I love Mulan (1998), it was always my favorite “Disney Princess” movie growing up. To be completely honest, the live action remake does not interest me at all. I’ll probably just wait until its available, without paying extra, on Disney+ to watch it, but even then, it’ll probably be a while after that. However, I figured now was as good of a time as any to revisit the original animated film. It’s still pretty good and as an adult, I notice things that I missed as a kid that make the movie even better.
Now, before I get into what I missed as a kid. I just want to quickly mention why I liked this movie as a kid. The songs are all great and really catchy. It’s really funny, most jokes still hold up too. Eddie Murphy brings a lot of energy and comedy to the movie. I also loved this movie because Mulan was the “cool” Disney Princess. Mulan has a kill count in this movie that I doubt will ever be passed any Disney Princess. Mulan is a badass.
Mulan (1998) is about a young Chinese woman who disguises herself as a man to keep her father from being drafted into China’s war against the Huns. The first thing is that this cast, in a movie based on a Chinese legend, is largely Asian. Now, it’s not completely Asian, but for a movie from 1998, its pretty nice to see. Aladdin certainly wasn’t played by someone with middle eastern descent, so it’s nice to see that they went the extra mile to, mostly, cast the character’s appropriately. While they aren’t Asian, I can’t exactly fault the movie for casting Eddie Murphy (Mushu) and Harvey Fierstein (Yao) because both of their very unique voices fit their characters perfectly.
Another great thing about this movie, that was lost on child me, is that the entire second half of the movie is devoid of musical numbers. Other than a short reprise of one song during the climax and what plays during the credits, there are no songs for the last forty or so minutes. The way they do this is expertly done. The last song is a really fun one. “A Girl Worth Fighting For”, here it is:
As you see in the clip above, this joyous and happy song is interrupted and cut off by the realities of war. The song was ended because they came across an entire village that was destroyed by the Hun invaders. Then, like I said above, the musical numbers stop. The jokes don’t stop but the musical numbers do. Reminding the characters, and the audience, what’s at stake. I just think it was really well done how they shifted the movie’s tone so quickly. As a kid, it went over my head, but as an adult, it makes me appreciate this movie so much more.
Also, don’t let whatever happens in the live action remake make you forget that Shang originally fell in love with Mulan while he thought she was a guy. We stan Shang for bisexual KING that he is. It’s because of these new, or new to me, reasons to love this movie, plus all the reasons I loved it as a kid, I think it’s time that people revisit and re-appreciate Mulan. I give it 9 out of 10.