Flashback Review: Mulan (1998)

After “The Lion King” earned universal acclaim from critics and movie goers alike. Disney brainstormed an idea upon reading a Chinese poem titled, “The Song Of Fa Mu Lan,” Disney began development on their next project based on the poem by expanding it into a screenplay. During a four year gap of development, they did a bunch of research on Chinese mythology, the producers watched the works of Charlie Chaplin & David Lean for inspiration on splicing slapstick comedy into an epic adventure film. They also visited China to study its culture, environment, historical figures & famous landmarks. Combine every element together and you have yourself an animated action-adventure musical comedy.

As the animators were constructing character designs, the producers found Ming-Na Wen (Agent Melinda May from Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.) to play the title character, along with Eddie Murphy to voice her comical sidekick named, Mushu. After finishing the project, Disney finally finished Mulan.

Mulan was released in 1998. (same year Pixar’s A Bug’s Life came out) It receive positive reviews from critics and managed to make a enough money at the box office. Six Years Later, a direct-to-video called, “Mulan II” wasn’t as good as the original.

A live-action remake is currently in pre-production with a newcomer portraying the title character. In response to the news, I’ve decided to look back at this timeless animated classic. If you’re a “Rick & Morty” fan like me, McDonald’s recently brought back the szechuan sauce for the first time since they collaborated with Disney to promote the film. Don’t forget to buy yourself some nuggets if you want to fulfill your lifelong goal like Rick Sanchez!

Today’s review doesn’t contain any huge SPOILERS. Feel free to read this article, in case you haven’t got a chance to watch it. Does Mulan still holds up? Let’s find out shall we?

Honorable & Dishonorable Qualities

Honorable: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, B.D. Wong, Harvey Fierstein & the late Pat Morita all did a fantastic job on their respective performances. By the way, Jackie Chan provided the voice of Captain Shang in the Chinese version. Look it up for actual evidence.

Animation is traditionally hand drawn to make the environment come to life in epic proportions.

Funny Moments contains elements of slapstick, Mushu’s snarky lines & visual gags that made me laugh. Besides Mushu, a trio who are similar to The Three Stooges, provided most of the comedy.

Action Sequences felt organic such as The Avalanche Scene, The Training Montage & The Climatic Battle.

Musical Numbers are memorably catchy including “Reflection,” the song that catapulted Christina Aguilera into fame, “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You,” last but not least, “True To Your Heart,” performed by Stevie Wonder.

Fun Fact: This is Eddie Murphy’s first ever animated film, prior to voicing Donkey from the Shrek franchise. In Shrek, his love interest is a dragon.

Film Composer, Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek franchise) orchestrated non-musical tracks.

Primary Themes listed for the movie are, Identity, Gender, Adapting, Honor & Sexism. The last one managed to not shove way too many misogynistic themes down your throat, I’m gonna give this a pass, because the time period depicted in the film, didn’t have any women in the army back then.

Character Development involving Mulan, as she starts out as an intelligent but clumsy buffoon, warrior capable of coming up with pragmatic strategies. Mushu also earns himself Character Development.

The Opening Scene sets up Shan Yu’s introduction as The Main Antagonist, he’s pretty intimidating.

At one point, Mushu dresses up as some kind of vampire to scare off enemies. Eddie Murphy played a vampire in Wes Craven’s “Vampire In Brooklyn,” plus “Blade” came out the same year as Mulan. I’m also gonna give this Bonus Points for making me laugh so hard! I gotta love inside jokes to an actor’s career!

George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek) makes a voice over cameo as one of Mulan’s ancestors. If you think I’m making this up, look it up for proof that I’m not lying.

Without giving too much away, unlike Snow White or Cinderella, there is no early romance in this movie between two characters. Thank goodness Disney didn’t go on that route.

Dishonorable: Honestly, I couldn’t find anything wrong with this film. I’ll have to give it an Extra Point for The Cast & Crew for making this film as flawless as possible.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

In my opinion, Mulan is one of Disney’s best animated films of all time. If you have nothing else to do, I strongly recommend this movie. If you have a daughter or granddaughter, they’re gonna enjoy this movie just like Wonder Woman, because they can finally look up to a strong female character who doesn’t always have to be saved in a fortress from a dangerous creature. Bravo Disney for coming up with a female character who’s not a damsel-in-distress that doesn’t belong in The Department Of Redundancy.

Disney if you’re reading this, now that you’ve got you’re leading lady for your upcoming remake of Mulan, who are planning on choosing which actor to voice Mushu? If I were a producer of the remake my personal picks are Dave Chappelle, Terry Crews, Kevin Hart, Jay Pharaoh & J.B. Smoove. I also got some good news, Ming-Na Wen has confirmed that she’s gonna reprise her role in Wreck-It-Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet.

Remember to buy yourself some Chicken McNuggets if you are desperate to taste the szechaun sauce like Rick Sanchez. Well what are you waiting for? Get off your butt and hurry before the drive-thru gets crowded like last year’s disaster of people fighting over the sauce!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s