“ Genre: Children's DVDs - Disney / Theatrical Release: 2005 / Universal, suitable for all / Director: Darrell Rooney, Lynne Southerland / Actors: Ming-Na, B.D. Wong, Mark Moseley, Lucy Liu, Harvey Fierstein ... / DVD released 2004-11-15 at Walt Disney Home Video / Features of the DVD: Animated, PAL „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Another Disney spin off simply titled Mulan 2 came a few years off the back of the original. Strangely enough there was not much fanfare involved with this film as it was discreetly put onto the market.
The plot briefly involved Mulan and her boyfriend Shang deciding to get married and being given the mission of escorting three princesses to Ki Ghan (spelling probably horribly wrong) in order to create an aliance against the Monguls. Mushu finds out that if he lets Mulan marry Shang he will lose his place in the temple and be demoted back to gong ringer so he tries to break the pair up. Along the way, the three idiot warriors from the previous movie, fall in love with said princesses and from Mulan's ushering decide not to marry the Ki Ghan's prince. Mushu suceeds in splitting up the pair and events happen that lead Mulan to nearly marry the Ki Ghan prince however Shang and Mushu stop her and the two get married instead.
Criticisms? I'll first talk about the basics of the film, thankfully due to the simplistic art style the animation doesn't suffer and the quality is very near to the original.
The majority of the voice cast returned for this installment except the voice of Eddie Murphy (Mushu) who was probably off voicing carbon copy character Donkey from Shrek. Thankfully they did find a sound a like so it doesnt sound too different.
The most horrendous thing in this film that makes it almost unwatcheable is the awful characterisations of some of the characters. Shang particularly suffers, he is made into a completely incompetent captain who screams and gets chased by bears. Mushu who was selfish in the first movie is darn right mean in this one, in fact he is the main antagonist! The courtship of the pretty princesses by the soldiers is disgusting and involves the princesses babying the men and inexplicbly falling in love with them. I guess they DO say that love is blind.
Finally the princesses themselves decide to follow their hearts despite the fact that it would cause China to be in danger of invasion. It would be perfect if they had dug deeper with this theme rather than making a selfish decision. They plod merrily on with the idea that they want to be 'free like other girls' yet this was the whole point of the first movie, WOMEN WERE SECOND CLASSS CITIZENS. They weren't allowed to speak unless spoken to and generally abused by society. Its even more of a let down when one of the warriors pictures his future wife as someone who 'cooks night and day' for him. The morals are horribly screwed up which is a shame as it goes out to such young audiences.
All in an average film with very confused messag and poor follow through on the original characters.
Mulan 2 is the animated sequel to the very popular Disney Classic, Mulan.
~~~DVD BOX COVER DESIGN~~~
The design of the cover art for this DVD features Mulan in the centre with other characters surrounding it on a yellow background. Unlike its predecessor of using the traditional Chinese ideal of Red, this cover is lacks attraction and appeal. We have no idea what this sequel will entail from the front apart from three mysterious women in the background, which could be Mulan's love rivals to her children!
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Having read the plot before seeing the film, I had high expectations of the film. I thought the plot, when read, sounded alright. I knew it was not going to be as good as the first one, and the plot did seem slightly desperate, but despite all that, I took the plunge and gave it a watch.
Already from the first seen I gained a terrible impression. The opening scene with Mushu was extremely cringe worthy. I remember not really liking the dragon in the first film, despite his comedic input, but this was too much to bear. I endured.
This continued throughout the movie, with an underlying plot which involved Mushu's disruption of Mulan's marriage for his selfish gain. He continued and persisted to annoy with his punchlines and loudmouthed ramblings. If only I could just mute him out!
Moving swiftly on to the main storyline... the story is set once again in a beautiful drawn and animated landscape that resembles the culturally flourishing China, on a backdrop full of history and tradition that the film embraces well. Its attention to detail on architecture and furnishings to the objects they used are commendable.
However, the plot was utterly flat, boring and immensely predictable. The true historical story of Mulan ended after her triumphal battle and rescue of China. This sequel has no historical backbone, and is basically completely made up. Perhaps that is the cause of this movie's downfall- a lack of an integral full proof storyline.
In addition, the characters in this film seem to all have had a personality transplant. Whilst Mushu cannot be faulted for being selfish, are all of them STUPID? Can't they have a bit of common sense and just realise what is going on? I guess not, because the writers struck them powerless and dumb in order to progress and FORCE a storyline that was lacking to begin with.
Nonetheless, there are some pros to this film. The attempts at bringing music into the film DOES lighten the cons, however, none of the songs are addictive, and at times rather annoying actually. There is no "My Reflection" moment found in the song.
But one scene DID touch me (*SPOILER ALERT*), and that was when general Shang fell down the canyon and tears were streaming down Mulan's face, and she didn't get to tell him she loved him. That moment really shocked me, although I knew he wouldn't have died- it is a childrens' film. How I wish he would've, because that would've turned the film into something with so much more meaning.
Around £13 on Amazon..!! I would advise you NOT to buy it unless it is under £5 - which is what it is worth!
Having seen many Disney sequels transport themselves straight onto DVD, they have gained themselves a bad reputation. Personally, not only are they spoiling the classics we LOVE, but gain an image of greed... I mean we don't NEED those films and they're only doing it for the money, as it does not progress the stories in ANY way, rather, hindering and spoiling what was already brilliant.
Mulan 2 is no different. There are much more negatives than there are positives, but nonetheless, they did try to do their best, and in certain aspects they did succeed. The animation and setting is beautiful and flawless, despite the awful characterisation and plots that play out in such a diverse and detailed landscape.
I advise you not to watch this film, but rather watch the first film, Mulan again and just enjoy it for being an amazing film.