Rewatch: Mulan: PHOTO CREDIT: Disney Plus
Mulan is my favorite Disney Princess and my all time favorite Disney movie. I love both the animated and live action versions, but I prefer the animated one because of Mushu.
Mulan is one of the most powerful and coolest princesses in Disney, and her storyline is so interesting. Disguising herself as a man and putting herself in danger of either dying or being arrested for being a woman in the military makes the movie so intense to watch.
The animation of the movie is of course so pretty and aesthetic. This movie takes place in China in what I’m assuming is a few centuries ago. With that being said, it was also a time where women were not allowed to fight in the military.
The movie starts off with the antagonists of this movie called the Huns breach the Great Wall of China in attempts to invade imperial China. The soldiers of the Imperial Chinese Army were able to warn the Emperor through torching a warning signal. With this, the Emperor orders a general mobilization, and with this comes a conscription notice requiring one man from each family to join the army.
In the South of China, we are introduced to Mulan being pampered to the extreme to be brought to her town’s matchmaker to determine if she will make a good wife. However, due to some mishaps and minor destruction, the matchmaker dramatically deems Mulan a disgrace to her family.
This then leads to one of the most beautiful scenes and iconic songs of the movie and in the all of the Disney discography, “Reflection.” Fun fact, Mulan is voiced by Ming-Na Wen, but her singing voice was provided by Lea Salonga, who also sang for Jasmine from the 1992 animated film “Aladdin.”
Around this time, soldiers come into the town and announce to the crowd that one man from every family must enlist in the army and train to defeat The Huns. Mulan’s very elderly father, Fa Zhou, has served before and sustained an injury and chooses to serve again as he has no male heir.
She attempts to make him change his mind about serving, but he protests and claims that he must bring honor to the family and protect China. Mulan fears for her fathers life, and she decides to take his place and go into the army.
When her parents go to sleep, she goes into her family’s temple and prays to her ancestors, and then cuts off her hair with her fathers sword. This was the moment when the audience knew she was taking her father’s place because at first, I didn’t know what she was doing when she went to the temple and prayed.
After cutting her hair, she dresses in her father’s armor, ties her hair in a bun and takes her horse Khan to go to the training camp. Her grandmother has a dream about the temple and sees glowing green eyes on the dragon statue that tells her that Mulan has left.
Her ancestors then appear in ghost form in the temple and all agree that a spirit must follow Mulan and protect her. Mushu, the tiny red dragon, wants to be the one to do it, but he has failed multiple times in protecting members of the family. However, he manages to sneak away and find Mulan to protect her.
When I first watched this movie, I could not stop laughing at Mushu. He made so many jokes and Eddie Murphy’s voice made it even better. My favorite line in this movie is when Mushu screams “Dishonor on you! Dishonor on your cow!” when Mulan slaps him out of a tree. Everytime I watch this movie, I laugh everytime.
The movie has now gotten really interesting because now we get to see how Mulan manages to fool all the soldiers and train with them. She entered the army under the name Ping Hua so that Chi-Fu would know that a member from the Hua family came.
Another iconic hit comes from this movie “I’ll Make A Man Out of You,” which when you hear it you can’t help but sing/scream “to defeat The Huns.” We’re also introduced to Captain Li Shang, who is most definitely into Mulan right from the beginning.
I loved this entire song and montage of Mulan going from an inexperienced fighter to being better than any man in the army. Everything was going good until Mulan got injured by Shan Yu, chieftain of The Huns, slashing her abdomen.
When she was being examined, Shang and Chi-Fu came into the tent to see how she was and discovered that she’s a woman. She was thrown to the ground by Chi-Fu telling her that she will be punished for high treason and dishonor to her family and China. I really hated Chi-Fu in this movie because he was just so annoying and everytime someone would try to explain something, he’d interrupt as if he knew the answer.
I really loved how the movie ended and wrapped up with Mulan defeating Shan Yu at the Emperor’s temple and saving all of China. Not only was she praised by the Emperor himself, but everyone in the crowd at the New Years Eve festival bowed to her.
I love this movie so much and I feel like there should be more talk about this movie. There already is a lot of praise for this movie, but it’s not enough. This animated film is a masterpiece, and I always love watching it.