Mulan

[Review by Jeremy Grayson]

[Writer: Rita Hsiao, Philip LaZebnik, Chris Sanders, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer, Raymond Singer | Director: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook | Aired: 06/19/1998]

“You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.” – The Emperor

Taken at its simplest level, Mulan is a well-made and highly entertaining animated feature based off an ancient Chinese legend. Taken at a deeper level, it’s a telling story about family duty and the preservation of honor. But at its most intricate, Mulan is a tale of female empowerment, one as sly and subtle as has ever been put to film.

Released near the end of the period many enthusiasts dub “the Disney Renaissance”, Mulan was an innovative breakaway from the typical “Disney princess” fable that had been the studio’s forte for several decades. The story centers on Fa Mulan, a young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to join the Chinese army and fight the invading Huns. There’s none of that “Someday my prince will come” cutesiness here. Well, not much of it.

The first thing that strikes you about the character of Mulan is how un-princess-like she is. As voiced by Ming-Na Wen (Melinda May on Agents of SHIELD), she exhibits a bright and exuberant personality, with occasional flashes of tomboyishness. That last trait doesn’t do her much good in imperial China, where young women are prepped and preened in the most ladylike of manners to bring honor to their future husbands, and talking in public without permission is strictly frowned upon.

As the movie makes abundantly clear in its opening minutes, Mulan doesn’t care much for this mold. She holds little regard for the matchmaking ceremony, jotting notes down on her arm and arriving unfashionably late to the beautician’s. Her appointment with the matchmaker is nothing short of a disaster, demonstrating that she’s just not cut out for the fair maiden life.

Through much of the movie, and the early scenes especially, Mulan is shown gazing at her reflection. In the beautician’s parlor, in a garden pond, in the polished headstones of her ancestors… Mulan sees the woman she is, and simply isn’t satisfied. While her song, “Reflection”, is a little on-the-nose, it conveys the two sides of Mulan – and the second identity she is about to adopt.

It is only when we catch Mulan’s reflection in her father’s sword that we see a woman exhuming confidence and inner strength. This is the sword she uses to cut her hair, shedding her most visibly feminine aspect, and taking on the figurative and literal mantle of a new identity. Compare the moment where she ties her shortened hair back to appear more masculine to the earlier scene where the women of the city tie her hair back to appear more feminine. Mulan didn’t show much enthusiasm at the earlier makeover; this one, she embraces.

The film does not shy away from the underlying sensitivities involved in Mulan’s disguise (which she completes with the winkingly unisexual name “Ping”), and that’s a good deal to its credit. The film’s most rousing song, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, leans heavily on the gender-bending, with constant blasts of “Be a man!” stirring up the testosterone in the crowd – before the sight of our heroine reminds us that the concept of a “man” is not as restrictive (nor, as old-world politics would teach us, as physically defining) as we might believe.

Mulan spends a good chunk of this movie surrounded by men of the military – the sort that women find attractive in theory, but who aren’t nearly as appealing in close-up. Her comrades, including the short-tempered Yao and the goofy Ling, are essentially cartoony portrayals of masculinity, and exemplify many of that gender’s more unflattering traits. (The serene and cuddly Chien-Po comes off as more of a giant goofball, though.) Their motives, as well as those of their broad-shouldered comrades, are also less compelling than those of Mulan. She has joined the Army to preserve her family’s honor without the visible risk of losing her aging father in battle, while the men in her troupe are pushed forward by the thought of what the ladies will think, as we are clearly informed of in the boisterous tune, “A Girl Worth Fighting For”.

To say that the film portrays all its men as single-minded and oafish would be an exaggeration, but Mulan is rife with implications of political correctness, stemming even outward to the villains. The Huns, a vicious group of barbaric pillagers with pale skin and frozen sinister expressions, resemble fearsome, deadly zombies, a metaphor driven home when several of them rise from the grave of a crushing avalanche. Their leader, Shan-Yu, has an especially frightening design, complete with deathly black irises surrounding sickly yellow pupils, but he hasn’t much motivation for attacking China – his reasoning, as it were, that the Great Wall challenged his sense of power. This need for superiority in strength speaks to another trait associated with masculinity, although the film never visibly associates the madman’s destruction with his gender. The closest the film comes to illustrating the point comes in middle of the second act, when he is led to a village ripe for pillaging with the help of a simple feminine doll.

Still, it must be noted that a few male characters shine through in the film – Mulan’s father and the Chinese Emperor in particular exhibit wisdom and understanding. But the most prominent male in the film is Shang, the Captain who helms Mulan’s division, and, lest we forget, the only man in the camp who looks good with his shirt off. Like Mulan, Shang is fighting to preserve the honor of his family, and he is determined to train his men through strength and discipline.

Those two factors are physically represented, so he explains, by the two weights each soldier must have strapped to his wrists in the attempt of the first challenge: climbing a pole to retrieve an arrow. Naturally, Shang encourages this test as one of physical prowess, but Mulan is not the kind of person – woman or man – who puts stock in her physical strength, and with some creative thinking, she uses the weights to her advantage to complete the task. What’s most interesting here is that it’s not a case of Mulan taking a general brains-over-brawn approach – rather, she’s using her brains to turn the “brawn” aspect in her favor. Mulan never stops to preach to us that ingenuity beats physicality, because that’s not its message. By showing its heroine as brave, intelligent, and resourceful, it conveys to us how strength can be used in the most effective fashion.

Note the scene of the mountainside showdown with the Hun army, when Mulan uses a cannon not by aiming at the Huns themselves, but by aiming at the snow-capped mountains, taking all the villains out in a single avalanche. Again, it’s her resourcefulness that catalyzes her physical feats, giving her an edge over the simplicities of pure muscle. (Recall also that Mulan first gets the idea to start an avalanche after she catches the reflection of the mountaintops on her sword. Again, reflective surfaces are key in shaping her decisions.)

So much focus is put on Mulan’s resourcefulness that there’s surprisingly little room given for romance. While there are some clear sparks flying between her and Shang, much of their attraction is implied rather than felt. This is another storytelling choice to the film’s credit – Mulan is not defined by the men around her (quite the opposite, actually), and she’s also not the extra-girly type to go irrepressibly fawning over the hunky captain – at least not explicitly so. (I do love her facial expression when he takes off his shirt on the training grounds.) The most honest portrayal of his affection for her, as unromantic as it may seem, may be the fact that he chooses not to kill her after learning her secret.

And once Mulan’s secret does get out and she is left behind, we get one last literal reflective moment – this time, in her father’s helmet. Again, it’s a forlorn and disdainful expression, the kind we saw when she gazed earlier at her ancestor’s tombstones. And although earlier in the film, seeing her face reflected in the surface of battle gear strengthened her will, it here serves to show her as less of a soldier and more of… well, a girl. But it’s only when we’re rearmed with the notion that Mulan is indeed a girl that we’re ready for the thematic upset of the film’s climax.

Mulan is not especially subtle when it comes to denigrating female societal roles – especially through the crushingly sexist dialogue of the Emperor’s correspondent, Chi-Fu – but it comes up with new and clever ways to drive home its feminist angle, right through its third act. The plan to have her fellow warriors dress as concubines is a clever reversal of the film’s primary plot, and the use of sashes to climb up the sides of the palace (channeling Mulan’s earlier shimmy up the pole with the weights) is a worthy commentary that the elements of strength and discipline can be found even in simple feminine attire. But it’s the reprise of the “Be a man!” verse from “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” that truly sells the sublimity of the scene. The label of “man” has by this point in the film become so flexible that it’s lost nearly all its initial meaning – a fact that the filmmakers are all too aware of.

Yet as much as I enjoy the role reversal scenario, there is one moment in the climax that stands out in its feministic implications above all the rest. Recall the scene on the rooftop which features the final showdown between Mulan and Shan-Yu. At one point, the vengeful Shan-Yu thrusts his sword at Mulan, only for her to block it with her fan and twist it from his grip. This little moment seals the deal on Mulan‘s female empowerment message. Why?

We last saw Mulan’s fan during the matchmaker’s proceedings, where she displayed no clue as to how to use it. She attempted to fan out the flames on the matchmaker’s pants (only to spread the fire), and showed little skill in coordinating it in the patented “proper” fashion. (Also worth mentioning: Immediately after she recited the customary speech, the matchmaker checked the back of her fan – a sign that it’s not irregular for potential brides to hide notes there. Mulan, of course, had instead written notes on her arm, another sign that she’s unaware of how to “use” the fan.)

But during the climax, for the first time in the whole film, Mulan wields the fan confidently, putting the stereotypically feminine object to creative physical use. The fact that she does so by facing up to the man-monster Shan-Yu and his powerful, deadly, and – let’s not kid ourselves here – somewhat phallic, sword should leave no doubt that she has proven herself to be just as strong-willed as any of China’s celebrated male warriors. When she twists the sword from Shan-Yu’s grasp, she essentially emasculates him. And as a final touch, she uses that very sword in an inventive (yet not directly violent way), pinning his clothes to the roof and leaving him no means to escape an explosive doom.

Mulan returns home a hero, and with souvenirs of victory in hand. These her father casts aside, however – though he may regard honor above all else, he sees Mulan’s actions as true heroism, and the highest honor of all.

It’s an intensely dramatic story all around, especially when you consider the film’s kid-friendly rating. That said, however, the drama is at times undercut by some rather obtrusive comedy. The material surrounding Yao, Ling, and Chien-Ho is often very funny, and fits in well with the film’s tongue-in-cheek portrayal of masculinity. But other sources of humor seem forced in to entertain the small fry. As with most Disney films, there’s a wacky animal sidekick – Mushu, a red dragon out to prove himself as a capable Guardian of the Fa family. Although Eddie Murphy’s portrayal is lively and ingratiating, and some of his lines are genuinely funny, Mushu simply feels like he belongs in another, less weightily dramatic film. (He also gets a sidekick of his own, in the form of a small cricket who may or may not be “lucky”; even for a less deeply serious film, this would feel like a comic relief overload.)

But perhaps the biggest comedic issue – and the biggest issue with the film’s story overall – is the portrayal of the ancestors. Here we have the spirits of the men and women who have watched over the Fa family for generations, and instead of depicting them as fiercely tethered to the drama, they hang around like a bunch of grouchy old codgers at a nursing home. There’s no means of serious investment in their actions, and the celebration they have once the war is over is an irritating note to close the film on.

But warts and all, the story of Mulan is where its meat lies. But there are plenty of other aspects to enjoy about the film. The animation, for example, is simply marvelous to look at. Character designs are sharp and angular, yet they move as fluidly as normal humans (with the occasional added exaggeration of cartoony effect). Mulan’s design perfectly accommodates the film’s needs – her face is a cherubic oval, pretty and modest in its regular state, then youthful and strong when she adopts her male guise. Shang gets a relatively square-jawed, human design (the better for him to appear handsome), while most of the supporting characters get their own unique looks, livening up the world even if they’re only onscreen for a scene or two. The backgrounds, while sometimes sparse, tap into the painted wonders of Imperial China, giving the whole film an authentic ancient feel.

The voices, supplied by a primarily Asian cast, are plenty of fun, with James Hong (Chi-Fu) and Gedde Wantanabe (Ling) as standouts. June Foray is also fun as Mulan’s grandmother, one of the few unflatteringly portrayed women in the film. (“Sign me up for the next war!” she whistles upon seeing Shang.) the actors have plenty of fun with their roles, bringing life to the characters and helping the writers turn their two-dimensional forms into three. The score (by Michael Kelly) is as lively as the characters, and the songs (from Matthew Wilder and David Zippel) are enjoyable without throwing off the pace of the story.

Mulan is not a perfect film, or even one of Disney’s best efforts. Its messages are at times too heavy-handed, and it can veer wildly between its dramatic and comedic elements. Still, I’d be lying if I said I thought it wasn’t a thoroughly enjoyable film, and a fine example of Disney Studios in their prime. It boasts great animation and a lot of fun characters, as well as some surprisingly thoughtful storytelling. Like its immensely appealing lead, there’s a lot more to Mulan than you’d expect.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ I always liked the “single grain of rice” transition at the beginning of the film. It’s a clever nod to ancient Chinese metaphors.
+ During the “Honor to Us All” song: “Boys will gladly go to war for you.” This movie never misses a trick, does it?
+ Mulan’s flustered attempts to come up with a name for herself when Shang asks, and Mushu having fun with the situation.
+ Many of Mulan’s attempts to appear “manly” – strutting, punching Yao, and the gross-out moment when she attempts to spit on the ground.
+ I’m not typically a fan of training montages, since they’re generally used to cut corners and move past the heavy stuff. But the montage accompanying “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is spectacular, portraying the exercises Shang’s troops go through as arduous yet funny, and providing a solid turning point (Mulan climbing the pole) toward their successes.
+ Speaking of the pole-climb: The moment when Mulan, nearly at the top, slips a bit, and then determinedly regains her footing, all while her fellow soldiers watch, may be my favorite little moment in the entire film. It says so much not only of her personal determination, but of how she inspires those around her.
+ The bathing scene. Disney came dangerously close to tipping the film over into PG territory, but it’s all played so loosely and humorously that the censors probably didn’t mind.
+ The quiet moment of Mulan leaving the doll from the massacred village by Shang’s sword.
+ The storyboarding and direction of the avalanche and Mulan’s fight against is it fantastic. Perhaps a little over-the-top, but I’m not complaining.
+ Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po fighting the Huns… with fruit!
+ Chi-Fu getting a richly deserved fright when the Emperor tells Mulan she can take his place. (Chi-Fu’s, not the Emperor’s, that is.)


[Score]

B+

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23 thoughts on “Mulan”

  1. [Note: Zarnium posted this comment on February 15, 2015.]

    Great review, it made me look at the movie in a new way. I never before thought of Mulan’s creative solutions as being a “brains plus brawn” approach.

    I actually like Mushu. I think he’s funny and he gives Mulan someone else to talk to who knows her secret, which is dramatically useful at certain spots. (At least far as I remember, I haven’t seen the movie in a long time and I don’t remember the exact scenes.) The cricket is a little extraneous.

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  2. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 15, 2015.]

    Thanks, and you’re right that Mulan needed someone in on her secret, and preferably someone who isn’t a man (in the human sense, anyway).

    When it comes to Disney sidekicks, I think Mushu is probably among the laugh-out-loud funnier ones. He’s just very much at odds with the tone and characters of the rest of the film.

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  3. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on February 16, 2015.]

    This is a very good review Jeremy. I think you nailed the main feminist themes of the movie, and the observation about how Mulan used the fan as a weapon in the final battle is insightful.

    That said, I think you underrate the movie a fair amount, and I think it’s because you don’t read the tone of the movie all that well. At one point you call this a “deeply serious” film, and it is not that. At all. In fact, Mulan and Hercules, the two films at the tail end of the 90s Disney revolution are probably the two least serious of the Disney films, at least in that era, and probably throughout their history. It’s much closer to the current crop of Disney animated films (Wreck-it-Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6), in that it roots its themes in the comedy to make the film more accessible to those younger viewers who are looking to laugh. Compare to Hunchback of Notre Dame, for instance, which was so dark and serious that it pretty well completely turned kids off of it, Mulan is practically a sitcom.

    The key to Mulan is poking fun at the concept of masculinity and, more generally, expectations based on appearances. And the poking fun part is necessarily going to be light-hearted and humorous. This is what most of the movie is made of. And the climax is those masculine soldiers cross-dressing to fool the Hun capturers, which is a joke in itself. The Huns decimating that village feels much more out of sync with the movie than anything involving Mushu or the ancestors. And the Mushu plot parallels Mulan as well. The ancestors don’t believe Mushu is capable of being the protector, because he’s small and had failed miserably in the past, and Mushu sets out to prove them wrong. It extends the message beyond the idea of females being able to succeed in roles typically thought of as male. It shows that with determination and smarts, you can basically be anything you want to be, no matter your size, gender, physical makeup, etc.

    And criticizing a movie with an intended audience of 8-12 year olds for being on the nose is a little unfair. If Mulan tried to be subtle, the intended recipients may miss the point entirely.

    For me the real weakness is the Mulan-Shang romance, which feels shoehorned into the end because it is trying to fulfill expectations of “a Disney movie.”

    Anyways, forgive my nitpicking, this really was a good review that hit on all the key themes. I think this is in the top 3 for animated Disney (non-Pixar) movies, and showed that Disney was really learning to add some complexity to their tales as time went on.

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  4. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on February 16, 2015.]

    The other thing I like about the third act from a feminist perspective is that Mulan saves China in women’s clothing. A lot of films about feminist empowerment run into the twin dangers of either suggesting that the path to feminist empowerment comes from shunning effeminacy, or invalidating women who happen to be butch. But Mulan kicks just as much ass as Ping as she does as herself, and the film doesn’t laud one identity over the other. It celebrates Mulan’s strength independent of her presentation.

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  5. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on February 16, 2015.]

    I actually find the story behind Mulan to be very serious by Disney standards. The villains are almost entirely humorless, and there are a great many deaths (largely off-screen, of course). And while it may not be as grim as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s not nearly as comedy-oriented as many of its Disney successors, like The Emperor’s New Groove, Home On the Range, Chicken Little, et al. Mulan is telling a serious story, albeit with (sometimes obtrusive) comedy.

    Plus, I don’t look at the film (or any Disney film, for that matter) as having a target audience of 8-12 year olds. Disney movies work for people of all ages. There’s plenty for kids to enjoy in Mulan even without learning the messages. From an adult perspective, though, the subtle aspects of the film should be just that: subtle.

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  6. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on February 16, 2015.]

    Sure, the subtle aspects should be subtle. I don’t consider the primary message of the movie, the one relayed in the “Reflection” song, to be one of the aspects of the movie that should be kept subtle, or one of your main target audiences will just miss it entirely.

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  7. [Note: Comandante Spi posted this comment on February 21, 2015.]

    Here’s another minor pro: in the scene where Mulan is bathing in the lake and the soldiers come to join with her and one guy wants to shake hands, look at how she accidentaly hands it to him like she ecspects him to kiss it. Pretty subtle moment.

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  8. [Note: StakeAndCheese posted this comment on March 4, 2015.]

    BE A MAN
    You must be swift as the coursing river
    With all the force of the great typhoon
    With all the strength of the raging fire
    Mysterious as the dark side of the mooooooon!

    That is all.

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  9. [Note: guttersnipe posted this comment on March 10, 2015.]

    I wanted to get a rewatch under my belt before commenting; ace review here, Jeremy.

    I’m especially enamoured of the section regarding Mulan’s use of the fan: great analysis there and it really forms a thematic nucleus of the film. I think your description of Mulan as resourceful hits the nail on the head: soldiers aren’t often marked for smarts in real life or in fiction, so it’s refreshing to have a warrior character (female or otherwise) whose courage goes hand-in-hand with assessment and strategy. I love her father’s line “I will die doing what’s right”, as Mulan interprets ‘right’ as an able-bodied person fighting for the nation rather than an ageing man who’s very likely to perish on the battlefield.

    I disagree that this isn’t one of Disney’s best efforts, in fact I reckon the Disney Renaissance is very arguably the richest period in the company’s history (provided we try and pretend it doesn’t include the mediocre Rescuers Down Under). Part of the brilliance of that period was due to the well-roundness of the heroines, what with the three-dimensionality of Mulan, Belle, Ariel, Pocahontas and to a slightly lesser extent, Jasmine: all of which boast tomboyish traits without sacrificing their femininity (which, to be fair, kinda has to be stressed given Disney’s eternal angle towards making females look pretty to appeal to cosplaying young girls).

    Though I’d agree that Mushu and the family spirits are complete comic relief, I really like some of the details in their scenes, such as Mushu raising his arms zombie/Frankenstein’s monster fashion when he declares “I LIVE!!”, the spirits designed to imitate the American Gothic painting and the organ music underpinning Mushu’s superficially scary first appearance to Mulan, reminiscent of Black Gospel.

    One of the real strings to the film’s bow, though, is in its genuine respect towards Chinese traditions, attitudes and mythology. The 90s had far too many comedies at Asia’s expense (Beverly Hills Ninja, 3 Ninjas, etc), and although some were very funny (the fight scene in Wayne’s World 2 springs to mind), it’s very encouraging to see a Western family film avoid treating Chinese folklore as broadly and farcically as possible. The later Kung Fu Panda films also extended similar reverence, whilst having fun at the same time.

    I’d also like to point out that I much prefer Disney’s take on Hua Mulan to China’s own in the recent Mulan: Rise of a Warrior, the presence of the cute-as-a-button Zhao Wei notwithstanding.

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  10. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on March 10, 2015.]

    Thanks, guttersnipe. And I actually do think the Disney Renaissance is the most innovative period in the company’s history, and possibly the best (although Walt’s original efforts are solidified classics).

    If I had to rank all the Disney animated flicks of the 90s, though, Mulan would probably fall somewhere in the middle. That’s not meant as a major knock, though – I still think it’s a really good film.

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  11. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on March 10, 2015.]

    OK, rank the films from the 90s. Sounds like fun. Keep in mind these rankings are skewed by the fact I haven’t seen some of these since I was like 10. Also, only including the Disney movies done specifically by the Walt Disney Studio, so no Pixars or Nightmare Before Christmas or anything like that:

    1. Lion King
    2. Mulan
    3. Pocohontas
    4. Hercules
    5. Aladdin
    (6. The Little Mermaid – Not 90s, but still Renaissance)
    7. The Rescuers Down Under
    8. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    I’d say Disney has gone on a pretty innovative stretch once again, after a shaky 2000s, pretty much since Tangled. Frozen has been so well regarded that we are fully in the backlash stage, but I don’t think it can be understated how much that movie played with the conventions of the typical Disney story and produced better themes in ways that were still unpredictable.

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  12. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on March 10, 2015.]

    Tarzan is also a 90s film (arguable the last of the Renaissance).

    Oh, and I disagree with pretty much all of those rankings.

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  13. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on March 10, 2015.]

    Yeah, I forgot Tarzan was 90s. It’s not a movie I particularly care for, beyond the Phil Collins music. It’s also another one I haven’t seen for a very long time.

    You aren’t necessarily wrong in disagreeing with all those rankings. It’s been a while since I saw Hunchback, for instance, or even Beauty and the Beast. Pocohontas may be too high, but I think most of the complaints about that movie are pretty unfounded and I like the more complex portrayal than “all white men were always bad” and “Native Americans were always right” that the movie could have easily slipped into. (I mean, in general that’s true, and I think the movie highlights that, but it doesn’t apply to every single person.)

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  14. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on March 10, 2015.]

    Oh, i just never found Pocahontas all that enticing (although it’s also been a while since I’ve seen it).

    My next Disney review will actually be for a 21st century film. That’s all I’ll say for now.

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  15. [Note: Zarnium posted this comment on March 11, 2015.]

    Frozen has been so well regarded that we are fully in the backlash stage, but I don’t think it can be understated how much that movie played with the conventions of the typical Disney story and produced better themes in ways that were still unpredictable.

    I have to agree. I’ve always liked Frozen, but I never thought that much of it until I watched a “Confused Matthew” review recently. He makes a very good case for just how well the movie plays with audience expectations and uses them to its advantage, and points out all sorts of things I hadn’t really noticed before.

    For my money, though, my favorite Disney film of the last decade is Wreck-it-Ralph. It’s the only movie I’ve ever gone back to see a second time while it was still in theaters, and given the fact that I rarely rewatch movies without multiple years passing between viewings, that’s quite a compliment from me.

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  16. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on March 11, 2015.]

    What do you dislike about The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Scott? I’ve never been much of a Disney fan – I loved The Lion King and liked Wreck-It Ralph but the rest I find mostly insufferable – but that’s one of my favourite animated films ever.

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  17. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on March 11, 2015.]

    OK, so the thing with Disney movies is that there are very few of them that are great enough that they can stand on their own to an all-adult audience (I’d say the Pixar stretch from Finding Nemo to Toy Story 3, with a few exceptions are some of the only movies that actually qualify for this). So in order for them to work, they have to play to kids as well.

    And ultimately, Hunchback doesn’t play that well to kids. It’s too dark and violent and the villain is almost too much an uncomfortably real picture of human depravity. So it ends up not really having a good target audience. It’s too much of a kids movie for adults, and too much of an adult movie for kids. In so doing, it becomes a movie that is worth while to pretty much no one.

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  18. [Note: guttersnipe posted this comment on March 11, 2015.]

    Ranking the Renaissance, huh? Here goes:

    The Lion King
    Beauty and the Beast (the best they ever made)
    Mulan
    The Little Mermaid (itching for a rewatch of this)
    Aladdin
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Tarzan
    Hercules (a bit… frenetic for my liking, and Herc is way less fun than Hades)
    Pocahontas
    The Rescuers Down Under

    I’m hoping at some point “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” will be ejected from the jukebox in my head.

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  19. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on March 12, 2015.]

    too much of a kids movie for adults

    I’d say Hunchback barely even qualifies as a kids’ movie. It was so dark and intense that I couldn’t sit through the whole film until I was a teenager. I do think it’s a great film now, and again, the kid-appeal doesn’t necessarily factor into that equation.

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  20. [Note: StakeAndCheese posted this comment on March 15, 2015.]

    I need to rewatch half of those movies (I only have clear memories of Hercules, Mulan, Aladdin and The Lion King), but I pretty much agree with Guttersnipe.

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  21. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on January 17, 2016.]

    Something interesting I found on the internet: Mulan’s drag name is “Hua Ping,” which literally translates to “flower vase” but can also be a slang term for both a trophy wife and a gay man. Ha!

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