Friday, August 26, 2011

Disn-A-Thon: Mulan (1998)

This retelling of the old Chinese folktale is about the story of a young Chinese maiden who learns that her weakened and lame father is to be called up into the army in order to fight the invading Huns. Knowing that he would never survive the rigours of war in his state, she decides to disguise herself and join in his place. Unknown to her, her ancestors are aware of this and to prevent it, they order a tiny disgraced dragon, Mushu to join her in order to force her to abandon her plan. He agrees, but when he meets Mulan, he learns that she cannot be dissuaded and so decides to help her in the perilous times ahead. [imdb]
Alright, I've given Disney a lot of grief over most of the past few films I've watched... but I have to say that I like Mulan. In fact, I think I like it more every time I watch it.  Perhaps it's just one of those movies that grows on you, or maybe it has to do with the shit movies that came just before it.  Either way, this is a nice movie.

Based on an old Chinese poem and legend, Mulan is a film about a young girl who defends her country and family's honour by going to war disguised as a boy.  Obviously, they threw in a moral of something about how one person can make a difference or whatever...

Anyways, the makers of the film went to China (of course) to study a lot of the architecture, landscape, art, heritage, culture, etc. for research.  I'd have to say they actually did a very good job conveying that in the art and style of the movie.  Even the music fits well with the cultural aspect.

Eddie Murphy kind of plays the "Genie from Aladdin" role in this movie, and he really does a good job at it.  A lot of the time, he's a bit too over-the-top for me (ie, annoying), but I think he was the perfect fit for this role.  I also enjoyed the little cricket, who was designed by Joe Grant, who had been a character designer as early on as Snow White.  It really had a classic Disney feel to it, obviously due to Grant.

While the movie isn't perfect, the audio commentary track was fun simply because the writers would actually make jokes about all the various times the viewer needed to suspend their disbelief.  To me, this makes a movie even more enjoyable, simply by knowing the film-makers obviously were aware of any lack of realism.

Whelp, I definitely think Mulan is a few steps up from the last few... If you haven't seen it recently, I'd suggest it.