Hua Mulan is a rambunctious child with a strong spiritual chi, but to bring honor to her family, she’s supposed to be a docile, subservient wife. After a meeting with a matchmaker goes poorly, troops from the Emperor arrive conscripting a male from every family to fight in a battle against the forces of Böri Khan and his powerful sorceress Xianniang. Mulan’s father Zhou has a bad leg and isn’t likely to survive any battles despite his willingness to fight, so in the middle of the night Mulan absconds with her father’s armor, sword, and conscription orders. She poses as Zhou’s non-existent son Hua Jun, and while she succeeds at integrating into the battalion led by Commander Tung, she must fight not only Khan’s forces, but the possibility of being discovered and bringing disgrace to her family.
Director: Niki Caro
Cast: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jet Li
Review: While glorious to look at, the movie still feels slightly hollow. All the right pieces are there, but an emotional connection to the characters is lacking. That might be due to the fact that the fighting, often in slow motion, is more on the Avengers spectrum. Mulan is supposed to be a hero, not a superhero. The special effects are too often so spectacular they take the viewer out of the story. The vibrant, colorful phoenix that looks more like a cool kite than a bird is just one example of the special effects being a little much. Maybe it doesn’t completely live up to the anticipation, but Mulan does bring honor to this ancient tale.
Verdict: Worth the Popcorn