BluRay/DVD Reviews

MULAN

By • Nov 9th, 1999 •

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Rating: RECOMMENDED

I was worried for the first ten minutes, which proved too difficult for the artist army to enliven. Thereafter, the film glows with wit, narrative drive, and warmth. Sweeping scenes, more reminiscent of Eisenstein, perhaps, than Kurosawa, deliver the breathtaking epic impact animation holds as its own. And Eddie Murphy as Mushu, a runt of a dragon, is as marvelously drawn as his delivery is uproarious. What’s up with the blend of Disney animation and comic actors’ voices that elevates their performances beyond what the actors alone have been capable of delivering when live? Same thing with Robin Williams in Alladin. He was better than he’d been in years. Murphy is at the top of his form here, something he has been short on in recent times (The Nutty Professor excepted). Some of it may be the writing, though I suspect, as was the case with Williams, a generous attitude toward improvisation prevailed in the sound studio.

Mulan is a girl who poses as a man to replace her elderly father in the campaign to stop the advancing Hun army. In doing so, she acquits herself so well, she practically single-handedly routs the evil hordes. Boys Don’t Cry just came out on DVD (from 20th Century Fox), and what a double bill that would make. And if it were a long night one had to fill, there’s always Image Entertainment’s presentation of the stage version of Victor Victoria, just released, to cap off a long gender-bending evening.

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