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Mulan (1998)

  Directed by: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook
Starring: Ming-Na, Eddie Murphy, B.D. Wong
Links: Mulan on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Cartoon/Animation

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Mulan (1998) is also mentioned in mino's review of A Bug's Life (1998) and pearly's review of Shrek (2001).

"Disney animation that's rich with tradition" - a review by pearly

When China is invaded by Huns, one male from each family is drafted to fight against the intruders. In Mulan's family, the only male is her father, who is getting on in years. Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na), who is not quite as dainty as is expected of a young Chinese woman, and therefore feeling left out of the things regular girls her age do, dresses up in fighting gear and, disguised as a male, takes her father's place, stowing away during the night.

Mulan's family, realising what she has done, call their ancestors to look over and protect Mulan while she is away. Upon his insistence, the ancestors send Mushu (Eddie Murphy) a little demoted dragon who is also looking for a way to gain the respect of his peers. It looks like the strange Mushu might prove to be more harm than help for Mulan, but she'll have to make do with what she's given.

Mulan is a Disney flick that seems to be aimed at a slightly older audience than some of their others (say, The Tigger Movie (2000), for example). It is a more adult story, but the general themes and morals apply to everyone, as is always the case with a Disney movie.

Also as usual with Disney movies, there is a main character who has a "humourous" sidekick. In the case of Mulan, the sidekick is Murphy's Mushu. I'm not a fan of Murphy, and I found Mushu to be one of the most annoying aspects of Mulan, but hopefully the kids love him. This role was probably the stepping stone for his later role as animated sidekick in Shrek (2001), in which he plays Donkey.

Other than Mushu, Mulan is a gorgeous film, if a little too romantic / sugary sweet for my tastes. It is almost like Disney's attempt at anime, and is quite beautiful to watch (China is great setting for visuals). Mulan almost seems like a simplified precursor to the absolutely brilliant Spirited Away (2001).

After watching Mulan, I had a flick through the special features on the DVD. One of the songs in the movie is called Reflection, sung by one Christina Aguilera. Watching in 2003, I could not believe how she looked back in 1998! Have a look - she looks like a regular person! If you scroll down that page, you can see how she's changed over time, kinda freaky really. Who would have thought...?

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 8 Jan 2004

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