Overview: Ancient China is under attack and Mulan’s already battle worn father is drafted into the army again. Foregoing her duty to marry a man of great honor, she cuts her hair, dons her father’s armor and with the help of her ancestral guardian, she joins the army. Under the name Ping, she trains to become a warrior and defeat the Hun’s. Once her captain is certain the troops are ready, they set out to meet his father and instead find a burning village and his father dead. Following the Hun’s path, there is an epic battle where Mulan saves the day. However, she is struck in the chest and her secret is out. Her ruse is one punishable by death, but as she saved her captain’s life, he spares hers and leaves her on the mountain. Not quite as dead as they seem, the Hun’s pop out of the deep snow and head for the capital. Mulan observes this and heads off to warn her friends. They do not believe her, because she is a woman and are attacked. The emperor is taken hostage as everyone is sealed out of the palace. Using skills taught in training, Mulan gussies up the boys as concubines and sneaks in. Underestimating them, the guards are quickly disarmed and the emperor is saved. Mulan kills the leader of the huns and brings great honor to her family.
Opinion: This is the second Disney movie where the girl doesn’t have to be rescued by the man. In 1995, the first Disney Princess movie to do this was Pocahontas (Mulan came out three years later), before this girls were being taught that they had to be rescued by a man in order to survive. Mulan taught us that we could be just as strong and independent as men. Mulan also teaches us that no matter what the laws are, you should always do what is right. Her father was slightly disabled and would not survive another war, but because he had no son the honor of fighting was on him. Mulan felt it was right to take his place, but that would never had been allowed in this time period.
Favorite song is “Make a Man” where Shang is singing about making men out of the worthless boys he was sent to train.
“Honor to Us All” gives great insight to the time period and what the expectations were of women.