Animated “Mulan” is Strong Disney Film

Disney released the original Mulan film in 1998

Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook’s animated film Mulan (B+) takes place in China during the Han dynasty where Fa Mulan (a marvelous Ming-Na Wen), daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou, impersonates a man and takes her dad’s conscription slot to fend off a Hun invasion. Filled with rich animation, exciting set pieces, lively songs, tense drama and witty comic interludes, it’s an epic part of Disney’s animation Renaissance. Although the plot is lifted from Asian legend, the story of cross dressing to fit into a man’s world is a bit Ori-Yentl; but the creativity, scale and scope work magnificently.  Eddie Murphy’s travel-size dragon sidekick and a lucky cricket are an added bonus of delight. The sumptuous drawing detail is a mark of distinction for the film, and while it’s not quite as engaging as some other Disney films of its era, it’s in a prestigious pantheon.

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