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Walt Disney Home Video presents
Mulan (1998)

"The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter."
- Fa Zhou (Soon-Tek Oh)

Review By: Brian Cook (age 32) and Roddy Cook (age 6)   
Published: June 17, 2000

Stars: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy
Other Stars: B.D. Wong, Harvey Fierstein, Pat Morita
Director: Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft

MPAA Rating: G
Run Time: 01h:28m:00s
Release Date: November 09, 1999
UPC: 717951002297
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- B+B+A- D

DVD Review

We didn't get a chance to see Mulan during its theatrical release, but my six-year-old son, Roddy, did manage to watch his VHS tape enough to almost wear it out. I was very excited when this movie was announced as one of the earliest Disney DVD releases, seeing as our tape needed replacement anyhow.

Mulan is the story of a young Chinese girl who is unable to bring honor to her family in the traditional way—by finding a good husband. When the Huns invade China, Fa Zhou (Mulan's father) is called to serve his country in the war. Mulan, realizing that her father's ailing health may get him killed, decides to take his place, disguising herself as a young man. With the help of Mushu, a lizard ("Dra-gon!!") called up by the family's ancestors to help her, and a (not so) lucky cricket, Mulan rides off on her father's horse to try and bring her family honor in her own special way.

Mulan deviates little from traditional Disney animated fare in that it contains yet another young female role model. The story kept both Roddy and I interested all the way through, and still manages to hold up well over repeated viewings. With the exception of the final number, the songs in the film were quite enjoyable, and I even have a new found appreciation for Donny Osmond! The comic relief provided by Eddie Murphy as the voice of Mushu is effective for not having been overplayed.

This is definitely one of Roddy's favorite Disney animated movies, right up there with The Lion King and Tarzan. In fact, he enjoyed the songs so much that we bought the soundtrack. The movie had lots of laughs for him, especially from his favorite characters, Mushu and Mulan's Grandmother. I asked him if there were any scary parts and he told me that there weren't.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: The image on this disc is very good. It is not anamorphic, but that doesn't affect us with our particular setup (although Roddy and I would both lobby for all discs to be anamorphic!!!). Even with the lack of an anamorphic transfer, the THX-certified image is quite good. This movie uses the colors red and orange extensively and the image presented brings out all of their appropriate shades brilliantly. The black levels are better than expected. In general, the image appeared a little soft compared with Tarzan, but I think that is true to the original film.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0French, Spanishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on this disc really stands out. Jerry Goldsmith's score and the various musical numbers come across very well in 5.1 channels. The dialogue is crisp and the front soundstage is very deep. The discrete channeling to the surrounds is also rendered well, but not to excess. The LFE channel is used more than adaquately, best observed while adding power to the avalanche scene.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 31 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Music Videos for Reflection and True to Your Heart
  2. 6 Movie Recommendations
Extras Review: When I asked Roddy what his impression was of the extras presented on this disc, he looked me right in the eye and yawned. A fake yawn. The kid knows his DVD extras!! To say that there are no extras on this disc would be a lie. . . but only barely. When they have to list on the keepcase "full color artwork on disc" as an extra, you know you're in trouble.

What we have in the way of extras are two music videos, a trailer and six movie recommendations. I refuse to count the movie recommendations as an actual extra. I'm not sure why they couldn't have put trailers for these movies on the disc if they are truly recommending them to us. In effect, the only trailer we do get is for Mulan. In all truthfulness, Roddy did like the trailer because it had some unfinished animation which he thought was cool. As for the music videos, we have Christina Aguilera singing Reflection and 98 Degrees with Stevie Wonder singing True to Your Heart. Yes, that is it. Yawn.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

If your VHS copy of Mulan is worn out and you (or your child) really like this movie, then it is obviously a must have. If you have never seen this movie, I would definitely recommend it at minimum as a rental. But, if you are buying it to show off the DVD format, I would suggest looking elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, I love this movie, and so does Roddy. I just wish Disney would have done a little better job of presenting it to us, especially considering the high retail price.


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