Mulan on DVD
In the last few years, traditional animation has begun its downhill slide,
to be replaced by 3-D computer animation. Disneys Mulan was one of the
last old-school animation movies to make it in and out of theatres alive.
Is it that the quality of movies is going down, or are audiences merely bored
with that old thing now that theres something new? The box office figures
speak for themselves: computer animation is raking in the dough (see every Pixar
movie to date, as well as Ice Age, Shark Tale and the Shreks), while most 2-D
cartoons die a horrible death (see Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and Treasure
With all of that aside, we can get on to talking about Mulan.
Mulan lived a long time ago, in a society in which women are the caregivers,
cooks, cleaners, and so on and so forth. For a woman to impersonate a man, or
perform any task normally performed by a man, is to shame the family name and
is punishable by death.
But when Mulans father is called into action to defend China against
the Huns, she takes it upon herself to head into action for him. Accompanied
only by a lucky cricket named Cri-Kee and her guardian dragon Mushu, at first
she has a hard time fitting in (it is a mans world, after all).
But when Mulan really gets going, she turns out to be quite a helpful chick
to have around. As long as she can keep up the charade, the Chinese just may
survive the invasion after all.
Mulan is a pretty good movie. Sure, its not in the same league as Aladdin
or The Lion King, but the story, animation, humor,
and voice talent are all up to par. It even features some (obviously) computer-animated
shots that are meshed well with the rest of the film.
Its also much more epic than most Disney fare. The idea of the Huns invading
China, killing all who oppose and burning cities to the ground is not a pleasant
one. The fact that Mulan and company are Chinas last hope of survival
gives the movie a much needed sense of urgency, since most of the movie up to
that point is fairly uneventful.
Finally, it throws in the typical life lessons that can be found in animated
features. It talks about the wonders of being yourself, and that if traditions
dont make a lick of sense, you should be willing to turn the other cheek
under the right circumstances.
Mulan may not be great, but its a pretty good animated Disney movie that
deserves a place in most DVD collections. Now available in this 2-disc special
edition, we get the definitive version.
Picture comes in "family-friendly" 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible,
and it looks great. Colors are razor sharp and theres not a single trace
of dust or grain anywhere to be found. All the scenes set in the snow are handled
very well, with the immense whites never drowning out any of the action.
Audio is the usual Dolby Digital 5.1, which features great separation and well-done
surrounds. Its particularly noticeable during the avalanche scene, at
which time the surrounds and the subwoofer rumble into action and send the snow
flying straight into your living room. At times the dialogue is a little quiet,
but it may have been meant to be like that, so we cant really say too
There are a few deleted scenes on the disc, including a deleted song performed
by Mushu. Most of the scenes are from early versions and so dont hold
much merit, but the song is pretty catchy and its unfortunate they decided
not to use it. Four music videos are included, including one with Jackie Chan,
an audio commentary by the filmmakers, fun facts, DisneyPedia: Mulans
World, and a fairly extensive making-of documentary split into little bits.
As is the case with most docs about animated films, it doesnt spend enough
time on the voice talent and spends too much time on the progression of the
animation, but is otherwise pretty good.
Finally, we get the usual series of trailers for upcoming Disney theatrical
and DVD releases.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think