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Mulan

As the Disney Renaissance came close to an end the films started to cost more and not quite make as much. Mulan was part of that trend. As Disney moved into new generations they started to make more movies with messages about equality and being yourself. Mulan is another early example of Disney putting message right up there with story and entertainment. We saw it some in Pocahontas, but the story line of Mulan is directly about equality for women. It came out at a time when it felt like Disney could do no wrong. But the quick rise of Pixar would threaten Disney in the very near future. 1998 saw Pixar's second film, A Bug's Life, which would out gross Mulan.


I remember disliking everything about Mulan, but it came out when I was seventeen and cartoons were not my main focus anymore. I remember not liking the style. There was a reliance on sharp edges in the art style that I thought at the time was reminiscent of the Chinese folklore the movie was based on. As an adult I love the animation although I felt the main characters were not well defined like the side characters were. If I saw them lined up I would assume the main characters were just background drawings.



Similar to the animation, the side characters are really where all the personality is. Mulan, Li Shang, and even Shan Yu all feel like stock characters with base emotions. They don't stand out at all. Shan Yu does a bit until you compare him to the other villains and then he feels pretty flat as well. It was also strange hearing Eddie Murphy as Mushu. He has become so iconic as Donkey in the Shrek movies, that it felt like they stole Donkey, even though this movie came out first.


The music is very good, but I felt the songs that were designed to be the hooks for the show were the weakest of the bunch. But it has a great score that helps set the mood.


As with the later Renaissance films this one has a lack of monetization. Mulan does appear with the princesses most of the time even though she is technically not a princess. I wonder if this is different in the Disney parks over in Asia.


Overall Mulan is a very good movie. The story is strong, the messaging doesn't feel overbearing. The animation is good and stylized. There are some minor complaints about the characters and music, but it doesn't really hurt the film. I would have liked to see some more merchandising maybe see some more Mushu out in the parks, maybe a dark ride of Mulan's training. But overall a good movie


Run Time – 93 Minutes

71st Academy Awards – 1 Nomination – 0 Wins

Best Original Musical or Comedy Score - Nominated


Disney Animated Canon so far in order of Quality

1. Beauty and the Beast 9-29-1991

2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 6-21-1996

3. Lady and the Tramp 6-22-1955

4. Aladdin 11-25-1992

5. Mulan 6-19-1998

6. Peter Pan 2-5-1953

7. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 3-11-1977

8. One Hundred and One Dalmatians 1-25-1961

9. The Lion King 6-15-1994

10. Hercules 6-13-1997

11. Dumbo 10-23-1941

12. The Fox and the Hound 7-10-1981

13. Oliver and Company 11-18-1988

14. Cinderella 2-15-1950

15. The Little Mermaid 11-17-1989

16. Pinocchio 2-7-1940

17. Sleeping Beauty 1-29-1959

18. The Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 10-5-1949

19. The Jungle Book 10-18-1967

20. The Great Mouse Detective 7-2-1986

21. Robin Hood 11-8-1973

22. The Rescuers Down Under 11-16-1990

23. Make Mine Music 4-20-1946

24. Fun and Fancy Free 9-27-1947

25. The Aristocats 12-11-1970

26. Pocahontas 6-23-1995

27. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937

28. Saludos Amigos 8-24-1942

29. The Sword in the Stone 12-25-1963

30. The Rescuers 6-22-1977

31. Alice in Wonderland 7-26-1951

32. The Black Cauldron 7-24-1985

33. Melody Time 5-27-1948

34. Bambi 8-13-1942

35. Fantasia 11-13-1940

36. The Three Caballeros 12-21-1944


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