Reviewed by: Kyle Suggs
dragons and dinosaurs—discover how they are connected
dragons in the Bible
coming of age
girl disguised as boy
father daughter relationship
bravery / courage
training for battle
swords in the Bible
Chinese mysticism and spiritism / ancestor worship
Ming-Na Wen … Mulan (voice)
Eddie Murphy … Mushu (voice)
Miguel Ferrer … Shan-Yu (voice)
Pat Morita … The Emperor (voice)
Harvey Fierstein … Yao (voice)
Freda Foh Shen … Fa Li (voice)
June Foray … Grandmother Fa (voice)
James Hong … Chi Fu (voice)
Miriam Margolyes … The Matchmaker (voice)
Marni Nixon … Grandmother Fa (singing voice)
Soon-Tek Oh … Fa Zhou (voice)
Donny Osmond … Shang (singing voice)
Lea Salonga … Mulan (singing voice)
BD Wong … Shang (voice)
James Shigeta … General Li (voice)
George Takei … First Ancestor (voice)
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Walt Disney Feature Animation
Walt Disney Pictures
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|Distributor||Buena Vista Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures|
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”
Could it be? Could Disney’s multi-decade strong hold on animated feature films be in jeopardy? This would have seemed impossible a few years back during the reign of “The Lion King.” However, “Pocahontas,” “Hunchback,” and “Hercules” did not fare very well at the box office and opened the door for other studios (Columbia—“Swan Princess”, Fox—“Anastasia,” Warner—“Quest for Camelot”) to play catch up.
Well, let me put all fears aside. “Mulan” is Disney’s latest animated installment, and it is an instant classic. “Mulan” is based on a Chinese folktale about a young woman who, after the country of China is in danger of take over by a Hun invasion, disguises herself as a male to enter into the Chinese army. She does this in part to save her ailing father but also to bring TRUE honor to herself and the Fu family.
Mulan Fu (Ming-Na Wen) is a different kind of Disney heroine. Not only is she very charming and personable but she is very smart and very brave. She is assisted by Mushu (Eddie Murphy), a 2 foot disenfranchised dragon, who is appointed by her ancestors to bring Mulan back home safely. Children will absolutely love this show-stealing character. Murphy is tremendously funny in this role.
A lot of things go right in “Mulan”. For starters, the animation is a notch better than anything I have seen from Disney. Some scenes are sheerly breathtaking! Secondly, the music and songs are well done and are not overbearing. Thirdly, “Mulan” is fun. With memorable supporting characters (including a scary villain), humor, gags, and one-liners, this film grabs your attention from the very beginning and does not let go until its heart stopping finale.
After watching “Mulan”, parents should be prepared to explain to their children about Chinese religion and spiritual thought. The Ancestors are deceased members of the Fu family that, in a ghost-like form, still have very real connections with the living world. In fact, Mulan’s father prays to them. The Bible rejects this belief system (Exodus 20:3; Hebrews 9:27).
Disney has taken animated filmmaking to another level and in turn increased the once narrow gap between itself and every one else.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.