Wednesday, November 04, 2009

best films: #81: MULAN (1998)

Previously ranked and blogged at #73
Let's make one thing clear: the second golden age for Disney (a.k.a. the one beginning in 1989) didn't stop after The Lion King in 1994. In fact, I'd argue that 1998's Mulan is one of their all-time best works. It's easily the funniest Disney flick of the 1990s, and I think it's the best performance from comedic actor Eddie Murphy (don't even get me started on Shrek). Throw in the added bonus element of have actual Chinese American actors playing the lead parts -- Ming-Na (ER) and B.D. Wong (Law and Order: SVU) -- which isn't always the case with the voice acting choices (see: Aladdin). And beyond all of these is the fact that Mulan is hilarious, scored brilliantly by the late Jerry Goldsmith, and includes songs that are still catchy ten years later ("I'll Make a Man Out of You" comes to mind...). What perhaps most sets this entry in the Disney animation canon apart from the others is its unapologetic use of a lead heroine who doesn't need saving, a refreshing turn of events following a string of princesses who get by on their looks.

Standout Performance: Murphy's Mushu is silly and has impeccable comedic timing... for a ancient miniature dragon, that is...

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