Anthony's Film Review
An average Disney animated film, but at least it explores another new setting...
For decades, Walt Disney Pictures enchanted us with many captivating stories. They're not just memorable for plot and character. Setting is also an important element, one that carries equal weight with plot and character. We have seen a variety of mythologies, cultures, and places featured in Disney films. To name a few, you have the Arabian desert for Aladdin, a city in France for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, England for Mary Poppins, and the open land of Africa for The Lion King. By moving to a new place each time, there is always the chance to find a new story to tell.
That was my reason for checking out the 1998 Disney animated film Mulan. Ancient China was another place a Disney film had yet to explore. In addition, the story is about proving one's worth and not letting customs get in the way. Mulan, voiced by Ming-Na Wen, learns that her father is about to be drafted off to war, but she doesn't want that. To protect him, she joins the army, pretending to be a boy the whole time. It's interesting to see this process as both a plot device and a source of humor.
I will admit the animation is pretty good. The supporting characters, including the army's general, have enough personality in them. And of course, like most Disney animated films, you have the sidekick. Here, it's a little dragon named Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy. I do think the character has some good humorous moments. At the same time, he's nowhere close to Robin Williams's Genie from Aladdin, who was hysterical and unforgettable.
The only other thing I'll mention is the action. There are really two action scenes that, I would say, are the highlight of the movie. One involves the opposing army charging on horseback. Just seeing hundreds, or even thousands of horses running across a snowy mountain, is pretty cool. Then there's the climactic action sequence. It involves a mix of excitement and even some humor, enough to keep me close to the edge of my seat (not necessarily on it, but you get the idea).
Mulan really is really just an average Disney animated film, not a great one. The formula is there, but the flavor is mild. This is one of those movies that you might consider watching when you're done watching all the really good ones. It's one that you're better off seeing without paying for it, like if you borrow it from a video store or a friend. If you want to list all the Disney movies you have yet to see, don't put Mulan in the top half of the list. At least put it somewhere in the middle, because it's still good enough to watch and not exactly horrible.
For more information about Mulan, visit the Internet Movie Database.