War, death, an innocent village burned to the ground and a cross-dresser.
Disney's at it again.
Every summer, like clockwork, Disney trots out its latest "Animated Classic."
How it becomes a classic before it's released is beyond me, although I hear
next year's animated gem is such a classic, it's already being studied in film
schools around the world.
This year's classic is Mulan, a 2,000 year-old Chinese legend about a girl who
dresses up like a man to join the army and defeat the Huns. And here you
thought chicks in the military was a new subject.
Actually, it's also a 2,000 year-old Hun legend, but they tend to ignore the
OK, who are the Huns? Sure, sure, I know about Attilla the Hun or Jabba the
Hun or whatever his name was, but where are they now? Where is Hunville?
Mongolia? Siberia? East Harlem? Just curious. I'm sure each and every one
of you will look it up, send me the answer and tell me I'm an idiot.
Mulan stars a bunch of paint, smeared around to look like people and stuff.
Pretty damn impressive, if you ask me.
It also stars the some pretty cool voices including Ming-Na Wen, B.D. Wong,
Harvey Fierstein, Pat Morita, Star Trek's George Takei (Yes, he legally
belongs to Star Trek), and the incredible Eddie Murphy as Mushu the talking
Eddie is the man. He takes control of this baby the same way Robin Williams
took control of Aladdin. He's darn funny as the voice of a little Dragon with
a big complex.
But he doesn't sing. Why not? Am I the only one who remembers that his girl
likes to Party All the Time?
And now that I mention it, the songs are the one area where this otherwise
quite sturdy production falls short of past pics. The songs just aren't that
interesting. Don't get me wrong, they're a Chopin Concerto compared to the
fluff that was in Poca-cocoa, but they don't have the zing the Aladdin or Lion
King had. Plus they have Matthew Wilder and Donny Osmond singing. Matthew of
"Ain't Nothin' Gonna Break-a My Stride" fame and Donny of...oh, like I'm gonna
even type the lyrics to a Donny Osmond song.
However, in all other areas, Disney has hit a Homer. The story is engaging,
fun, and meaningful. I liked it, and I'm not exactly the target demographic.
A bunch of other adults saw it with me (under duress) and they grudgingly
admitted that they liked it too. And of course the kids ate it up.
Especially Eddie Murphy's bit. Man, he has come a long way. You almost want
to take some of his new kiddie fans who love him in this, Dr. Dolittle and
Nutty Professor and show them Raw and Delirious. Just to see their reactions.
"Mommy? Why is Mushu doing that with the microphone? What does he mean by
the word f@$#? What's a p*%^y?"
You get the idea.
His past aside, is he, and this movie, fit for kids? Sure. So there's a war
that causes the death of, oh I don't know, 10,000 people? 100,000? It's
never done on screen. And you never see any bodies or anything. I mean come
on folks, this is Disney.
All told, I'm gonna give Mulan 3 3/4 Babylons. A good bit of fun for the
kiddies and the adults who still like to think they're kiddies, or at least
those adults who like to occasionally dress up like kiddies in the privacy of
their own home.
Don't ask, don't tell.
Let me just say that his "Child asking about Raw and Delirious" bit was quite
a bit more graphic before I got a hold of it. I guess nobody's told His
Criticness that our readership has expanded outside the gutter.
Really, sometimes I don't even know why I bother.
Directed By: Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook
Starring the voice talents of: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, B.D. Wong, Harvey
Fierstein, Pat Morita, Miguel Ferrer and Star Trek's George Takei.
Also subjecting the audience to the singing talents of: Matthew Wilder and