Projections - Movie Reviews


Disney does it again.  This story is filled with action, comedy and emotion. Mulan herself provides the emotion and romance which can be dramatized only through the imagination and illusion of modern animation features.

Based on an ancient Chinese legend, Mulan is about the daring adventures of a young Chinese woman whose spirit clashed with her tradition-bound society.  When her country is invaded by the Hun army she takes her father's place in order to save his life.  Mulan (voice by Ming-Na Wen and sung by Lea Salonga) struggles with meaning in her life.  The traditional roles she is destined to play are not comfortable but little else will bring success to her life and pride to her family. Her interaction with the Matchmaker is a comic disaster filled with physical comedy caused by her tiny cricket friend, Cri-Kee.

When Mulan calls upon her ancestors for help, they provide Mushu, a pint-sized dragon (voice by Eddie Murphy) who brings sarcasm and buffoonery to the quest to save China from the evil Shan-Ye (voice by Miguel Ferrer), the ruthless Hun leader who is determined to replace the Emperor (voice by Pat Morita).

The small supporting characters are vital to the success of the comedy.  Harvey Fierstein provides the voice of Yao; Jerry Tondo is Chien-Po and Gedde Watanabe is Ling.  They are three clumsy soldiers who bumble their way to help Mulan defeat the Huns.  Grandmother Fa (voice by June Foray, whos most notable roles include Witch Hazel and Tweety's Granny) zips one-liners in support of her non-traditional granddaughter.

Mulan's joy and success will warm hearts.  Murphy's Mushu will bring giggles.  The action scenes bring excitement and tension.  Overall Mulan is a joyful celebration of a legend.

A Top Ten pick for 1998

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