279. Mulan

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Movie: Mulan

Release Date: June 19, 1998

Director: Barry Cooke, Tony Bancroft.

Starring: Ming Na-Wen, Eddie Murphy, BD Wong, Miguel Ferrer, June Foray, James Hong, Pat Morita, George Takei.

Tag Lines: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”

“This time, the princess saves the prince.”

Awards: Academy Award for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score, Matthew Wilder, David Zippel, Jerry Goldsmith (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Score, Jerry Goldsmith (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Song, “Reflection,” Matthew Wilder, David Zippel (nomination).

Relevance: I have to say that I am not a huge Disney fan. Sure, there are some iconic movies that they have produced over the years, but my general feeling toward them is…“meh.” That goes for their amusement parks and their takeover of Broadway (rolling my eyes as I type that) as well. Again, no real ill feelings towards them, just…“meh.” With that said, of the nine animated films on my list of my most influential movies of all time there are eight Disney titles. ‘Mulan’ is the first animated and Disney title to appear.

1998 wasn’t the greatest of years for me, so I didn’t get out to the movie theater a lot. I spent most of my time working. My job at the time was somewhat related to the entertainment field, so I was always aware of movies being released, I just didn’t necessarily get to see them. ‘Mulan’ falls into that category. I knew when it was in theaters and knew the music associated with it, especially Christina Aguilera’s “Reflection.” That song seem to play on a continuous loop at my place of employment.

Because of my son, my mom was in the habit of buying all of the Disney movies on VHS for us, even if we didn’t want them. She loved Disney. That’s all that mattered. So we pretty much had all of the available titles in our collection. So when ‘Mulan’ was released for purchase, it was either one of our Christmas presents that year or it was a Birthday gift for my son, which is in January. He was only two at the time and probably a little too young to understand the story, but in early 1999 we both sat and watched it for the first time.

As my son played with toys in front of the television, looking up once in awhile, I sat behind him totally entertained by the story, animation and voice work. When it was over, I looked at him and said, “Do you want to watch it again?” That’s how much I loved it. As my son grew up it was a movie that was revisited often and one that I gladly re-watched with him. The more we watched, the more we fell in love with it.

For me, it was the story of a strong female character that was most appealing. For my son, it was Eddie Murphy as Mushu. And I have to say, I agreed with him. Mr. Murphy made us laugh out loud so many times throughout the film. It was a great role and a superb job done by him. For us, it was comparable to Robin William’s performance as Genie in ‘Aladdin,’ which will be one of the other Disney movies to show up later this year.

As time passed and we slowly morphed from VHS to DVD or Blu-ray, not all of the Disney titles that we owned made the transition. ‘Mulan’ is one that did. It is a movie that I have watched countless times either with my son or alone. And one that never gets old.

Today’s Thoughts: Since I own the DVD, I do watch ‘Mulan’ every once in awhile, although I can’t remember the exact time I watched it last. So this morning, alone on the couch with a cup of coffee, and no two year old playing in front of me, I watched it again.

It’s funny no matter how many times I watch a movie, if it’s good, I never grow tired of it. That’s how I felt about ‘Mulan’ today. Despite me knowing the story and the most of the dialogue, I was 100% entertained and even laughed out loud twice, thanks to Eddie Murphy. Mushu has to be one of their greatest characters and it is so well portrayed by Mr. Murphy. My son, now 23, awoke after the movie was complete. I told him what today’s movie was and that he missed the viewing. The only response I got from him was “I love Mushu.” That says a lot about both the character and the film.

Although it was a box office success, ‘Mulan’ gets ignored a lot when talking about Disney classics. For me, it is one of their best. I am glad they did a live action version of the film that will hopefully get a theatrical release date soon. I’ll see it eventually, but I’m more grateful that its release has generated more interest in the animated classic.

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, Disney+, DVD Availability.

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