Screen Reviews

Mulan

Disney animation is as solid an institution as the Federal Reserve Bank. Millions count on it every year to deliver tasteful and artful entertainment. It is distinctive and has never had a real challenger. That is beginning to change with competitors Anastasia and the upcoming Prince of Egypt. Mulan is the story of an unmarried Chinese girl hundreds of years ago. She’s a little too spunky for her own good and runs off to war in place of her father. This is prohibited in the Chinese culture and is a disgrace to her family. Nonetheless, they pray for a great dragon to protect her. Unfortunately, by accident, they get a little lizard.

I never find a need to fault the animation, which is always meticulous and inventive. Computer animation has been increasingly used over the last few years and is perfectly melded. The story is strong and the characters are heart felt. On the other hand, the comedic relief seems forced again, as in the past few outings. More importantly the songs, are completely uninspired. You can always count on at least one song that will lift your spirits. The Stevie Wonder/98 Degree single “True to Your Heart” sounds like 1970’s bubblegum. That’s hardly the only anachronistic element.

Still, it remains a class act. Eddie Murphy, Harvey Fierstein, Ming naWen, Donny Osmond, George Takei, Pat Morita, and an Asian contingent make a good mix. It is fun and pretty to look at, but don’t expect to hum to the tunes walking to the parking lot.


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