Movie - 1998, G, 88 minutes, Disney; IMDb entry
Genre - Animation, Family
Cast - Voices of Ming-Na, Eddie Murphy, Pat Morita, B.D. Wong, Harvey Fierstein, June Foray
Directors - Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook
DVD - 1.85:1 widescreen and 1.33:1 pan & scan, Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French), Dolby Surround 2.0 (French, Spanish); subtitles - English; single-sided, dual-layered disc; $29.99 SRP, Released 11/9/99

Review by Kelvin Cedeno

Mulan is now available in a 2-Disc Special Edition: Read our review. / Buy from Amazon.com.

Movie - Mulan took some time to grow on me. I enjoyed it very much at first, but I didn't see what was the big commotion about amongst Disney fans. After repeated viewings, I can see why. Mulan is an excellent Disney film that manages to be unique yet still have familar Disney aspects. The film is about a Chinese teen named Fa Mulan whose father is summoned for the wars against the Huns. Seeing that her father is too old and weak to fight, she disguises herself as a man and takes his place. With the help--ok, maybe not--of her guardian Mushu, Mulan goes through heavy training to become a solider. The film has very Asian-looking style that's pleasing to the eye, and as usual, the voices are perfect. "Reflection" is, in my humble opinion, the best Disney song ever created. Mulan is an impressive movie that's gotten a fair amount of attention, though deserves more. I find it odd, though, that this was G rated with all those fight scenes.

Video - Mulan is presented on DVD in a non-anamorphic 1.85:1 aspect ratio as well as a pan and scan 1.33:1 on the same disc. I don't know why some DVDphiles have criticized Mulan's transfer, for I found it to look stellar. Some (very) light grain appeared here and there, and maybe a shot or two had some soft spots, but overall Mulan looked incredible. Sharpness was perfect and though browns and greens are used a lot in this film, the movie still provided a colorful and beautiful transfer. Too bad it's non-anamorphic.

Audio - The movie contains a Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound track that sounds perfect, understandable for a modern Disney flick. Music, dialogue, and effects all sound great and none overpowers the other. Certain parts that involve explosives sound particularly good; these scenes really engulf you in the film.

Extras - Being that this was one of the VERY first Disney DVDs ever (this was THE first to be released on DVD instead of being released on laserdisc first), Mulan is incredibly skimpy on extras. We find two music videos: Christina Aguilera's "Reflection" and 98 Degrees' "True to Your Heart." Both songs are very well made (especially "Reflection") and they are much better than some of the pop crap to come from Disney in recent years. We also get the theatrical trailer, which includes rough animation and certain shots that do not appear in the finished film. Sadly, this is pretty much it. The only other thing we get are some recommendation menus for other Disney DVDs such as The Parent Trap remake and The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. Talk about commercialism.

Closing Thoughts - Mulan is wonderful Disney film that grew on me after repeated viewings. Both audio and video are excellent as can be. The inclusion of a Pan and Scan version should be appreciated by those who just don't like seeing the whole picture. The only thing keeping this DVD from greatness is the extra content (or lack thereof). Hopefully Disney will release a special edition in the future.
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Mulan is now available in a 2-Disc Special Edition: Read our review. / Buy from Amazon.com.

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