Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Mulan

Walt Disney Animation Studios 36th feature film.
Walt Disney Animation Studios 36th feature film.

http://putlocker.bz/watch-mulan-online-free-putlocker.html

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that it is pretty good. I do not really see much wrong with it, as I do think the simplicity in the film worked really well, and helped it quality wise over it’s 3 predecessors. While I do think that Mulan needed a bit more characterization that makes her stand out a bit more, and some of the ch in the movie, and it is well paced. There is a lot to like about this movie.

Production

Production for this film started in 1994, and it was intended to be a China Doll straight-to-video short about a Chinese woman falling in love with a British man. The studio was also interested in the Chinese poem called “The Song of Fa Mu Lan”, so they decided to combine the 2 projects. The studio went to China in the same year for 3 weeks to complete drawings and get inspiration.

This is also the first of 3 movies in the canon (Brother Bear and Lilo and Stitch being the others) to be primarily animated in the Orlando, Florida studio. The studio decided to use a simpler design compared to its predecessors to give the Chinese feeling. Many programs and softwares were created for this project.

Story

The film starts with The Huns and it’s leader Shan Yu (Migual Ferrer) invading China, and a guard lighting The Great Wall of China to alert the entire country that they have been attacked. This causes General Li (James Shigeta) and a few other officials go to the Palace to speak of the matter with The Emperor (Pat Morita), and offers to have soldiers surround the temple to protect the Emperor, bu he refuses and tells them to get Soldiers to protect China, and that he will have a conscription notice sent around his kingdom.

We are then introduced to our protagonist Mulan (Ming-Na Wen), who is writing cheat notes on her arm as to how to pass her matchmaking test. From this and having her dog feed the chicken already established that Mulan is lazy. When she goes to her father Fa Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh) to give him tea, she almost breaks everything, and he tells her that she is late. We are then shown Fa Li (Freda Foh Shen) and her mother in law Grandmother Fa June Foray) worrying about Mulan running late, since the matchmaker is not patient, and she has to take a bath and get a makeover first. Wait. Isn’t that stuff that is supposed to be done AT THE HOUSE?

We are introduced to the first of 4 (the smallest amount of songs in a movie since......The Great Mouse Detective).  Anyways, this is a really good song. This gives us insight on how the entire stmosphere of the world she is living in thinks like, and both genders feel strongly about honor being the most important thing, and that passing the matchmaker test is extremely important to females. Honor is a running theme throughout this movie. I like that they have Mulan willingly go along with this instead of the (why can't I choose who I want to be in love with? Like the past 2.......3 Disney princesses.
We are introduced to the first of 4 (the smallest amount of songs in a movie since……The Great Mouse Detective).
Anyways, this is a really good song. This gives us insight on how the entire atmosphere of the world she is living in thinks like, and both genders feel strongly about honor being the most important thing, and that passing the matchmaker test is extremely important to females. Honor is a running theme throughout this movie. I like that they have Mulan willingly go along with this instead of the (why can’t I choose who I want to be in love with? Like the past 2…….3 Disney princesses). This song also shows what the typical girl in that era and area should be; calm, demure, and obedient, and is great to see how much she contrasts from that.

So she is the first to go to the Matchmaker, and gets a mark deducted when she says “here” for talking without permission. The cricket Cric-Kee (Frank Welker) that she is given by her grandmother decides to hop around, which somehow ends with the matchmaker being put on fire, and Mulan having to put it out by throwing the tea on her. She quickly leaves with the woman yelling that she will NEVER give her family honor, no matter how much she looks like a bride. She is disappointed, which leads into the song Reflection.

I think Reflection is okay. She is singing about how she does not recognize herself and that if she acts like who she is on the inside, her family would be disappointed, but during the movie, it is made clear that she does not really know who she is. Not one of the stronger Renaissance songs.

Anyways, her and her father share a nice moment of him comforting her, but then the Army shows up and tells all the families that they have to conscript one man from each family to fight the war. This is an issue because Fa Zhou is too old and injured to fight. Mulan tries to stop her father from going, but Chi Fu (James Hong) tells him that he needs to teach his daughter to stay in a woman’s place and shut the fuck up (their words, not mine), with her father saying she dishonored him. After a tense dinner, she decides to run off, and……

This little moment is the defining moment of the movie. The score, animation, action, and everything is perfectly executed, leaving a lasting impression, all without words. I do not even know I have the courage to do this for my family, so I give her props.
This little moment is the defining moment of the movie. The score, animation, action, and everything is perfectly executed, leaving a lasting impression, all without words. I do not even know I have the courage to do this for my family, so I give her props.

So Grandmother Fa gets a vision from……who knows what; about Mulan leaving the home, which she runs to tell her son and daughter in law. Fa Li is worried because she will be killed, but there is nothing they can do.

In the Fa  Ancestry…….Ghost Residence, Mushu (Eddie Murphy) is ordered to wake the spirits of her ancestors. Okay, I have to say this; Eddie Murphy is pretty annoying and out of place. He does not grate me, but I think that hiring an African American man who is known for being a comedian, in a film about Ancient China is an issue for me. I liked so much that most of the cast was asian, which was rare for Disney at this point to actually cast a voice actor that is the ethnicity of the character (Aladdin had an all white cast, and all of the films beforehand), but it is just a nitpick-ish. So he is told to wake up The Great Stone Dragon to protect her, but after he screws that up, he decides to run off and protect her himself.

We then see 2 soldiers run into he Huns, and Shan Yu tells them to tell The Emperor to bring it on. He then subtly tells one of his men to kill a soldier, since you only need one person to send a message. So Mulan meets Eddie Murphy Mushu and she realizes that he is the ancestor supposed to protect her.

So at the campsite, Shang (BD Wong) is promoted to  a Commander by his father (who soon abandons him.......forever.....for......you know how Disney can almost never avoid a parental death), and it is revealed that he is fresh off of school. Now I am going to get all the hearsay ab out Shang out of the way. There IS a possibility that Shang is a bit attracted to Ping, and there is a possibility that his attraction shot up when he found out she was a girl. Let's just come to a consensus that he is bisexual. Next...
So at the campsite, Shang (BD Wong) is promoted to a Commander by his father (who soon abandons him…….forever…..for……you know how Disney can almost never avoid a parental death), and it is revealed that he is fresh off of school.
Now I am going to get all the hearsay ab out Shang out of the way. There IS a possibility that Shang is a bit attracted to Ping, and there is a possibility that his attraction shot up when he found out she was a girl. Let’s just come to a consensus that he is bisexual. Next…

So he goes outside to see everyone beating one another up, but it all goes back to Mulan. When she interacts with Shang for the first time, she is nervous, and her Dragon Murphy tells her to name herself Ping. Th entire camp now hates her because they have to clean up all the mess they made when they fought. It is the next morning, and Mulan is late, so she rushes to the other soldiers. She manages to barely beat Shang, who takes his shirt off, causing Mulan to restrain from having an orgasm right there and then (have you looked at her face?). This causes us to lead into our third excuse to not waste much time on the development on the training site song I’ll Make a Man Out of You. I have to say; I like how this song not only develops Mulan, but the sidekicks Yao (Harvey Fierstein), Ling (Gedde Watanabe), and Chien-Po (Jerry Tondo), and Shang. Actually, I think this song focuses more on Shang, as it shows his struggle, persistence, and impatience with the training, since this is his chance of proving he is something.

The boring, pathetically colored villain Shan Yu finds a doll, and decides to return it to her, which will lead him to kill General Li and all of the soldiers there. So Mulan decides to take a bath, and the 3 sidekicks join in, and apologizes for how they acted to her, and offers to start over. They then stare at Yao’s dick like it is the heavenliest sight they have ever seen.

Wooowwwwwy.
Wooowwwwwy.

So Mushu saves her, as he bites Ling, causing all of them to run. As she returns from her shower, she sees Chi Fu and Shang getting into an argument about whether the men are ready to fight or not. Shang says they have completed their training, but Chi Fu thinks they are incompetent ninnies, and that they will never see battle with the notes he wrote to the Emperor. After that is situated, Mushu and Cri-Kee sneak into the tent to change the letter, so they will go to war.

This leads us to our final song A Girl Worth Fighting For, and it is here when I realize that Shang is not straight. ALL of the men (including Chi Fu) are singing about how they want to bang a girl out after they are done war, and cause a Chinese version of the baby Boomers. Why the hell is Shang not singing? Isn’t he sexually frustrated as well? MAJOR side eye Shang. Anyways, the song ends with….

Mulan

Shang has a moment where he gives condolences with his father before he demands everyone (who feels sorry for him) to keep it moving. Thanks to Mushu and Cri-Kee, they blow a cannon, giving the Huns (who are watching their every move) a signal to attack. They shoot the canons at the mountains, where only some of the Huns are. After they defeat that set, a bunch; no….hundreds of Huns are waiting on the upper hillside. They run to them like little children trying to catch the Ice Cream truck and attack. We get a long, intense, climatic fight scene between the two sides, and Mulan takes the last canon to shoot at the mountain (so it will fall on them). During the process, Shan Yu cuts her, and the others have to save her and Shang (who she grabbed onto, as he was about to fall) from the avalanche. When they are saved, Shang tells her that he owes her his life, but she soon passes out.

After a doctor shows up, it is revealed that Ping is a girl, and Shang enters, and is somewhat relieved (yall cannot tell me no different) , angry, and hurt by the deception. Chi Fu orders him to kill her like the law provided (so this must have happened beforehand if there is a law for it), but he spares her, as his debt is repaid. They all leave to head back to Imperial China, and leave her by herself. She sees the Huns reappear from the snow to make it back to Imperial China, and after she has a pity party for herself about being a failure, she rushes back to her team to warn them.

So when she makes it, all of the soldiers but Fu are saddened, and when she tries to warn Shang, he s pretty much saying “Girl, bye” to her, but she refuses, as it is important. When he ignores her, she tells the others to watch out, as she knows they are here. She is upset that no one is listening to her, with Mushu saying that it is because she is a girl. Speaking of Mushu, I forgot to mention earlier that he was a Protector of the family, but after he failed with a soldier, he was demoted to an assistant, so he is helping Mulan to get his job back.

I am tired, so I am going to wrap this section up pretty quickly. the Huns show up and kidnap the Emperor, the soldiers listen to Mulan (with Shang following her lead), Shang gets his ass whopped by Shan Yu, and Mulan and Yu go at it, beating him with her wit and quick logic; trapping him on the roof for Mushu to light a canon to kill Shan Yu. The Emperor honors her, all of China bows to her, Shang is too nervous to make a move, he follows her to her house by the encouragement of the Emperor, she reconciles with her father, and Shang joins them for dinner, which excites Fa Li and Grandmother Fa (I am sure they did not want Mulan to be a prude). She thanks Mushu for all of his help, as they end with Eddie Murphy singing. Really?

The story is very engaging. It is well paced, action-packed, heart warming, and knows when to take itself seriously. Yes, Eddie Murphy does distract from the movie, but does not destroy it. I wish they took a but more time with them being trained, but it is a nitpick. I cannot really say anything that is wrong with the story. It  is subtle, not over the top like most of it's predecessors in the era, and sticks with what it is. It handles Chinese culture well enough, and it makes the characters and sexes seem equal in portrayal, meaning, and execution.
The story is very engaging. It is well paced, action-packed, heart warming, and knows when to take itself seriously. Yes, Eddie Murphy does distract from the movie, but does not destroy it. I wish they took a but more time with them being trained, but it is a nitpick. I cannot really say anything that is wrong with the story. It is subtle, not over the top like most of it’s predecessors in the era, and sticks with what it is. It handles Chinese culture well enough, and it makes the characters and sexes seem equal in portrayal, meaning, and execution.

Characters

What I will say is this; the characters are likable. Are they the deepest and the most engaging? No. But they so have some depth, and are almost always a joy to watch….most of them.

Mulan is a different case for the Disney females. She is very laidback, and go-with-the-flow. She is not really adventurous, very family oriented, outspoken, and lazy, but the issue is that almost all of these traits are downplayed, which does not make them the most interesting person to watch. She is still one of my favourite characters, but I have to be fair. I like that she has to find confidence in herself, and will only succeed when she is herself; not a girly girl, or a tomboy, but just herself.
Mulan is a different case for the Disney females. She is very laidback, and go-with-the-flow. She is not really adventurous, very family oriented, outspoken, and lazy, but the issue is that almost all of these traits are downplayed, which does not make them the most interesting person to watch. She is still one of my favourite characters, but I have to be fair. I like that she has to find confidence in herself, and will only succeed when she is herself; not a girly girl, or a tomboy, but just herself.
The issue I have with him is that he does not seem like an actual character; but just Eddie Murphy as a dragon. He does have his own arc of trying to prove that he can be a guardian again, and it is done decently, but he suffers form what Genie suffers from. He is too closely identified with his voice actor.
The issue I have with him is that he does not seem like an actual character; but just Eddie Murphy as a dragon. He does have his own arc of trying to prove that he can be a guardian again, and it is done decently, but he suffers from what Genie suffers from. He is too closely identified with his voice actor.
I like how he is not really romantic (he is not in the position to), and that is his main focus. He is actually one of those boys who have been focused in their training and stuff and comes off as hard, but underneath, are a little boy. In his first scene, he is overly enthused about his new position, and he has something else to prove as well. He is serious, strong, determined, heroic, selfless, and is a character that is relatable. I am glad that they did not make him perfect and one note. When you actually look at him, there is more to him than being a stick in the mud.
I like how he is not really romantic (he is not in the position to), and that is his main focus. He is actually one of those boys who have been focused in their training and stuff and comes off as hard, but underneath, are a little boy. In his first scene, he is overly enthused about his new position, and he has something else to prove as well. He is serious, strong, determined, heroic, selfless, and is a character that is relatable. I am glad that they did not make him perfect and one note. When you actually look at him, there is more to him than being a stick in the mud.
He is generic, and not even a character, but a plot point. What is his motivation? Can we get a SMALL backstory? He is just so dull and forgettable. I get that he is all like "Let's kill them", bu in order to be an engaging villain and character, you need to be more than that. He is not bad, but just forgettable, a bit bland and flat.
He is generic, and not even a character, but a plot point. What is his motivation? Can we get a SMALL backstory? He is just so dull and forgettable. I get that he is all like “Let’s kill them”, bu in order to be an engaging villain and character, you need to be more than that. He is not bad, but just forgettable, a bit bland and flat.
They are funny and likable. I like how...the fat one is the pacifist type, the short one is all muscular and macho, and I like how the scrawny one is an ego-maniac wanabee. They work off really well together.
They are funny and likable. I like how…the fat one is the pacifist type, the short one is all muscular and macho, and I like how the scrawny one is an ego-maniac wanabee. They work off really well together.
While Shang is the likable stick in the mud, he is the unlikable stick in the mud. He is always so negative about everything, grouchy, and extremely prejudice. Just a miserable soul.
While Shang is the likable stick in the mud, he is the unlikable stick in the mud. He is always so negative about everything, grouchy, and extremely prejudice. Just a miserable soul.
He is a likable father. Not too traditional or modern, loving, honorable, and supportive, though he does have his limits. His relationship with his daughter is done really well;, and I like how it is not so overexaggerated like the father daughter relationships in the early renaissance.
He is a likable father. Not too traditional or modern, loving, honorable, and supportive, though he does have his limits. His relationship with his daughter is done really well;, and I like how it is not so over exaggerated like the father daughter relationships in the early renaissance.
She is the typical mother.
She is the typical mother.
She is the hip and funny grandmother.
She is the hip and funny grandmother.

Animation

What I will say about the animation is that it is simple. That is not a bad thing; but a good thing, because it gives off that Ancient Chinese art feeling in the animation, which works off really well. I do think some of the character designs are somewhat dull, but that is just me. Pretty good, but not the best I have seen.

Music

The score is awesome. It has the epic, adventurous theme, but it is very Chinese, meaning that it sounds like the instruments and music that they play in China. You do not feel a 1990s pop feeling to any of the songs or the score. Speaking about the songs, I like how they cut it down to 4 songs, since this film would not benefit from the grand 7 musical numbers. Not the best songs, but they do hold their own.

Reception at Release

When the film was released on June 19th, 1998, it opened at #2 behind the X-Files, making 22.8 million on opening weekend. Overall, it made $120,620,254 domestically, and $183,700,000 internationally, making $304,320,254 overall. This is one of the lower-grossing films of the Renaissance, making more than Hercules, The Rescuers Down Under, and The Little Mermaid, but being outgrossed by all the others.

This is the highest critical reception the studio received since The Lion King. Many liked how they handled gender roles and stereotypes, the engaging story, likable characters, and that it is a small film that acknowledges it, and it’s simplicity makes it stand out.

It won many Annies (including Best Animated Feature; first to get that award since Pocahontas), and has a record breaking amount of Annie nominations and wins. It also got many nominations for Best Score, by places like the Golden Globes, and the Academy Awards. Reflections also got a few nominations, and Christina Aguilera’s cover launched her career.

Reception Today

Today, it is seen as one of the better films in the canon and the best of the Late-Renaissance films (some even saying it is as god as the Big 4). Mulan is in the Disney Princess lineup, but she (and her film) has not been really marketed in theme parks and merchandise after it’s release. Disney still acknowledges it, and it is not seen as a failure, but it is not one of the Top films in the canon.

Final Score

Story: 8.5/10

Characters: 7.5/10

Animation: 8.5/10

Music: 8/10

= 32.5/40 = 81%

Next Time..

Review: August 25th, 2014
Review: August 25th, 2014
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18 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Mulan

  1. I really like this movie, but I can see where you’re coming from on Shan-Yu, though I do think UnshavedMouse did give an interesting take on why Shan-Yu is better than most might think, particularly for this movie. By the way, did you see the deleted scene with him and his soldiers, and a concept of him seeing what his falcon (or whatever type of bird it is) sees? Maybe that could have provided SOMETHING of a backstory if they went a bit further with it? Here’s the link:

    I do have to wonder, now that I think about it, when Shan-Yu swipes at Mulan with his sword after she causes the avalanche why she doesn’t feel the pain then but after the avalanche is over she feels it? Did the situation at hand force her not to feel the pain until it was over? Do you say it’s a plothole or more of a nitpick?

    Can’t wait to read your Tarzan review. Keep up the good work!

    1. I forgot about what UnshavedMouse said about Shan-Yu. It is just that he is really unmemorable and lackluster to me. I just watched the scene, and it would have been interesting for them to go into that aspect of him, but they clearly chose that it is annoying. He is just flat.

      I know that there are certain times that pain does not immediately come when an injury suffices, so that could have been the case, especially with the circumstance.

      Thank you.

  2. I love Mulan. First Disney Princess to have a body count! She also saves China in a DRESS which she chose herself, which is great to see. But I don’t think that the character designs are really boring. Mulan has very expressive eyebrows that stand out. But her design is pretty inconsistent and becomes more masculine when she dresses as a soldier. Her lips change color, she has no blush, and her eyelashes disappear (and reappear when she is caught). Which Disney film is better to you? Mulan or Tarzan?

    1. I disagree with Mulan really having expressive eyebrows. Or at least something that really stands out. Yes, it is definitely clear that her design (her face) is definitely changed when she is dressed as a man, which shows in the jawbones and eyebrows.

      I honestly do not know which film is better. I have to say that both are pretty much on par with one another.

  3. I think the Mulan and Shang are more layered characters than any Disney Princesses and Princes which came before them Shan Yu is not one of the big Disney Villains, but he is a perfect fit for the story they like to tell. And I really like Mushu, though I usually watch the movie in German, because he is dubbed way better in this version (the English dubbing of this movie is in general a little bit flat…with most of the newer Disney movies, I go for the English version, but this one is one of the few exceptions).

    All in all this is a movie I liked well enough when I watched it first, but I didn’t love it. But with every watch, I liked it a little bit better.

    1. I don’t know about them being more layered than all of their predecessors, and I am actually surprised you said that because I know how much you love how some of their predecessors have so many layers.

      I do have to admit that the English voice acting is a bit flat.

      This is one of the first Disney moves I have watched, so it holds a special place in mt heart. I cannot believe that we are entering the Post-Renaissance already (wrote most of the reviews in that era).

      1. Well, I think the right word would be not “layers” and more character development…as much as I like most of the older Disney movies, they are not exactly big on character development, before Mulan, not the character changed, their circumstances did. Belle, Arielle aso are exactly the same characters at the end of the movie than they are at the start, just with a few experiences more. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, just another way of story telling. But Mulan is different in that Mulan really changes during the movie…as a soldier she overcomes some of her fault (she starts out as kind of lazy), and the Mulan at the end of the movie is a grown up version of the Mulan at the start. More confident, with new abilities, and with a new outlook on what is important in life. For me, she was the first of the “modern” princesses, even though her movie still counts in the Renaissance era. Tarzan also develops more than most leads before him.

    1. Yes, I remember that you were not very fond of this film. I understand though. There are certain films that make you feel almost nothing, no negative or positive feelings. To be fair, this film is not the most…..exciting one.

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