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on October 20, 2004
First of all, kudos to Disney for *finally* including a MANDARIN LANGUAGE AUDIO TRACK (the original DVD had French and Spanish- no Chinese). It's about time!!!

Next: I have to emphatically disagree with reviewer Bill Mydo below. -You will excuse me if I spend some little time defending this film against his critique; Mulan happens to be my favorite Disney animated movie, second only perhaps to Beauty and the Beast. Perhaps my being Chinese-American may have something to do with it, as does the fact that I strongly identify with the character's self-doubts. Still, I am fairly particular as to what I consider "good art"; and it boggles and confounds me that anyone would fail to see the difference between this movie and, for example, Hunchback or Hercules.

Yes, Disney's Mulan is very much a western/ American movie, made for western and American- not Asian- audiences. No, they "didn't get it right"; or, not exactly. But I never expected them to, and I give them a good deal of credit for trying. They came quite a bit closer that I ever thought that they would. Nor do I find this movie overly feminist (no more than Snow White or Cinderella are "chauvinist"). Mulan may be a strong female character, but she is not Aladdin's Princess Jasmine. Mulan is not defined by rebellion, nor by what she rejects. Instead she upholds her sense of honor as she struggles to find out who she is and where she fits in. Moreover, in a genre known for its blatant ad nauseum boy-meets-girl love themes, I truly appreciated the downplayed understatedness of the "interest" between Mulan and Captain Shang.

As to the "commercial" aspect of the film; yes, it had its tie-ins and its merchandising. What Disney movie doesn't? But the real issue is the worth of the film itself, and on this I take exception to the review below. I believe there is more in it than Mr. Mydo gives credit for.

The film does have its awkward moments. The scene with the match-maker and Mulan's first entrance into the army camp are both extremely painful to watch- I do not enjoy watching anyone be utterly humiliated- not even a cartoon character (and I do not believe that someone as bright as Mulan would fumble so badly over simply coming up with a new name). I also find it somewhat irksome that one minor character, Mushu the dragon, continually steals attention away from the movie's proper focus. And there are a number of jokes and visual gags that closely border on PG. I found this in somewhat poor taste in a kid's movie.

But these faults are counterbalanced, and more than compensated for, by the scenes that really work. The opening "brush painting" of the Great Wall; Mulan's song (Reflections) and the ensuing scene of loving encouragement from her father; the scene where she decides to leave home; her heart-to-heart talk with Mushu at the abandoned camp in the mountains; the Imperial Palace where she is honored by the Emperor before all China... the sheer artistry of these scenes is breathtaking.

When the Special Edition DVD is released, I intend to be first in line!
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VINE VOICEon April 8, 2004
I do not believe that I have EVER watched an animated film that taught more of the values that I would want future generations to learn from than MULAN. I have watched this movie at LEAST 25 times and simply put - it is PROFOUND.

The movie opens with Mulan getting ready to go to the "Matchmaker." Although, she is a beautiful girl, she lacks the grace to make a good impression. Devistated, she returns home. Her father tells her that "like the cherry blossoms, her season has not come."

When China is invaded by the Huns, there is one line in the movie that is uttered by the emperor and it is SO insightful. The general in charge of the armies confidently announces that his men can handle this invasion. However, the emperor issues a proclamation calling all available men because, "sometimes a single grain of rice may be the deciding balance in tipping the scales." Or - "one man may make a difference between conquest and defeat."

In this case, it turns out to be a woman! I LOVE how Mulan interacts horribly with the men at first and how she is told to leave. Mulan has to prove herself and she doesn't give up.

Even after she is a hero, Mulan is disgraced when it is discovered that she is a woman. She is shunned and yet when she must come to the rescue of China again, her comrades are loyal to her and listen to her ideas.

Throughout the movie there are the different interactions of those who accept women for who they are and those who are stuck within stereotypes.

Mulan is a cute and VERY funny movie with adorable songs. What makes it a GREAT movie however, is the very powerful message that we should judge one another on our merits and character - whether we be men or women.
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on September 27, 2004
Being a Chinese, I really appreciate the efforts put into this movie. Most of the movie is accurate to the old tale that my mother told me when I was a young girl. Especially Mulan's strive to prove that she could be more than just a helpless girl waiting to be married into a wealthy family. This story has been staged in many Chinese operas. Mom's version has it that nobody discovered Mulan's true identity until the captain decided to visit Mulan after the war.

Naturally mom's version did not include a wisecracking dragon, but it was a welcome addition. The up-to-date jokes made it an easier story to comprehend.
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on January 11, 2000
Mulan is the kind of Disney movie that I've been waiting for for a long time. As a father of a 9 year old girl, movies like Pocahontas and especially Hunch back carried fairly heavy handed romantic (and in the case of Hunchback especially obsessive and sexual) undertones that made me, as parent, uneasy. Mulan was the first film in a while that wasn't centered around a female lead striving for the affections of a man. She was a strong young woman who was protecting the health, safety and honor of her father and her family. It was really a step in the right direction to show that a woman doesn't have to be driven by romance or the affections of another to be a strong role model and a leader. I hope Disney takes notice and considers this theme in future.
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on June 16, 2005
Maybe one of the most mature and serious features Disney has developed. It's about battles against the will and the courage of a young woman who won't give up. It's Mulan, a movie that combining very elements -humor, love and hate-, creates an intelligent story that no one should miss.

Based on a Chinese legend, Mulan is the tale of a young girl that doesn't fit in the rigid structures imposed for her traditional culture, as to how it should be the women's' rol in society An independent spirit sentenced to "never bring honor to her family" for adopting her own way of thinking and acting.

In the time of Chinese feudalism, the Emperor, who has to confront an attack of Huns, commanded for the evil Shan Yu, orders to recruit a man for every family to take a place n the future war. Mulan's father, the only man in her family and very tied to traditions, accepts his duty without a doubt.

And like her father, without too much thinking, Mulan decides to takes his place, turning herself into a man. She cuts her hair, steals her dad's war weapons and gets enlisted in the military calling herself "Ping". On the road she meets 2 cartoonish-y friends, a funny dragon called Mushu and a cricket called, Crikee (convenient). Both give the usual touch of comedy in this kind of movie.

In military life, Mulan shows a defying and rigorous training, under the critic eye of her boss, Captain Shang. And she proves both intelligence and courage in the battlefield. Her search to defend her family name and to get approval of her way of thinking is told with great style.

The animation is very nice, from scenes as impressive as the battle in the snow to the parade before the Imperial palace. Unusual camera angles are implemented, colors and textures are used with great delicacy, enriching the cinematography; the score is light and fresh.

In Mulan, once again Disney tries to explore emotions and feelings like family love, duty, courage, honor, obedience, boldness, willpower and team work. All of them very positive notions for children and adults, to learn and practice.
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As the 36th animated masterpiece, this has to be the funniest movie yet. I could not stop laughing. The adorable, mischievous dragon (Mushu) has Eddie Murphy's voice and is perhaps the cutest animation I have ever seen. Watch for what guardian dragon Mushu does when he is trying to explain why he is not "just" a lizard. It will knock your funny socks off.

Mulan is extremely beautiful and her facial expressions make you actually feel everything she is feeling emotionally. I was so amazed they could put so much feeling into an animated character. Her lovable and tenacious spirit is admirable. She also seems to always be getting into trouble and the slapstick humor is the best I have ever seen in a Disney movie. The "lucky" cricket is a kind of side kick for the dragon and is supposed to bring Mulan luck.

This is based on an ancient Chinese legend in which a girl disguises herself as a soldier to protect her aging father so he doesn't have to go to war against the Hun army (the soldiers all look like wrestlers) which has come across the northern border. Mulan trains for war and proves herself quite capable of learning martial arts and excelling at all areas of military training.

The movie has a rather ominous beginning, a hilarious center and a memorable ending. It is just perfect to say the least. Through the movie Mulan is always trying to be the perfect daughter. What her father says at the end of the movie is so beautiful and shows the unconditional love between parent and child.

The main point to the movie is to allow children to become the person they are inside. To nurture their true gifts and to give them unconditional love. "The children of our country materially have just about everything, but what they're often lacking is love and attention." -Johann Christoph Arnold

In the Chinese culture, honor is very important, so this aspect is very prominent throughout the movie. In a way, it could help a child to realize that it is fine to be proud of your country. Many Chinese traditions and symbols are incorporated into the movie making it a spectacularly beautiful movie.

~The Rebecca Review
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on October 26, 2004
Mulan is one of the finest Disney movies ever produced. I have yet to disagree with Disney on any of their choices for "Platinum" or "Special Edition" releases.

The first thing I would like to address is the aspect ratio. A past reviewer claimed that "this is obviously not the original aspect ratio for this film!". That statement is utterly false. The previous release of Mulan on DVD had CROPPED wide-screen. This means that the picture was re-formatted so that it would appear to be in the 1:85:1 ratio, which trimmed off the edges of the picture as well as some of the top and bottom. True wide-screen always gives you MORE picture. It's extremely important to know the bars on the top and bottom are UNUSED space. Also,the original DVD release was NOT compatible with wide-screen televisions. I have viewed this disc up-scaled on a 50 inch HDTV and it looks glorious!

Now, for the first time, Mulan is presented in it's ORIGINAL aspect ratio of 1:66:1. This is the ratio for other films like Aladdin and The Lion King. The wide-screen is entirely anamorphic so wide-screen TV owners can rejoice at not having to stretch out the picture or have unnecessary black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. The picture quality/resolution is quite pleasing on an HD Display as I said above. Clear, bright, vivid colors show through on a spotless transfer of the film taken directly from the original CAPS files in the Disney vault.

The bonus features are very good. A wealth of material is presented on both Disc 1 and 2, making this truly worthy of the title "Special Edition". The features themselves are covered in other reviews, so I won't go into that. Just let me say that this is definitely a DVD release that no Disney or Mulan fan should pass up.

Mulan: "Can you stay for dinner?" Grandmother: "Can he stay FOREVER?"
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on April 19, 2004
I love most of the Disney movies whether they are animated or acted. What impressed me most about this movie was not just the animation, voice acting, and music great, but the moral was super. Most good movies have a lesson to be learned. This one was incredibly simple and to the point. Value all people and learn what they have to offer no matter what their sex, believes, et cetera. I highly recommend this movie for the whole family. It is ashame Disney hasn't learned it shouldn't limit the sales of their movies yet. I think they are going to learn the hard way when someone buys them out and stops the stupid moratorium policy. I know if I could buy Disney the first thing I would do is fire the person or persons responsible for the moratorium and second I would immediately make all Disney movies available all the time. If you see negative votes here there is a good possibility they come from scalpers. They want to sell you used Disney movies for three or four times what they are worth. They don't want them to be available all the time. They want them to be unavailable for at least eight years.
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on August 17, 1999
There are two animated films I know of that can envoke both epic excitement and emotion. The first is "Prince of Egypt". The second is "Mulan". For once, Disney has made a film that can send shivers down your back in scenes like "Mulan's Decision" or make you laugh at jokes that aren't too formulaic. Another interesting fact is that, despite what some people may say, "Mulan" is probably Disney's most historically accurate film. "Little Mermaid" certainly did not show sea-life in 19th century Denmark with profound reliability nor did "Beauty and the Beast" depict medieval/ renaissance age France all that well. But "Mulan" was true enough to show Chinese clothing as they were in Tang and Six Kingdoms Dynasties and used Cantonese instead of Mandarin (Cantonese is older and closer to the language the real Mulan, if she truly existed, would have spoken). The animation was beautiful and just as good as any other Disney movie, and much better than "Little Mermaid". And yes, the story was different than the original Chinese poem, but what do you expect? EVERY SINGLE DISNEY MOVIE IN THE LAST DECADE was more entirely different from the original source than Mulan was. I've read a translation, and the poem was much too short to make a movie out of. In fact, the movie seems to have drawn some inspiration from Maxine Hong Kingston's memoirs, "Woman Warrior" which relates the Mulan story with similarities to the film. And, finally, unlike every other Disney movie with a heroine, Mulan does not marry her handsome prince- SHE invites HIM to dinner.
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on August 27, 2014
Objectively I think Mulan is one of Disney's best films. The story is compelling, and handled with more respect towards the source material than Disney usually displays. The main character is distinct from the usual pantheon of princesses, and offers one of the first truly admirable Disney role models. Long before Frozen, this film gave us a well developed, strong female lead in a non-romantic setting.
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