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Mulan (Disney site)

Mulan is the thirty-sixth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, and first released on June 5, 1998 by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. Loosely based on various versions of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan (Fa Mulan), the film was the first of three produced primarily at the animation studio at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. It was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, with the story by Robert D. San Souci.

The most notable voice cast member of the film was Eddie Murphy, who provided the voice for the dragon Mushu. Other cast members included Ming-Na as Fa Mulan and B.D. Wong as Captain Li Shang.

The film outgrossed its predecessors, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules in domestic income, taking over $120 million and over $304 million worldwide. It is among one of Disney's most popular and successful movies to date.


Story

The Chinese legend of Hua Mulan centers on a young woman who disguises herself as a man to take the place of her elderly father in the army. The story can be traced back to The Ballad of Mulan. The earliest accounts of the legend state that she lived during the Northern Wei dynasty 386-534. However another version reports that Mulan was requested as a concubine by Emperor Yang of Sui China. The film may take place even later, as it prominently features landmarks such as the Forbidden City which was not constructed until the 15th Century. On the other hand, at the time of Northern Wei, the Huns had already absorbed into Chinese and other races and disappeared on the stage of history.

Disney's Mulan casts the title in much the same way as the original legend, a rough-around-the-edges daughter of a respected veteran, somewhat troubled by being the "sophisticated lady" her society expects. When the Huns invade China, it is declared that one man from every family must serve in the Imperial army, so each family is given a conscription notice. Mulan's father has to serve in the army, but due to an old wound from a previous war he served in, he cannot walk properly. He is willing to serve in the army, but it is clear that he will not survive if he does. One night, Mulan cuts her hair with her father's sword and ties it up. She then takes his conscription notice, armor, weapons and horse; and thus runs away to join the army.

At the same time, Mushu (an unusually small dragon) is sent by Mulan's ancestors to protect and encourage Mulan, but mostly to heal his tarnished reputation amongst the late Fa family's departed guardians.

Although Mulan starts out weak in comparison to her fellow soldiers, she works hard and is soon even stronger than the rest and becomes a respected part of her group, which is led by Captain Li Shang.

After Mulan defeats the Huns with her ingenious plan (she triggers an avalanche over their heads), she realizes she is wounded and passes out from blood loss. She is brought back to the camp for treatment, where they discover that she is actually a woman and she is expelled from the army. Before Mulan leaves the battlefield, she finds out that some of the Huns are actually alive and warns Shang and the emperor. Eventually, she ends up saving the kingdom and winning the respect of the Emperor (and of Shang), with a reasonable expectation of living happily ever after.

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