Who doesn’t love Mulan? No matter who you are: adult or child, male or female, odds are that you love this movie. It really is one of the most relatable, fun and hilarious Disney movies around.
This is a review of the Mulan/Mulan II 3-disc Special Edition Blu-ray/DVD.
Mulan is about a young girl in Imperial China, who poses as a male solider in order to protect her father and family from shame and dishonor. She runs away from home in the dead of night, but her ancestors send a guardian, a little red dragon named Mushu, to protect her. While in the army, Mulan realizes that she’s way in over her head. Will she be able to keep her secret while also fight off the dangerous Hun army and save China?
Mulan is a stellar all-around film. By 1998, Disney really had mastered the musical, princess formula. Everything about this film is just done right: the score, the songs, the animation, the voice acting, the comedy, the action, and the story (I could go on and on). With Mulan, Disney was able to both successfully stick to its magic formula for success, while also veer away from its usual canon and explore a unique story and fresh style of animation.
The story is the real winner here. It’s smart, tight and well executed. Every scene has a clear purpose that drives the plot and our protagonist forward. Characters are well developed and relatable, especially Mulan whose duality and masculine disguise help her to be beloved by both men and women.
Mulan is a true Disney classic and a great achievement of the late 1990s, a time when most of Disney’s films were sub par compared to efforts earlier in that decade. Mulan is clearly an under-appreciated classic by the Walt Disney Company–the fact that it did not get its own Diamond Edition is beyond me.
Mulan 2 ★★ 1/2
In Mulan II, the newly engaged Mulan finds herself escorting three princesses across China so they can meet their betrothed. Along the way, Mulan, Shang and their small cohort must protect the princesses from bandits and enemies.
The Features ★★★
This two-movie collection features a variety of “classic” bonus features (translation: they’re the same from the DVD release a few years back). There’s nothing special or new. However, these classic features are worth your while: an director-producer audio commentary, some deleted scenes, a “classic” backstage Disney featurette, five music videos from popular artists of the day, a featurette about Mulan’s international journey and a multi-language reel.
Apart from the director’s commentary, my favorite featurette was an informative little ditty about the songs of Mulan. Personally, I loved learning about the history, development and process behind these songs (and other deleted songs).
Mulan II’s bonus features include a “classic” backstage Disney segment featuring the voices of Mulan (Disney, you’re still not following anyone here with all this “classic” business), some deleted scenes (impressive that these are provided for a direct-to-video sequel, which are typically ignored in the bonus feature department) and a music video by Atomic Kitten.
Mulan II is unoriginal and flawed, yet it isn’t so bad that you have to shield your eyes and turn it off. The original Mulan, however, is worthy of the term masterpiece. It really is a movie worth fighting for.
Mulan/Mulan II 3-disc Special Edition Blu-ray/DVD is available March 12, 2013.
Mulan & Mulan 2: 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD
All screenshots via blu-ray.com and disneyscreencaps.com.