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Mulan movie review

Grant McGinnity

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Mulan is an animated movie that was produced by Walt Disney animation directed by Tony Baccroft. Released in 1998, it stars Ming-Na-Wen as Mulan and Eddie Murphy as the lovable dragon Mushu. Mulan was originally a poem first published in the 6th century. The real Mulan supposedly lived around 386CE–536CE).

Mulan details the story of a girl named Mulan who has just reached the age where she will get married. She is a very different girl and brings dishonor to her family due to her poor performance at being a woman. When a man representing the government of China brings news that every family must send one man to fight the advancing Huns, Mulan decides to secretly take her father’s place because he is to old and weak. In this time, women were not allowed to be in the army, so Mulan has to disguise herself and goes by the alias Ping. Eventually her disguise is blown, and on her way back home she discovers that the Huns are planning on killing the Emperor. She then meets back up with the army tells them of her discovery and makes a plan to stop the Huns. She succeeds and brings honor to her family.

Mulan captures the classical Chinese era culture, but has many fictional events and characters to make the movie more kid-friendly. The film looks like China with its interesting arched roofs, and the snowy mountains. The people all wear the garbs and robes that are appropriate for the setting. They also show Confucianist and Daoism beliefs such as earning honor, being loyal to the emperor, respecting your elders, remembering you ancestors, and women having less rights than men. The story the movie details is very fictional. There was never a talking dragon named Mushu who is friends with a cricket who help a girl hatch a crazy plan that involves men crossdressing to save the emperor from Huns. Mulan is based off an old poem and it is believed she was a real person, but the movie is far more expansive and adds a lot of new characters such as Mushu.

Mulan takes place in classical China around 386-535 ce, but the actual year is never stated.The clothes such as what the ladies wear when trying to seduce men are all accurate to Chinese culture in the classical era. Mulan never gives specific city names; they just call the capital Imperial City and stuff like that. But you can clearly see they took inspiration from real classical Chinese building based off of the style of building shown in the film.

Mulan is one of my favorite Disney films. It has good voice acting and it is well animated with scenes that look great. Whether is the huge battles or just Mulan walking through her garden, there is always a lot of color and life, and it’s not dark a dull. The pacing is very well done. The movie is never choppy or hard to follow and it never drags. Every scene has something funny or intriguing going on. They never waste a minute of screen time, and all the build up always pays off, such as Mulan sneaking into the army or the huge set piece at the Emperor’s palace near the end. Mushu is a very funny character and, unlike in most films targeted for kids, he wasn’t an annoying comic relief character. He isn’t overused, and Eddie Murphy did great voice work and he steals the show in most of the scenes he is in.

Overall, I don’t suggest watching Mulan to better understand ancient China because not a historic film, but I do recommend it. Mulan is a fun movie with little to no flaws good acting and it looks great even though its nearly 20 years old.

Rating 9/10

 

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