Time: 88 mins.
Academy Award nomination for Best Score.
SYNOPSIS: To save her father from death in the army, a Chinese maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China's greatest heroes in the process.
BOTTOM LINE: When I came upon this film on cable I figured it was probably worth the 90 minutes...since for once it was about a young girl who's main goal in life was to find true love or become a princess. I was more than pleasantly surprised. What I found was a stunningly drawn, engrossing tale of a young woman's adventurous search for honor and self. I'm sure the Chinese have big problems with the Disneyfying of one of their most beloved legends, but I found this story to be a true delight.
With the comic relief characters and singing kept to a minimum, the film unfolds this miraculous tale in an exciting and touching way. Mulan is a wonderful character courageous, fragile, smart, impulsive and unrelenting. After disgracing her family with the Matchmaker, Mulan decides to save her father's life and join the army in his place, disguised as a young man. She's not the best of soldiers, but she's a quick learner and when the time comes for decisive action, she makes a choice that saves her whole platoon from certain death but uncovers her secret.
In the end, she regains her family honor by defeating the Huns once and for all. The songs and score are inspiring, the animation unique and powerful and the story thrilling, if still filled with some of the regular Disney traits, like talking animals who try to help but are nothing but trouble. The plot is a bit intense and adult to be enjoyed by very young kids, which probably is why it wasn't more popular at the box office. Finally an animated film you'd be proud to let your daughter see.