Mulan: A Classic

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I remember when I first saw Mulan in theaters, it was a pretty big deal for a 7 year old. I went with my entire family and I distinctly remember my aunt telling me “this movie is very important for China and all Chinese people.” She may have been exaggerating a bit, but it sure was exciting to see the movie. I enjoyed the movie immensely as a kid and still enjoy viewing it as an adult.

My aunt also told me Mulan was based on a true story, I believed this for years. It wasn’t until I had to write a biography on a famous woman in history that I discovered she never existed. I still wrote about her, but I didn’t do well in that class. It’s surprising how small the pool of famous women in history is. The movie Mulan was based on an ancient Chinese poem, so basically the movie is based on a true made up story, technically she wasn’t lying.

Good music and humor, if you incorporate these 2 in your movie then it should be a pretty good movie. The minor characters in the movie made me laugh like the “lucky” cricket, the crazy grandma, and the matchmaker while telling their part of the story. Mushu was one of the funniest and I think Eddie Murphy’s best roles are his voice work, he nailed it as Donkey in Shrek, let’s forget about the sequels. The 3 stooges were my favorite characters. I love the humor in the movie, but the soundtrack makes this a timeless tale. If you can sing along “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” with me, well then, instant best friend status. You could even be mugging me, but if you sing the song during the ordeal, then you’d leave on my good side. The song “Reflection” helped kickstart Christina Aguilera’s career, she didn’t sing it in the movie, but I’m sure she’s a fan of Mulan. I liked “A Girl Worth Fighting For,” what the fat stooge wants in a woman cracks me up every time.

mulan poster 2There’s 1 plot hole that people bring up that bugs me.
Mulan could have left the army during the “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” song! That’s wrong.
I think Mulan’s true motivations stemmed from feeling like a disappointment to her family and that she was dishonoring her family. She joined the army to protect her aging father, but her ulterior motivation was to redeem and bring honor to herself. She had just been rejected by the matchmaker, the main way daughters helped their family back then was through marriage, so she felt useless, highlighted in her “Reflection” song. Going back home as a failed soldier wouldn’t have changed how she felt about herself or what she would do in her life. Also I’m sure Mushu wouldn’t have let her quit that easily. Okay that’s enough analysis of a children’s Disney movie.

Having an Asian female lead character was a big deal back in 1998, even if it was an animation. Now it’s 2015 and I can’t think of a single movie with a strong Asian female lead character… Lucy Lui hasn’t done a movie in a while, but she plays Watson on Elementary,so that sort of counts for something. I feel like Mulan would make an amazing broadway musical, but maybe it hasn’t been made because there aren’t enough Asian broadway actors. They made Spiderman into a musical before Mulan

This movie still holds up after all these years. Mulan II was never made, just like Mean Girls II never existed. Some things are better as stand alone stories. It’s shockingly short, the screenplay is a paltry 27 pages and it’s runtime is less than an hour and a half, there’s no fat in the movie. Mulan taught me that creativity beats brute force and other things I guess. Seriously how good’s this movie’s soundtrack? Who cares what I learned from Mulan, it was a simple and fun movie. Thanks for making a man out of me.

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