July 1998
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Movie review: Mulan

By Jason Morrison

Disney has scored a hit, it seems with the release of it's new animated feature, Mulan. Mulan is the ancient Chinese story of and ancient Chinese tale about a little girl who grows up to lead an army. It's like a real-life Joan of Arc, except in China, where she was invented.

I haven't seen Mulan, but I have read over three reviews for it, and boy was it good! The story, characters and direction are impeccable. My only problem is that it's rumored that Mulan is animated--I just can't stand cartoons.

Ming-Na Wen plays the voice of the beautiful, but deadly, Mulan. I read an article that said that Wen not only sounds like Mulan, but looks like her too! Do you know what question that brings to mind? The question it brings to mind is: which came first, Wen or Mulan, that's the question. And the answer? The answer is: don't ask.

If she wants to go out with me though, she can.

The plot, as I said, is ancient and impeccable. Mulan's dad gets a letter saying someone from his family must go fight in a war, but he is old and will no doubt break his hip. Mulan knocks him out, steals his clothes, and then the crazy hijinks begin! She starts pretending to be a boy like Yentl or something, training to be a warrior. She prays to her ancestors for help, and they send a miniature, but street smart dragon. Scary!

But where are Mulan's precious ancestors now, with her descendents in Asia battling economic crisis? Praying to them won't help a Japanese businessman. They can't all go around dressing up like their fathers and denying their gender. That doesn't even make any sense!

And I bet that Disney thought they were being brilliantly multicultural by casting Eddie Murphy as Mulan's little dragon, Mushu. Boy, did they not! It's a little known fact that Murphy is African-American, and that dragons are all Asian. Except for the ones that fought with King Arthur in England, those were probably Welsh, which Murphy is not either. That's like casting Hitler in a play based on the diary of Anne Frank as Anne Frank, only not nearly as offensive! Leave it to Disney to play it safe every time.

I think I would surely enjoy Mulan, if I went to see it. I don't think I will, though, so long as there's so much quality programming right on my TV.

[A] [99]

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