HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Mulan/Mulan 2
HTS Overall Score:83
Disney is well versed in how to market its catalog releases over the years. It has made an art form of creating different banners such as the “Platinum” line for its front runners and then gives it’s less popular titles a bit less of the perfect treatment. Hits like ‘Peter Pan” and “Cinderella” get 3 disc editions with a TON of special features while others such as “Mulan/Mulan 2” and “The Aristocats” get the same ported extras from the DVD editions. With these new slews of 2 packs with a direct to video sequel coming into the market you have to realize that the sequels are more “special features” than they are anything else.
“Mulan” has always been one of my favorite Disney Princess’s and has made for a fine film. It’s sequel, not so much. Barely hanging on animation wise, and sorely lacking a compelling storyline I must say this up front. Don’t let the DTV sequel taint the fun that the original “Mulan” is, consider it a special feature that doesn’t raise the price of the MSRP one bit and realize that the scores are combination of the two in this review
Mulan – :4stars:
During the Han Dynasty, the Huns have invaded past the Great Wall of China and China is in serious need of more troops. Issuing a decree, the Emperor (Pat Morita) demands that every family must volunteer one male member of the family to go protect the nation from the invading Huns. Fa Mulan (Ming-Na Wen), a precocious young tomboy who can’t seem to do anything right, steals her ailing father’s armor and disguises herself as a man in order to take his place. Finding herself under the leadership of newly appointed Captain Shan-Yu (Miguel Ferrer), she has to learn the ins and outs of being a disciplined soldier, all the while keeping her secrete safe. With the help of her family shrine guardian, Mushu (Eddie Murphy), a tiny dragon, she learns the secrets of who she really is and ends up saving China in the process.
Mulan is one of the rare second tier Disney titles that hovers JUST under the greatness of the Platinum tier titles. Had it been given a bit more spit in polish with the storyline I believe it could easily sit among the classics. It has its pitfalls with some unworthy jokes and cliché’s, but the voice acting is superb and it sets itself up for several epic battles. A fun movie that deserves a better rap than it’s gotten in the Disney lineup.
Mulan 2 – :2.5stars:
Set after the events of “Mulan”, Fa Mulan and Shan-Yu are engaged to be married, but must complete a mission before they can go on with their nuptials. They have to escort 3 princesses of the realm to a neighboring kingdom to be handed off as brides to the leaders. This does not sit well with the independent Mulan and she butts heads with the honor and tradition bound Shan-Yu. Unfortunately Mush doesn’t help very much here either. He’s terrified that he’ll lose Mulan to Shan-Yu after their wedding and does everything to wedge the two apart, and nearly succeeds. If it were not for an attack by bandits the two were headed for a split that neither side really wanted.
Mulan 2 is not one of the worst DTV sequels I’ve seen, but it certainly does no favors to the franchise. Having a simplistic storyline that is meant more for a Saturday morning kids cartoon than a full-fledged sequel to the much more serious “Mulan”, it meanders around and finally falls flat on its face for a truly cringe worthy finish.
Mulan - :4.5stars:
While it may not be in to top tier of Disney titles, they certainly did a fine job with the transfer for “Mulan”. Rich with colors that literally pop off the screen it parades itself out with a fantastic 1.66:1 AVC encoded transfer. Detail is excellent here, every line and curve of the artists brush is excellently reproduced here on the home screen. There’s a few scenes of light banding and some lines that look a bit fuzzy every once in a while, but nothing too noticeable. Resolution is excellent and the there isn’t any signs of digital tampering such as aliasing or compression artifacts such as macroblocking. Blacks are very well reproduced and shadow detail is very satisfactory. Disney always does an excellent job with their animated classics and luckily for us, they have done just fine with “Mulan as well”.
Mulan 2 - :4stars:
“Mulan 2” doesn’t look nearly as good as its predecessor, but that’s less to do with a poor transfer and more to do with the cheap budget of a DTV sequel. Contrasts and colors are a bit dingy and detail is nowhere near as good as “Mulan” due to the smaller budget, but being that a studio’s main job is to reproduce the original elements of the source, Disney has done a good job at giving us what was seen at the source in disc form. Overall a satisfactory transfer and definitely a plus for a mediocre sequel.
Mulan - :4.5stars:
“Mulan” bursts onto home video with a superb 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track. Brimming with surround activity, it bounces around from channel to channel with the thunder of horse’s hooves, the whistle of arrows passing by your ear and the full, rich sound of singing from every which way. Dialogue is locked firmly in the center and balanced very well with the rest of the track. LFE is bombastic and especially prevalent during the second half of the film when the battles start to take place. Horses hooves, thud powerfully against the ground and cannon fire shakes the walls into an avalanche of destruction.
Mulan 2 - :4stars:
As with the video score, the audio for a direct to video sequel just doesn’t have the budget to keep up with its predecessor. Dialogue is just as excellently defined as “Mulan”, but the dynamic range and surround usage is not as good, same with the LFE. Everything is quite serviceable and there’s nothing to actually complain about other than the fact that it’s not AS good as Mulan.
• Audio Commentary
• Delete Scenes
• About IWitness
•Classic Backstage Disney
•Classic Music & More
•Trailers & Sneak Peeks
•Voices of "Mulan"
"Mulan" is one of my personal favorites and a worthy addition to your Disney library. Funny, adventurous and the very first Disney princess to be a full fledged warrior princess, it stands head and shoulders above the rest of the animated Disney films of the 90's. "Mulan" 2 is an above average Disney sequel, that really does nothing to help the image of Mulan and instead should be treated more as a special feature so as not to take away from the luster of the first film. Mix in some great audio and video scores and we have a keeper for any Disney fans. I wish the extras had been a bit more filling, but they are still pretty decent over all. Solidly recommended.
Starring: Miguel Ferrer, Eddie Murphy, George Takei, Ming-Na Wen
Directed by: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook : Darrell Rooney
Written by: Rita Hsiao : Michael Lucker
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 AVC, 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English: DD 2.0, Portuguese, Spanish, French DD 5.1
Runtime: Mulan - 90 minutes, Mulan 2 - 77
Blu-Ray Release Date: March 12th, 2013
Buy Mulan/Mulan 2 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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