Mulan: Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook’s version of the Chinese legend, here in animated form, is cute and inspiring, all on the strength of the heroine, a young girl that fights the tradition that a female’s place is at home, all because of her love for her father. It is a notion that is easy to relate to. The characters are all simple, but they fit together nicely. The protagonist is brave, smart, inspired, and inspiring; the comic sidekicks are hit-and-miss; the villain, properly strong and sinister. Ming-Na Wen is enticing and convincing as the title character; Miguel Ferrer, as the dry villain, is quite good, probably the more memorable piece of voice acting; Eddie Murphy’s motormouth performance as the sidekick is not a good fit, for the story or its setting. The animation is fine, with some outstanding setpieces and a very solid character design. The narrative doesn’t rely on musical numbers; the songs are serviceable, but some of Jerry Goldsmith’s musical score doesn’t match the film as a whole.
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