FFlashback: Mulan (1998)

Let’s get down to business and take a look back at the tale of Disney’s most kickass heroine, Mulan…


The One Where: With the vicious Huns invading China, every family must send one man to war. To protect her elderly father, Fa Mulan dresses as a man and goes in his place. With the “help” of little dragon spirit Mushu, Mulan must bring honour back to her family…

Best Song: Does it even need saying? Mulan sports a mixed bag of songs, but ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ is so fist-pumpingly awesome it makes up for it. In fact, it’s probably the best song since The Lion King. If you don’t know all the words already, watch the video below. If you do, give yourself a pat on the back.

Star Turns: Everyone loves Mulan, thanks to her action girl status and the fact that her story doesn’t entirely revolve around romance (and kudos to Ming-Na Wen for her great voice performance). Eddie Murphy is also often hilarious as Mushu, a role which really acts as a test run for the more successful Donkey in the Shrek films. It’s a shame, then, that Shan Yu is a relatively colourless villain.

Verdict: A weird quirk of fate that meant I never saw this as a young-un keeps it from being one of my favourites, but Mulan remains a very enjoyable late Renaissance era Disney flick, chiefly because of its against-type heroine. I’ve always thought there should have been more of Mulan at war (though I understand why Disney would be reluctant to do that), as that part of the film produces its best moments. This one is actually a prime contender for a live-action remake.

Hidden Folk Tale: In the original Chinese legend, Hua (not Fa) Mulan successfully manages to dupe everyone into believing she is a woman and only reveals her true gender when she returns home after fighting for twelve years.



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