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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Mulan (1998)



Reviews and Comments

In a small way, Mulan marks a subtle shift in tone for Disney's animated features. From 1989's The Little Mermaid to 1997's Hercules (excepting The Rescuers Down Under), the Disney animated films have strongly resembled Broadway musicals, with all the lavish spectacle the comparison implies. It's proven to be a highly successful formula, although there was the foreboding sense that it would soon wear out. Shifting gears to prevent that from happening, Mulan goes easier on the music (there are fewer songs, and even so, there's one that should have been cut) and concentrates more fully on telling a strong character-oriented story. Although the Disney formula is still evident, the tone is changed subtlely but significantly, and the result is fresh all over again. Mulan has action, humor, exciting (but more importantly, realistic and unglorified) visuals, and characters one can care about. All told, another great win for Disney animation.