Disney constantly returns to its favorite stable of story ideas -- classic tales that are conveniently royalty free. This time they went to ancient China where they dug up the tale of Mulan. Originally set in a poem, a woman disguises herself as a man in order to serve her country in battle. Of course, legends come in different flavors, and Disney adds one more to the list -- fortunately, it's a good one.
When the Huns attack China, Mulan's family is called to provide one soldier. Her father, an aging former war hero, accepts the request. Seeing her father head off to battle, however, is more than Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na Wen) can stand. Knowing he is too frail to return alive, she wants to take his place. But to do so, she must be a he.
No Disney heroine is going to let a little thing like gender stand in the way of duty! If we can turn a mermaid into a human, then it's no sweat for a gentle blossom to become a man. Stumbling in her oversized fighting gear and sporting a new bobbed haircut, Mulan is ready for action -- even if her comrades are a little skeptical of her abilities. To give her moral support, the spirits of her ancestors decide to send along a powerful guardian dragon. However, things don't go as planned, and she winds up with a little red fire-breather named Mushu (voiced by Eddie Murphy).
Even with Murphy, the script is clear of any profanities. A short bathing scene where Mulan must protect her identity from the other soldiers is tastefully executed -- and funny. Parents' main concerns will be with the depiction of violence. Nothing even remotely gory is shown, but there is no doubt that huge numbers of people have died by the time the film is complete.
Still, the movie offers great lessons in loyalty, honor, and working together. The animation and music are terrific, and the characters are the type that you grow to love by the end of the story. Mulan sparkles with all the pixie dust Disney is famous for -- after all, only magic could put Eddie Murphy and Donny Osmond (who plays the singing voice for the male hero, Shang) on the same credit roll.
Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...
Violence: Non-graphic violence depicting explosions and battles. Implied deaths due to war. Main characters lives are in peril.
Sexual Content: Implied nudity (no details shown). Mild sexual innuendo.
Language: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
This movie is followed by the direct-to-home-video sequel, Mulan II
Home Video Notes
Home Video Notes: Mulan 1 and 2: 15th Anniversary Edition (3Disc)
Release Date: 12 March 2013
Celebrating its 15 Anniversary, Disney’s Mulan is releasing in a Blu-ray Combo Pack that also includes the movie Mulan 2. Other bonus extras are:
Blu-ray: Mulan Feature Film and Mulan II Feature Film
- 11 Deleted Scenes
- 15 Backstage Disney Featurettes
- 6 Music Videos featuring Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder, 98, Jackie Chan and more.
- Audio Commentary
DVD: Mulan Feature Film
- 7 Deleted Scenes
- 2 Backstage Disney Featurettes
- 5 Music Videos
- Audio Commentary
DVD: Mulan II Feature Film
- 4 Deleted Scenes
- 1 Backstage Disney Featurette
- Music Video performed by Atomic Kitten
Mulan Special Edition 2 Disc
DVD Release: Oct 26, 2004
Did you know Jackie Chan could sing? Or that it took 700 people five years to complete the animated film Mulan? Those are just a few of the fun facts you’ll discover in the newly released Special Edition of this Disney classic.
Aimed at the merely curious as well as those who revel in small details, the featurettes included in the two disc set provide a “Back Stage Disney” tour of the decision making processes behind character development, art styles, and color pallets. Along the way the viewer will glimpse storyboards, various sketches, deleted scenes, and learn how the creators choose when a pencil or a computer would be the drawing tool of choice.
Any parent who has ever tried to encourage their children to go the second mile in their study habits will appreciate the example set by the production team, as they explain the focus they placed on research. Thanks to their meticulous efforts, the film does an admirable job of capturing the essence of Chinese culture.
The package also offers an English reading of the poem “Hua Mulan,” for audiences unfamiliar with the ancient ballad this movie is based upon. More information about the reality of this legendary character, who is believed to have fought as a warrior for over ten years-without her gender being discovered, are included in the game Mulan’s World, narrated by the lovable dragon Mushu.
Along with a brief understanding of the intricacies of translating the script and music into various languages for international distribution, the bonus materials reveal the complexities of developing a personality for the lead character. After several false starts, the producers returned to the old text. By developing the traits of honor, courage and selflessness mentioned within it, they created a hero worthy of emulation, and a movie worthy of repeated viewing.
DVD Notes: Mulan I and II: 3 Disc Collector’s Set
DVD Release Date: 12 August 2008
Walt Disney Home Entertainment is releasing a 3-Disc Collector’s Set, combining the Mulan: 2-Disc Special Edition and its sequel Mulan II.
Bonus extras for the first film include deleted scenes, music videos (with Jackie Chan and Christina Aguilera), a featurette (The World of Mulan) and games (Mulan’s World and Fun Facts). The second movie also shares deleted scenes, a music video, featurettes (The World of Mulan and Voices of Mulan II), and Mushu’s Guess Who Game.
Audio Tracks are in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (English, French and Spanish).