Mulan is a 1998 American animated musical historical action adventure film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation for Walt Disney Pictures. It is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, and was Disney’s 36th animated feature and the ninth animated film produced and released during the Disney Renaissance.
It was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, with story by Robert D. San Souci and screenplay by Rita Hsiao, Philip LaZebnik, Chris Sanders, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer, and Raymond Singer. Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Miguel Ferrer and BD Wong star in the English version, while Jackie Chan provided the voice of Captain Li Shang for the Chinese dubs of the film.
The film’s plot takes place in China during the Han dynasty, where Fa Mulan, daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou, impersonates a man to take her father’s place during a general conscription to counter a Hun invasion.
- Starring : Ming-Na Wen / Eddie Murphy
- Genre : Animation / Adventure / Family / Fantasy / Musical / War
- Country : United States
- Language : English / Mandarin
- Director : Tony Bancroft / Barry Cook
- Production : Walt Disney Animation Studios / Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida / Walt Disney Pictures
- Distributor : Buena Vista Pictures / American Broadcasting Company (ABC) / Buena Vista International / Gaumont Buena Vista International (GBVI) / Kommunenes Filmcentral (KF) / Prooptiki / Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Channel 5 Television / Disney Channel / Disney Cinemagic / Gativideo / Moviemax Family / Net5 / Walt Disney Home Entertainment / Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Mulan release date
- June 5, 1998 : USA (premiere)
- June 18, 1998 : Singapore
- June 19, 1998 : Canada
- June 19, 1998 : Israel
- June 19, 1998 : USA
- July 15, 1998 : Philippines (Manila)
- August 5, 1998 : Switzerland (Locarno Film Festival)
- August 18, 1998 : Philippines (Davao)
- September 3, 1998 : Australia
- September 26, 1998 : Japan
- October 16, 1998 : UK
- October 16, 1998 : Ireland
- November 13, 1998 : Sweden
- November 19, 1998 : Germany
- November 20, 1998 : Spain
- November 25, 1998 : France
- November 27, 1998 : Switzerland (German speaking region)
- July 23, 1999 : UK (re-release)
- Miguel Ferrer as Shan-Yu(voice)
- Harvey Fierstein as Yao(voice)
- Freda Foh Shen as Fa Li(voice)
- June Foray as Grandmother Fa(voice)
- James Hong as Chi Fu(voice)
- Miriam Margolyes as The Matchmaker(voice)
- Pat Morita as The Emperor(voice)
- Eddie Murphy as Mushu(voice)
- Marni Nixon as Grandmother Fa(singingVoice)
- Soon-Tek Oh as Fa Zhou(voice)
- Donny Osmond as Shang(singingVoice)
- Lea Salonga as Mulan(singingVoice)
- James Shigeta as General Li(voice)
- George Takei as First Ancestor(voice)
- Jerry Tondo as Chien-Po(voice)(as Jerry S. Tondo)
Produced and released during the Disney Renaissance, Mulan was the first of three features produced primarily at the Disney animation studio at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. Development for the film began in 1994, when a number of artistic supervisors were sent to China to receive artistic and cultural inspiration. Mulan was well received by critics and the public who praised the animation, plot, characters (particularly the eponymous character), and musical score, and grossed over $304 million. It earned a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination and won several Annie Awards including Best Animated Feature. A 2004 direct-to-video sequel, Mulan II, followed. A live-action adaptation directed by Niki Caro will be released on March 27, 2020.
The Huns, who are led by the ruthless Shan Yu, invade Han China by breaching the Great Wall. The Chinese emperor orders a general mobilization, with conscription notices requiring one man from each family to join the Chinese army. When Fa Mulan hears that her elderly father Fa Zhou, the only man in their family and an army veteran, is once more to go to war, she becomes anxious and apprehensive due to his weakening health. Taking her father’s old armor, she disguises herself as a man so that she can enlist instead of her parent. The family quickly learns of her departure, and Mulan’s grandmother prays to the family ancestors for Mulan’s safety. The ancestors order their “great stone dragon” to protect Mulan; a small dragon named Mushu, a disgraced former guardian, is sent to awaken the stone dragon, but accidentally destroys it in the process, which Mushu conceals from the ancestors and resolves to protect Mulan himself.
Reporting to the training camp, Mulan is able to pass as a man, although her military skills are initially lacking. Mushu provides clumsy guidance to Mulan on how to behave like a man. Under the command of Captain Li Shang, she and her fellow recruits Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po gradually become trained warriors. Desiring to see Mulan succeed, Mushu creates a fake order from Shang’s father, General Li, ordering Shang to follow the main imperial army into the mountains. The reinforcements set out, but arrive at a burnt-out encampment and discover that General Li and his troops have been massacred by the Huns.
As the reinforcements solemnly leave the mountains, they are ambushed by the Huns, but Mulan cleverly uses a cannon to cause an avalanche, which buries most of the invaders. An enraged Shan Yu slashes her in the chest, and her deception is revealed when the wound is bandaged. Instead of executing Mulan as the law requires, Shang spares her life, but nonetheless expels her from the army. Mulan is left to follow alone as the recruits depart for the imperial city to report the news of the Huns’ destruction. However, it is discovered that several Hun warriors, including Shan Yu, have survived the avalanche, and Mulan catches sight of them as they make their way to the city, intent on capturing the emperor.
At the imperial city, Mulan is unable to convince Shang about Shan Yu’s survival. The Huns capture the emperor and seize the palace. With Mulan’s help, Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po pose as concubines, and are able to enter the palace. With the help of Shang, they defeat Shan Yu’s men; as Shang prevents Shan Yu from assassinating the Emperor, Mulan lures the Hun leader onto the roof, where she engages him in single combat. Meanwhile, acting on Mulan’s instructions and signal, Mushu fires a large skyrocket at Shan Yu. The rocket strikes and propels him into a fireworks launching tower, where he dies in the resulting explosion.
Mulan is praised by the Emperor and the assembled inhabitants of the city, who bow to her in an unprecedented honor. While she accepts the crest of the Emperor and the sword of Shan Yu as gifts, she politely declines his offer to be his advisor, and asks to return to her family. Mulan returns home and presents these gifts to her father, who is overjoyed to have Mulan back safely. Having become enamored with Mulan, Shang soon arrives under the pretext of returning her helmet, but accepts the family’s invitation to stay for dinner. Mushu is reinstated as a Fa family guardian by the ancestors amid a returning celebration.
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