The romance lacks chemistry, and the villain lacks bite. It seems embarrassed to be a musical, failing to embrace the necessary ineffable daydreaminess. Somehow even more cartoonish as live-action.
Like a theme-park mounting of the 1991 cartoon, or the blandified pop version of an enchanting signature character tune. A watered-down pastiche of itself.
A wonderful mythology of demons and demigods. A heroine who embodies the bold spirit of her people. Another sweet, funny, exciting triumph from Disney.
The showstopping central musical number is a glorious anthem to female power and ability… and so, in fact, is the whole wonderful movie. Disney is finally getting it. (new DVD/VOD US/Can)
Why do slasher movies make us laugh in the instant after we jump and scream? When comedy works, it’s for the same reason that horror does: It surprises us, and laughter and screams emanate from that same primitive lizard part of our brains, one that reacts before we can think.
A moviegoing pal of mine calls it ‘Disney goosebumps,’ the awestruck, think-I’m-gonna-cry feeling evoked when the alchemy works and image and music fuse with your imagination and longing to transport you to another world.
Did I say what a tremendous impact this film had on me? I remember the first time I saw it, during its initial release, at a sold-out late-night showing, not a child in sight, and I was not the only adult sniffling back tears of joy, thunderstruck by the sheer wonderfulness of this movie. And that feeling came rushing back, times ten, when I saw the film again in IMAX.
Damn! Mulan is thisclose to being not just a brilliant animated film, but a brilliant film, period. It has a dramatic story, a heroine who kicks butt, a villain who kicks butt, a square-jawed hero with a not-so-nice side, and some of the most sweepingly gorgeous visuals since Beauty and the Beast. But Mulan is dragged down by insipid songs that feel tacked on and silly, inappropriate sidekicks and secondary characters.