Saturday, October 5, 2013

Project Disney- Mulan

Project Disney: The plan is to tackle all of the Disney films, re-reading the classic stories and tales that inspired many of them and to look at how the changes the filmmakers made, the new elements they introduced and the essential elements they kept. We will, of course, be talking about the films as movies as well, saying why we enjoy them and what some of our favorite moments are, but our focus will be on looking at them as adaptations. For the films that are not drawn from any one work we’ll be looking at some of the possible literary influences that we see in the stories.  Project Disney is inspired by Picture Me Reading.

This week's Project Disney is Mulan based off of a Legend from medieval China.  It is actually hard to find the original story.  People think the original story was a poem about a girl who was tired of weaving so she went to war instead of her father, they won so she came home.  The next best book to compare to the movie to is actually a play called The Female Mulan Joins the Army in Place of her Father, by Xu Wei.  The message behind the play is that men and women are equals.

I love love this movie.  So to discover that the story has such rich roots really surprised me!! I was only able to find a couple of books based off the legend and they are actually children's books.  I read Legend of Mu Lan by Jiang Wei which was really similar to the Disney version. I also read Fa Mulan by Robert San Souci, which has amazing art.  That one is based off the play by Xu Wei.

Mulan is a wonderful character in the Disney version.  I just love when she goes to town to meet the matchmaker!  I just love the song "You'll Bring Honor to Us All".   In the Wei version Mulan already knows karate and sword fighting where in the movie she goes off with the boys and learns how to be a solider. It would seem in the film that Mulan is a failure before she sets off and in the story she is already a strong woman.  She surprises her family in the Disney film by leaving and joining in the army.  In the legend her father knows what she is planning to do.   One of the best songs in the film happen while Mulan is training..

Disney's version has the evil Shan Yu as the bad guy.  He comes from outside China and wants to rule.. while in Xu Wei's version the invading army comes from inside China in a rebellion form. There are some great side kicks in this film!!  I just love them... there is Musha.  A Chinese dragon that is Mulan's ancestor who comes back to protect her. There is also a little cricket that is just soooooo cute!

 Now in the movie we have huge battles.  Mulan must show that she is a real solider.  She ends up covering up the Hu army with a huge avalanche.  Thus proving who she is (since Disney can't really show battles).  I love the hunk guy Captain Li Shang .. he walks around a lot of the time in the film with no shirt.  Yeah I said it. And of course she has some great side kicks...Ling, Yao, and Po!

Eventually in the movie Mulan gets hurt and is found out to be a female.  In the Legend she isn't found out until the war is over and she goes home to her family where she changes cloths and the soldiers who helped her get home see her.  Mulan faces off with Shan Yu in the film and eventually with the help of all her sidekicks defeats him.  China's emperor congratulates her and she goes home to her family.  The hot guy.. oh I mean Captain Li followers her there and lets her know he likes her!!!

This is one of my ALL TIME favorite Disney movies.  I think the story is great, the music is great, the humor is fun.  I laugh out loud every time I watch.  Sometimes I even quote the movie in conversation.   Just perfect.  I even sought out Mulan when I went to Disney World a few years ago and took a picture with her.  

Edit:  I have also decided to go through and watch all the sequels to the Disney movies.  Mulan II is awful.  You can tell all the voice actors have changed.  This one is about... Mulan and Captain Li going to escort the Captain's sisters to get married.  They are also getting married in this film. The whole gang is back.  Mushu wants to stop them from getting married because if they do get married he will be fired.  Honestly this is only OK... it's no wonder I haven't seen it before. 

Be sure to check out my other Project Disney!
Snow White
Peter Pan
Treasure Planet
Sleeping Beauty
The Great Mouse Detective 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Princess and the Frog
Beauty and the Beast
Lady and the Tramp
Alice in Wonderland
The Rescuers
The Rescuers Down Under
Oliver and Company
101 Dalmatians
Fantasia 2000
The Jungle Book
The Emperor's New Groove
The Sword in the Stone
The Aristocats
The Lion King
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Robin Hood
The Black Cauldron 
Mary Poppins
Lilo and Stitch  
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Make Mine Music
Fox and the Hound
Melody Time 


  1. We are so behind on our own meme..barely got Oliver and Company out..but we will post ours next weekend..I like this movie as well!

  2. I love Mulan. It will forever be one of my favorite Disney movies. I've heard that the original was really hard to find, but at least there are quite a few adaptations of it. Great post. I loved the gifs.:)

    1. I couldn't stop posting the gifs. I wanted to post even more!!!

  3. I am always surprised by how many adaptions there are in Disney but that just makes it an amazing company that they make the adaptions so amazing. I love the whole story of Mulan I mean come on!--GIRL POWA! She gets from being a frail to learning to know that even girls can be at the same level as men and once they realize she can do that the men ACCEPT her for that. Sure it takes a while, but at least they don't completely reject her for that. I admire Mulan so much. <3

    1. I admire Mulan too. She is such a cool girl. I like to think of myself similar to her. Kinda boyish but girlish at the same time.

  4. I haven't seen this movie either! I'm so not a good Disney fangirl! But I'm hoping to get down to business and see it soon! I do like some of the songs and the way Disney tells Mulan's story seems awesome so I can't wait to get to it soon!

    1. Never seen Mulan??? Whoa! This is one of those Disney movies everyone should see for sure. Can't wait to see what you think of this one too.

  5. I love this movie! The second one wasn't as god, but Mulan is so kick ass and I adore Mushu :D


    1. I need to watch the second one this weekend. I think I saw it once but don't really remember it.

  6. I'm not too into disney, never was, but I've watched Mulan multiple times and I'm always on the look out for books about it or similar to it. I haven't read the ones that you have but I did read a retelling called, The Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey. I liked that :)

    Go Shang! I love all those characters in the movie!

    -Mari @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. OOOhhh I love retellings so I am going to for sure check out the book you listed.

  7. I love Mulan so much! It's such a great movie!

  8. You may be disappointed in me, but I really didn't like this movie.