Mandi Bierly
October 29, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Mulan

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
G
performer
Ming-Na, Eddie Murphy
director
Barry Cook
genre
ActionAdventure, Animation, Kids and Family

We gave it a B+

How do you make the legend of Mulan (Ming-Na), a Chinese daughter who takes her aging father’s place in battle, funny? Turns out you don’t, really. Not even if you’ve got Eddie Murphy’s first attempt at playing an animated sidekick, Mulan’s ”demoted”ancestor/dragon companion, Mushu. Luckily, Mulan‘s girl-power message continuously (and commendably) rings true.

EXTRAS The Lord of the Rings-size treatment — more than 15 featurettes on story, design, production, and music — covers the filmmakers’ five-year process, their struggle to find Mulan’s feminist yet father-honoring tone, and their praise of the crew member most responsible for making the film feel ”particularly Chinese.”Commentary from the directors and producer acknowledges that female animators drooled over shirtless Captain Shang — and that no one knows why his Imperial army shrunk by roughly 90 percent between the training montage and the first bout with the big bad Hun 12 minutes later. A cut Mushu song proves forgettable, while a cheesy, low-budget Jackie Chan music video (slo-mo! multiple exposures!) is anything but.

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