Alternate Title: China DollMulan (China Doll, Fa Mulan) (1998) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film by Dave Koch
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- Walt Disney Studios
- Animated Characters: Fa Mulan/Fa Ping, Mushu, Captain Li Shang, Yao, Chien-Po, Ling, Chi Fu, Shan-Yu, Fa Zhou, Fa Li, General Li, The Emperor, Grandmother Fa, Cri-Kee, Khan the Horse, Little Brother the Dog.
- Awards: Academy Award Nominee, Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score, 1999.
Golden Globe Award Nominee, Best Original Score, 1999.
Golden Globe Award Nominee, Best Original Song, "Reflection" (Music: Matthew Wilder.
Lyrics David Zippel), 1999.
- Originally Released in 1998.
- Production Number: 233
- Running Time: 88 minutes.
Cartoon Production Information:
This was the 36th film in the official Disney list of animated films.
And yet, despite only a slight retooling of the familiar formula, Mulan is another of those Disney movies that gets past your defenses and makes you realize the power of a good animated movie. The movie's scenes of battle, and of the heroine's coming-of-age, are as good as anything Disney has ever dished up. And the sidekick, a teeny dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy, hits Robin Williams-like heights. The only element that falls short is the songs- nice, but nothing memorable.
Anyone who's been following the Disney studio's renaissance since The Little Mermaid knows that Disney's heroines no longer sit around sweeping the floors while waiting for their princes to come. Mulan's titular heroine is an assertive girl, out of place in demure Chinese society, who disguises herself as a male to take the place of her elderly father in the Imperial Army.
Comparisons to Yentl and G.I. Jane are inevitable. And at first, the movie milks the hulking-machismo stereotypes a little too fervently. Yeah, we know that men can be primitive louts--can we get on with the story, please?
Yet by the time the movie launches the first of its spectacular battle scenes, Mulan has earned its stripes. Snappy sidekicks aside, the movie's emotional appeal is what distinguishes it from recent Disney imitators. Mulan shows that cartoons can still pack as much wallop as any live-action film.
The animation is sweeping and wonderful, and so is the voicework. Ming-Na Wen (of The Joy Luck Club) is endearing as the title character. And Mulan's conscience, in the form of a lizard-sized dragon named Mushu, would seem to be another of those grating, it's-only-a-joke sidekicks--except that Eddie Murphy's hilarious work renders such criticism hollow. ("Star Trek" fans will also delight in hearing the voice of George Takei, the former Mr. Sulu.)
Mulan is in the best tradition of recent Disney animation (including the underrated The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and any studio's truly good family films (such as Babe)- so intelligent and winning, you don't need to bring a kid along as an excuse to enjoy it.
Review By: Steve Bailey
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