Mulan: Everybody's Favorite Cross-Dresser
Patriotism knows no gender, and "Mulan" (1998), directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, portrays a young woman determined to help her country by fighting for it. While no princess, the title character Mulan is usually included with that select group of Disney characters. "Mulan" is based on a Chinese legend (set forth in the traditional Chinese poem "The Song of Fa Mu Lan"). Disney has made a live-action version of "Mulan" with a release date of 27 March 2020, but this original animated version still is fun to watch.
The story seems to occur in many other countries as well - that of the plucky female who disguises herself as a male to achieve her unconventional ends. Mulan is a very popular character who remains highly visible in the Disney universe, currently appearing as a regular character in the ABC television series "Once Upon a Time."
|The Mulan DVD - as usual for Disney DVDs, brilliant artwork.|
|The "Trio" of Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po.|
|Mushu the mighty!|
|Mushu at work.|
Mulan challenges the Hun leader, Shan-Yu (Miguel Ferrer), onto the roof for single combat. Mushu, meanwhile, is ready with rockets and fires them when Shan Yu is in the right spot on the roof, killing him. Everybody honors Mulan for her service, but one question remains for her: will she ever find true love?
|Mulan picking up Mushu.|
"Reflection" was the big hit from the show. Lea Salonga, who previously sang as Princess Jasmine in "Aladdin," did the singing for Mulan. Donny Osmond also performed a song that many like, "I'll Make a Man Out of You."
|Mulan with Mushu.|
A sort of precursor to true 3D, a technique called "faux plane," added depth to several shots in s subtle way.
|Mulan at home in the garden.|
|Mulan, a woman of mystery.|
"Mulan" adds yet more proof to the growing stack that you just can't please everyone.
|I can do anything you can do better!|
|Would you like to stay for dinner?|
The Chinese got even for that previous slight by scheduling "Mulan" for a soft part of their film year, after New Year's. That is sort of like scheduling a superhero film in the U.S. in February, which is not a good release time because schoolkids are still in school.
"Mulan" still did well worldwide anyway, out-grossing the previous two Disney releases ("The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Hercules"). This kept the "Disney Renaissance" that began with "The Little Mermaid" on track. However, it could have done much better business in China (although some Chinese were a bit upset by some details that Disney got wrong - but then, Disney traditionally never cares about details in its animation, it is the story and the audience experience that count). Instead, "Mulan" did just okay in China. Now, doing "just okay in China" still means it made a lot of money there, but just not as much as it might have with proper government support.
Direct-to-video "Mulan II" followed six years later, one of the last of the Disney movie sequels to previous hits before they stopped doing that (it was devaluing the brand).
|"You saved us all"|
The official trailer is below.
And, here is the official Disney teaser trailer for the live-action version.