Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mulan (1998 Film) Review

The 1998 movie Mulan came out when I was just ten years old and I don't know why I never saw it. Its Disney's take on the classic tale from China, with their own twists of course. Mulan did very well for Disney which made them make a sequel and Mulan is considered a Disney Princess. Which is ironic since she isn't a princess by birth or marriage,  but you know...Disney logic. My wife Daisy brought up the idea of seeing it since she saw it a long time ago on VHS and wanted to re-watch it again. How does Mulan hold up after almost twenty years? Is it a Disney classic or an over-hyped story?
The story is about Mulan of the Fa family. When a warlord named Shan Yu leds his fellow Huns into China, the Emperor takes no chance. He sends word that EVERY family must send one male into the army to fight. However for the Fas the only male in the family is Mulan's father who is semi-elderly and almost handicapped. The whole Fa family realizes that if the father Zhou leaves for war, he'll never come back as he'll easily be killed. Mulan decides to take his armor and fill in his place behind his back. The Fa family can't reveal her actions before the battles starts as if a female is caught trying to impersonate a male soldier then she'll be sentenced to death. So Mulan changes her hair and adopts the name Ping. 
Mulan doesn't exactly fit in well with the rest of the troops but she is helped by a red magical tiny dragon named Mushu. She tries to stay distant so nobody finds out her secret. Their commanding officer is Captain Li Shang who is the son of a notable general, but he has not gotten his post from genetics alone. Captain Li Shang has to train Mulan's comrades before they can march off to war. But since most of them are not real soldiers, it will be a difficult task for Li Shang. But will everyone be able to defeat The Huns when they come for the Emperor? Or will China see a new reign of a new dark and twisted Emperor from a foreign land? 
Overall I'll say Mulan is pretty good but I've seen better works by Disney. The animation still looks good (not amazing but well-done) and the songs are memorable. Since I already heard the origin story of Fa Mulan many years ago, the plot is fairly predictable which dulls the story for me. But it is refreshing to have a story set in China, and Disney was wise to keep the voice-cast made up of mostly Asian voice actors. Mulan II was direct-to-video and my wife wants me to see that with her. But I hear it was pretty bad in comparison to the original, so I think not.

Score: B+


  1. My sister (she will be 30 this year) saw it the last year and she was in love with this cartoon. I don't remember that she was talking about a movie so good before. I forgot to watch it and seems you like it too! So I definetely shouldn't forget about this cartoon this time!

  2. I've heard of this one, but haven't seen it.

  3. Love this movie so much. The singing voice of Mulan is actually a famous Filipino actress I met a long time ago:D She's the original Miss Saigon (London/Broadway production).

  4. My kids liked that movie a lot. I think they still pay a bit of homage to it when you go to Disney World. Thanks for the review.