation, etc. The story is smoothly-paced and very believable. You have no problem understanding why things happen the way they do and why mulan has taken certain actions. And I think Disney created the characters very successfully because they made them look like real Chinese people instead of the classic Disney characters that we used to see. And they made the backgrounds in the animation look like beautiful Chinese landscape paintings, which really amazed me! And the opening of the movie is probably one of the most brilliant among the Disney animation features. I was completely blown away when i first saw it in the theater. Although Disney didn't completely stay true to the original mulan, it stayed true to the spirit of the original story and the spirit of china in most part! And as Mulan being a Chinese story, i think Disney did its best to make it look like and feel like Chinese, and i really appreciate their effort. So thank you Disney, for making mulan so great!
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
excellent movie
rebelnerd15 July 2006
I first saw this movie as a little kid, but I still enjoy it now that i'm 15. I consider this to be one of the first GOOD movies to come out of that greedy capitalist hellhole called Disney in years. Some of the arguments against it have been ridiculous.

"It's racist!" Oh come on people, it's supposed to be and adventure/war movie, not a remake of Ghandi! The Huns are bad, the Chinese are good because that's how it was in the ancient legend. A movie like this is not supposed to put political correctness before entertainment.

"It's discriminating against men!" Lighten up, please. I'm a guy and I wasn't offended by this. It's from Mulan's perspective, and I think it's safe to say she was somewhat prejudiced. Besides, Shang was cool. There was nothing wrong with him.

"It's too violent!" I hate to break it to you, but war happens. Yes, there are fields of bodies. Yes, the bad guys kill people. Yes, it might scare little kids. But seriously, the evening news is way more violent. These things happen, and if your kids never know about it then they're going to be pretty freaked out when they first encounter the real world.

In short, Mulan is a great movie for anybody who doesn't want they're kids to live in a bubble. It's got action, romance, friendship, the whole works, and would have been great even if it wasn't animated.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
How animated films should be
patrick_dunne30 December 2005
I must say, Mulan is a truly wonderful film. It used to be one of my favorites as a kid.

It deals with ancient China, where only men could join the army. To fight the invading Hans, the government recruits men to join the army to fight the invaders. This affects Mulan's small family. Mulan is reluctant to have her father fight in the war, because she knows he could easily die, so she steals his armor and sword and sets off to join the army as a man. She later gets a companion named Mushu (voices by Eddie Murphy) who is a miniature and funny dragon sent by the ancestors. And so our story begins….

I really loved this movie. First of all, he story deals with a semi-sexist community, and one of the people who are considered lower, stands out from the rest. I found this to be very dramatic, and it reminds me of other movies, such as Rabbit-Proof Fence, where the despised half-castes run away from the cruel camp. This is a similar situation.

Second of all, the film is very funny. Eddie Murphy shows off his comedic talents when playing the role of Mushu. It's rather silly at times, but it doesn't hurt to laugh. I thought one of the funniest scenes was the bath scene, but it was pretty gross though.

Third of all, the animation is superbly detailed. The characters do look a bit funny, but the artists defiantly took their time in making this wonderful film.

Mulan is very powerful, very detailed and very funny- just like all animated films should be. I don't know why this isn't in the top 50 animated films. It's wonderful.

8.5/10
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
One of the best...
ginger_sling1 June 2006
Now, I'm sixteen and I still watch Disney movies more than any other type of movies out there, so some people consider me pretty childish. I don't know if that'll hurt my opinion on this film or not, but I'm giving my opinion anyways.

Mulan is probably one of the best Disney movies of all time. It, along with the Lion King and the Lion King II are probably the only movies I can watch more than once in a day. And yes, I have watched Mulan more than once in a day. And I've rewound (it's VHS. I still live in the '90s. Get over it) some parts over and over during those viewings. This movie is just so fantastic I can hardly put it into words. The music isn't tiresome or annoying like some Disney movies, the message is strong and a good one, and there are some dark elements in it that won't scare the children but will provide a little extra entertainment for adults.

I personally think that this movie should be in every household - whether there are children or teenagers or adults watching, it's fantastic.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews