Oh yeah, I was going to review an animated film as well, wasn't I?
Okay, so this is about a girl saving China. Sounds cute, and politically correct, in typical Disney fashion. (Yes, I'm quite conservative. Couldn't tell, could you?)
Mulan is a great movie, and one that I hope my daughter likes and gets something from.
Alright, some details. China is going to war, and the emperor has decreed that one man from every family shall fight for his country. Mulan, the (young) leading lady, is an only child, meaning that Mulan's father, whom she loves dearly, (battle-induced limp and all), will be going to battle. Knowing that he will die, but knowing that it is his duty. Gives me chills just writing about it.
But headstrong, intelligent (if brash) Mulan slips in in the middle of the night, takes the emperor's "invitation", and goes in her father's place, (as any honorable son would do for his father).
The moral implications in Mulan are strong, and delightful, and well told. But throughout it all is wonderful comedy, as who do Mulan's (deceased) ancestors send to protect her, but a diminutive dragon (voiced terrifically by Eddie Murphy) who gets her in more trouble than not to start off with.
What's not to like? Nothing that I can think of. China's patriarchal society is handled very well, and not the least bit patronizingly. The men in the movie, from Mulan's father to the emperor to Mulan's fellow army men, are all likeable and, in the case of the father and emperor, very respect-worthy. This is not an excuse for male-bashing, as one might have otherwise expected.
And what about the animation itself? I can't say I'm enough of an animation connisseur to speak intelligently about the quality of Mulan in that regard, but to my untrained eye, it looks very nice. There's a CG (computer generated) scene with the enemy hordes pouring down a mountainside that is very nice. And overall, the visual impact of the movie is impressive.
All in all, the Frank family gives it two thumbs up.