Mulan (1998)

Directed by Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook
Written by Eugenia Bostwick-Singer, Rita Hsiao, Philip LaZebnick, Chris Sanders & Raymond Singer, based on a story by Robert D. San Souci
Starring Eddie Murphy, Lea Salonga, Pat Morita, B.D. Wong, Miguel Ferrer

My Advice: Wait and Rent It.

The Huns are coming!  The Huns are coming!  Yes, that's right, it's Disney's 36th animated feature and if there's one less memorable then I can't remember seeing it.  Basically, China is in danger, and the Emperor (Morita) has decided to conscript a male from every household.  The Fa household has only one male, the aged limping Fa Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh), so his daughter, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen; when she sings, Salonga), cross-dresses and joins the army in his place and ends up saving all of China.  What works in this film is Eddie Murphy's performance as the dragon, Mushu, who becomes Mulan's co-conspirator.  Granted, Mushu's a cross between Axel Foley and Chandler Jarrell, but you don't mind.  What doesn't really work is much of everything else.  Although the villain, Shan-Yu (Ferrer), looks neat, there's nothing to place him in the Disney Rogue's Gallery.  I had to look up his name while writing this.  The songs add nothing to the story but a drop in pacing and are infinitely forgettable.  Nothing here to hum on the way out of the theatre; I couldn't tell you much right now of them, mere hours away from the viewing.  The cross-dressing (which is supposed to show the point that women are people too) is taken to a somewhat silly (even for Disney) extent in the climax.  There are some nice visuals, such as the Huns' charge down the mountain and some beautiful landscapes, but it's still a rental due to its other faults.  Another disappointment in a string of 1998 disappointments.

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