Character of Tinker Bell is based on J.M.Barrie's famous play Peter Pan. Disney made their own version of the story in 1953. Disney's Peter Pan however hasn't ever been my favorites. I personally think that overall character of Disney's Tinker Bell being such a Disney icon has done lots of damage for the way modern people see fairies (tiny with wings, child like creature). In mythologies and folklore around the world fairies were originally very different and way more dark creatures. Within last centuries fairies have been "prettynized" especially in the Victorian England. Wings were originally given by the first children book illustrators in the 19th century.
In 1953 movie Tinker Bell is an active side-character. She is envies Wendy because she gets to spend so much time with Peter. In 1953's movie Tinker Bell doesn't speak but she is very expressive an sometimes comical character.
Tinker Bell the movie appeared in 2008 and it is computer high quality CG I animation created by DisneyToons Studios. There are also several sequels made for the movie.
Tiny baby is laughing in the cradle. Wind blows flower seeds across the skies and space all the way to Never-Never Land and into Pixie hollow. Little fairy girl called Tinker Bell is born from the laughter. All fairies of the Pixie hollow are there to welcome the new arrival.
Each new fairy must enter the magical ring and find out what their magical power will be. Tink tries to avoid the fairy hammer but the magic is too strong. Tink becomes one of the Tinker fairies.
She makes friends with tinker fairies Bobble and Clank. They tell her stories about the human world an Tinkerbell becomes obsessed about traveling to the human world. However tinker fairies aren't allowed to travel there only nature fairies can.
Tinkerbell meets nature fairies called Silver-mist (water fairy) Rosetta (Garden fairy) Iridessa (light fairy) Fawn (animal fairy) and Vidian (wind fairy). Vidian is one of the best flyers in Pixie hollow. She is selfish and doesn't like Tinkerbell who she thinks is attention seeker.
Tinker Bell tries to find her own path and always gets into troubles. After one disaster she escapes to the beach and finds a broken music-box. She fixes the music box and her fairy friends tell her that being a tinker is her true talent. Tinker Bell refuses to believe it. She wants to travel to the human world. She manages nature fairies to teach her their talents. Soon she finds out that she hasn't got what it takes to be a water fairy or create rainbows. Last hope she asks Vidian to teach her fly fast. Vidian tricks Tinker Bell to catch all the thistles but as a result Tinker Bell manage to destroy all Pixie hollow's spring reparations.
Tink decides to leave Pixie hollow. Then she meets Terrence, Fairy who guards the fairy dust. He manages to convince Tinker Bell how all work is important. Tinker Bell returns to the fairies and this time she has her self-designed equipment's with her to speed up the spring reparations.
Queen Clarion is impressed by Tink's determination and grants her and other tinker fairies permission to visit human world. Tinker Bell's first task is to return the music box to it's rightful owner, which is little girl in London. Her name is Wendy Darling.
I really like this Tinker Bell-Movie Tinker Bell. Same way as Tinker Bell in the 1953 movie this Tinker Bell is stubborn and mischievous young fairy maiden. I've never really got grasp to Tinker Bell in 1953 film. It might because she doesn't say a word and that she doesn't have a lot screen time. Tinker Bell the Movie takes place time before Tink met Peter Pan and that makes movie interesting. Tinker Bell in this newer movie is also more sympathetic and softer character.
Tinker Bell's appearance is of course 3D version of 1953's Tinker Bell. CGI Tinker Bell has more rounder eyes where as 1953's Tinker Bell has more "cat eyes". 3D Tinker Bell's dress is bright green and 1953's Tinker Bells dress is light green.
Already in Disney's Peter Pan we can see Tink's talent to work with her hands. I think there was a scene where she get's locked into Wendy's drawer and tinkers the lock to get out (It's been a while since I watched Peter Pan). Determination of the character can also be seen in Tinker Bell the movie the way she starts desperately to look new talent for herself so she can visit human world.
Animation style and quality of animation in Tinker Bell the movie is absolutely breathtaking. Movie is filled with colors. There are all four seasons in Pixie hollow because fairies also bring seasons to the human world. I was very impressed by the details of the fairy houses and homes also the big fairy tree where the queen lives and where fairy dust is kept. Animation of fairy dust and how it fall down like a waterfall is magical.
I really liked the scenes showing Pixie hollow at night time and all mysterious lights showing up. They reminded me Disney's light experiences in Fantasia in the Nutcracker Ballet - episode.
Peter and Wendy
Strange enough during whole movie I kept waiting for Peter Pan to show up but he didn't. I was also bit surprised by the end of the film when Tinker Bell took the Music-box to Wendy. Because in the movie Peter Pan Tinker Bell is always jealous of Wendy and is quite mean to her. I have heard theories that Tink would be in love with Peter. I believe that this theory was started by the year 1991 movie Hook where Robin Williams played adult Peter Pan and Julia Roberts played Tinker Bell. In Hook Tinker Bell did said to Peter that she loves him.
In Disney's Peter Pan Tinker Bell is more afraid that instead of going to adventures with her Peter is going away with Wendy.
Most likely movie makers thought it would tie movie better with the world of Peter Pan. I was personally bit surprised by the end knowing Tinker Bells attitude towards Wendy.
There is really great music in the movie. I was surprised when I heard that one of my favorite singers Loreena McKennitt was performing some songs in the film. McKennitt is Canadian musician and does lots music based by Celtic folk music. Film begins her singing song To the fairies they draw near. There is also Irish and Celtic folk music in the movie.
Like I mentioned in the beginning Tinker Bell is probably the most famous fairy ever existed. Popularity of Disney's Tinker Bell and image of her has partially created one-dimensional idealism that modern people have towards fairies.
English word Fairy covers all kinds of magical creatures that are connected to nature.
I was positively surprised how much accurate fairy mythology and folklore knowledge there was in this movie. The way fairies are born when children laugh, flowers open to bloom for the first time, sun rays touch the grass and morning dew shimmers.
There are several different fairy species all around Europe and many times each countries and areas have their own as well (for example in Scandinavian mythology there are gnome like creatures Nisser and Älvan creatures that are more similar with human size Lord of the rings elves with pointy ears and all).
Tinker Bell is part of the flower fairy realm (and I guess Tinker fairies are one race of flower fairies). Traditionally flower fairies are tiniest fairies with wings and are born from flowers and laughter of children. Also in ancient times people did believe that change of the seasons was created by different nature spirits. They would paint the autumn leaves and snow sprites would blow winter winds.
I never thought I would ever like Tinker Bell's character but after seeing this film this has happened and I'm now a Tink fan! I really like the way Tinker Bell's character grows in the movie. She learns to understand and appreciate herself. I think my favorite scenes were those where she tinkers all kinds of things. I find Vidian's character very interesting. I think her despise towards Tinker Bell was bit too obvious. I hope there will be more depth in her character shown in the next Tinker Bell movies and maybe Peter appears at some point as well.
Beauty and the beast: Enchanted Christmas is animated movie appeared in 1997 and it's a sequel for the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast from 1991. In the animation the story is told as flashbacks. Flashbacks are from the time when Belle was still a prisoner in the Beast's castle. If you haven't seen this movie this is a spoiler warning!
Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas starts from a Christmas party. That takes place in a time after the events of the first movie. The most important side-characters from the first movie Lumiere, Mrs. Pott, Chip and Cogsworth are re-living their memories and chat how Belle brought Christmas celebration back to the castle.
In the flashbacks we'll go back to the winter of the first movie. Flashback begins from Belle's escape when Beast saved her from the pack of wolves. Belle tries to get beast to open more. They go skating together and make snow angels.Beasts however shutters down more. He is ashamed by his looks and is filled with grudge towards winter. Sometimes Belle feels herself desperate and almost looses her hope with the beast.
In the second flashback we'll find out why Beast feels grudge towards winter. He was turned from human to beast in Christmas. Villain of the movie is Forte, pipe organ who was court composer in his human form. Fronte's sidekick is Fife, little flute. Fronte promises Fife that he will get's his own solo to play if he helps him to sabotage Christmas and Belle's and the beasts relationship. We also see Fronte's human character in the flashbacks. As a human he didn't get the admiration he wanted so he prefers to stay as pipe organ since Beast is always his audience and finds his music comfortable. One of the most memorable scenes with Beast and Fronte is the scene where Fronte tells Beast to destroy the magic rose. However beast knows that if he destroys the rose he also would loose his human side completely and also looses his capacity to give and receive love.
Belle decides to give Christmas party at least for the servants even if Beast wouldn't agree. Servants start to prepare Christmas in secret. Belle and Chip go to the forest to find a tree after Fronte recommends them to do so. Fife causes and accident and Belle nearly drowns. Beast saves her but is extremely mad because she didn't obey his orders. One of the saddest scenes in the movie occurs when Beast throws Belle back to the dungeons and Belle says "I should have known you'll always remain as a beast". Fife is shocked that he caused the accident and he starts to question Fronte's motifs..
Soon Belle and the beast get a long again and castle folk starts to prepare Christmas. Fronte gets furious and almost destroys the castle but ends up destroying himself. I especially like the end of the movie. We'll go back to the "present day". Mrs Potts has finished her story. Belle and prince welcome everyone to the Christmas Party and Fife has become new court conductor.
Beast in my personal opinion is one of the most interesting characters in the history of animation. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie of all time. He is very complex character: aggressive, lovable, endearing, scary, protective, beast, arrogant, prince and has humanity. In away Beast remembers his life as human prince with shame and he is also shamed of his beastly outlook. He is constantly afraid that he might become full-beast and he is also aware that when he was a human even then he behaved beastly towards others. He is also afraid of the idea to return back to a human because he has fear can he change his beastly behavior even then? Solitude and isolation also causes him anxiety. He sees Belle as an angelic creature and the more they spent time together the more he is touch with his human side. As their relationship becomes warmer Belle starts to understand the beast and his inner struggle. That is when their romance start.
I have lots of problems the way beast is portrayed in this film. Especially the part where he locks Belle into the dungeon just because she wants to have a Christmas party. This is not enligned to the beast´s behavior in the original film and is the weakest link of this film.
As a viewer I find new and interesting aspects from Belle as a character. Especially in the beginning of Beauty and the Beast Belle is described to be someone who in away lives in imaginary world. She dreams about interesting exiting life and adventures. Later in the movie Belle becomes more active character and is more aware of things happening around her. In the Enchanted Christmas Belle really tries to get Beast more involved in winter activities and tries to make him appreciate the lovely things in Christmas. Belle is beautiful character. She is overall friendly towards people she meets. She is polite even for Fronte though she clearly doesn't like him. Belle therefore remains in her original character unlike the beast.
New characters are Fronte and Fife. Fronte reminds me of Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not by appearance but attitude. Fronte is very arrogant character. One way he tries to get Beast to dislike Belle is by singing a song about evil charms of women. Fife is typical bit stupid side-kick of the villain. He does have a concurrence and he feels guilt of his actions and viewers forgive him when he jumps to the other side.
Angelique is castle's decorator who was turned into a angel decoration also Christmas balls who I assume to be Angelique's assistants. We don't see Angelique a lot in the movie. It is clear that she loves Christmas and she either decorates the castle and have big celebration or she doesn't celebrate at all.
When I watched the movie I wondered is there lot's of non-living things in the castle? If servants were turned to things like Christmas decorations? do they have real Christmas decoration? or dishes? maybe they have them more in storage.
I love all scenes with Lumiere and Cogsworth. As a dry humorous British Cogsworth doesn't easily warm up Lumiere's french charm. Mrs. Potts is caring motherly character as always and Chip is his cheerful self.
Disney's imaginary locations
I would like to correct some Disney misunderstandings that people have about the animation locations.
No one should say that Beauty and the Beast takes place historically accurately in France. Beauty and the Beast takes place in to imaginary 17th century France. There are songs where they mention France. In both movies characters speak about baroque - architecture and style which was dominant style in 17th century France. Also in the Beauty and Beast: Enchanted Christmas there is also yule-log that is one of the central European Christmas traditions.
Movie itself is not historically direct portrait from 17th century France that is why I prefer to talk about imaginary France. Same way as Aladdin takes place in imaginary Agrabah and Frozen takes place in imaginary Norway.
Unlike for example Pocahontas which takes place in historically accurate 17th century Jamestown. Aristocats early 20th century Paris and Great Mouse Detective in London of Sherlock Holmes.
In many animations imaginary country or place is very good solution. In that case story is not bound to certain time period or place but story can get influences and inspirations from certain time period, style, culture and place. One famous fairy tale versions made from Beauty and the Beast is Charles Perrault's fairy tale. Perrault himself was famous in 17th century France. Without doubt animators and story team were inspired by baroque style and french landscapes.
Beauty and the beast: Enchanted Christmas is not worst what it comes to Disney sequels. There is even character development of certain level. This is animation sequel and that's not the same thing than Disney's animation classic and definitely script could be way better. Overall it's nice additions for those who enjoy Disney's Christmas / holiday themed films and also some Beauty and the Beast fans can enjoy it as long as they don´t take it too seriously.
Snow White and the seven dwarfs is Disney animated film appeared in 1937 and it was the first full length animated movie in the entire world. Finland's premiere was in December 1938.
Disney classics movie list Snow white and the seven dwarfs is number 1.
Snow white and the seven dwarfs is based on German folktale. Most famous version of the fairy tale was written by brothers Grimm and it appeared in their collection of fairy tales in 1812.
As a teenager Walt Disney worked as a newspaper delivery boy. Once he was invited to watch silent movie about Snow White played by actress Marguerite Clark. Movie made huge impact on young Walt.
When Walt Disney announced that Disney company was preparing a full-length animated film Snow White was called "Disney's folly". People believed that studio would be bankrupted and no one would want to sit in a movie theater over an hour watching a cartoon. Disney didn't gave up and Snow White became a box office success. Movie won 11 academy awards (including 7 miniature Oscars) and it was start of the Disney empire we know today.
Snow White is 78-year old movie and still runs in movie theaters across the globe.
Movie starts with a prologue. Snow White is a princess. After her father has passed away she was forced to work as a slave for her step mother the evil queen. In the beginning of the movie Snow White is singing by the well and cleaning the floors. She is singing of her hearts secret wishes and suddenly prince appears and starts to sing for her.
Queen is afraid that some day Snow White becomes more beautiful than her. Everyday she asks her magic mirror who is the fairest of them all? one day mirror says that Snow White is the fairest of them all. Vain queen becomes outrageous. She orders huntsman to take Snow White in to the woods, kill her and bring her heart to the queen in a trinket box.
Huntsman takes Snow White in to the forest but he can not kill her. He tells Snow White that queen wants her dead and tells Snow White to escape. Snow White runs into the forest and spends a restless night there. When the morning arrives she has calmed down. Forest animals come to her and she sings for them. They show her the way to the house of the seven dwarfs. Snow White believes that there is seven children living in the house.
Soon queen finds out that Snow White isn't dead.Queen is also an evil witch. She has potion making room in the dungeons. She makes a potion that turns her into an old hag. Then she makes another potion. A sleeping potion where she dips an apple. When Snow White bites it she falls a sleep until her true love kisses her. Queen believes that dwarfs will bury her alive.
Evil Queen arrives to dwarfs house in her disguise. She tricks Snow White to bite the poison apple. Forest animals recognize the evil queen and run to find the dwarfs. Dwarfs and animals start to chase the queen. Witch/queen tries to roll a huge stone upon them. However lightning strikes to the cliff and queen falls down and dies under the stone.
Dwarfs grief their beautiful Snow White and build her a glass gasket. Prince has heard about the beautiful princess who lays in a glass coffin. He recognizes Snow White and kisses her. Snow White wakes up. Dwarfs, animals and the happy couple rejoice. Movie ends when Snow White and prince Charming ride to their castle.
And they lived happily ever after.
I think best qualities of Snow White are her empathy and kindness. She is very approachable.You can see this the way forest animals come to her without any fear. Snow White is also determined and very courageous in her own way as well.
One of the most powerful scenes in Snow White is the scene where Snow White runs into the forest. As a child I always though that she got scared of the shadows of the trees. Truth is that she is in depths of despair after she hears that queen wants her death. Since her parents have passed away step mother is only one who she has left. Snow White is also courageous because she decides to hide from her and control her own life.
Snow White makes friends with the dwarfs. She can also be sturdy. This we can see in the scene where she tells dwarfs to wash themselves before dinner. She is also optimistic by nature and loves to sing while working.
Disney animators used Hollywood actresses as their inspiration for Snow White. Snow White is 14 years old.
In the beginning of the movie Snow White is dressed up in rags. When she is in the forest with the huntsman she is wearing more royal outfit. Upper part of the dress is dark blue with lighter blue puffs leaves that has red stripes. Skirt is yellow. These two complementary colors work well against the backgrounds that are most often different shades of green and other very earthy colors.
One of the greatest strengths Walt Disney added to his feature film was the different characteristics of the dwarfs. Snow White and Prince Charming are the romance element of the story, Evil Queen is the drama and horror, Dwarfs and the animals are the comical relief.
Doc is not very wise. He is actually quite stupid and doesn't always remember his own name. Because he is the oldest of the dwarfs he is also the leader..or maybe he made himself a leader? Dopey is a comical relief. Since he can not talk he uses funny sign language. Grumpy is funny when he doesn't try to be funny. He doesn't like that things change that is why he is so against Snow White staying with them. Scenes with Grumpy also show Snow White's witty side. She finds Grumpy's attitude amusing. Of course they become good friends. In the end of the movie Grumpy cries big tears when he believes that Snow White has passed away.
In the first scripts of Snow White prince had way bigger part. For some reason or other writers made his part smaller and smaller. Personally I've never really cared about Prince Charming. Perhaps because his part is very small in the film. He is also a bit comical and stiff. Reason for this is that back then Disney animators didn't have that much experience animating male characters. Purpose of Prince Charming in the movies is to be Snow White's dream man. Bring hope to her that some day she gets away from all the misery and rules her kingdom together with her prince.
First concept drawings of Snow White Evil Queen was designed to be more comical and cartoon-ish character. When story evolved queen became more close to the evil queen in the brothers Grimm story. Her face is beautiful but cold. Unlike Snow White she never smiles. When the villain is completely emotionless and self-centered that makes her very dangerous character indeed.
Evil Queen wears a hood. We can only see her face and that is the most important thing for her in the whole world. Everything else in her body is covered accept her hands. She is wearing a violet dress. She has cape that could belong to Dracula and she wears a crown. We don't really know is she the most beautiful woman in the world. We can only see her face. We don't know her hair color. She might even be bald.
Queen is also an evil witch. She has a potion making room in the cellar. I personally believe that queen is looking for away to make herself immortal. Think about it. She tries to kill Snow White who is her only heir. She is also obsessed with her beauty and wishes to stay young forever. She is drunken with her power.
Biggest difference between Snow White and the Evil Queen is that queen lives in constant insecurity. She tries to convince herself that she is on control by asking everyday from the magic mirror who is the fairest of them all? Snow White doesn't care about her beauty. She cares more about the others. Her kindness and inner beauty also reflects her outside beauty. Snow White feels sorry for the old lady who is the queen in disguise. Snow White greatest strength is also her biggest weakness. She is a trustful person and tries to see good in everyone. Sometimes she is a bit too trustful and it gets back at her when she falls in to the trap.
Why did evil queen became evil? this is something that fairy tales and Disney movie can't tell. Queen only sees herself and only trusts herself. In modern days I guess she could be described to be a narcissistic person. Maybe that makes her such scary and complex character. She is lacking empathy and she has no conscience.
Snow White is complete opposite of the evil queen. In the difficult times she goes and seeks for help. Her kindness is appreciated by all of those who she meets. This is what eventually saves her life..not only prince that wakes up her with a kiss.
As a child I never really got into to the world of Snow White. I saw her as a very passive Disney princess. Just later on as an adult I have started to appreciate Snow White as a character and as a movie way more. There is many psychologically fascinating characters, extremely beautiful backgrounds, humor, romance, drama and horror elements (which is something that current Disney films are often lacking). Snow White definitely has it's place in the history of animated movies and in popular culture.
Disney animated film released back in 1998 and it's Disney classic number 36.
China is in the edge of destruction. Tribes from the north are about to attack and their fearsome leader Shan Yu wants to concur all China. In peaceful Chinese village young Mulan is on her way to meet the matchmaker. Meeting does not go so well and Matchmaker believes that Mulan's is bringing only shame for her family.
Mulan is sad and disappointed for herself. Her father tries to comfort her. At the same time Emperor's console arrives and announces that one man from each family should join the army and defend China and the emperor. Mulan's father Fa Zhou who served in the army in his younger years sees that it is his duty to defend his country. Mulan knows her father is old and sick and he wouldn't survive. Father and daughter have an argument and during the night Mulan cuts her hair and steels her father's armor and joins the army as a man called Ping.
In the morning Mulan's family notices that she is gone. Mulan's grandmother prays family ancestors to protect Mulan. Ancestors decide to send family's guardian stone dragon to protect Mulan. Mushu who used to family's protector dragon, now a cong-player, manages to break the stone dragon. Mushu takes his place and goes after Mulan and hopes that ancestors would forgive him and make him family's protector dragon again.
Mulan also has her lucky cricket Si-Ri to help her. Luck is what Mulan needs since Mushu's advice's aren't always the best ones. Recently promoted Captain Shang want's to make his troops best in all China. In the beginning Mulan gets lot's of new enemies just by being clumsy. Nevertheless she proofs to be tough and talented warrior. Mulan makes friends with three soldiers Yao, Ling and Chien Po. She has a crush on Captain Shang but of course she can not reveal anyone that she is actually a woman.
Mushu get's tired boring life in the army camp. He and Si-Ri decrease a letter where general Li (Shang's father) orders his son and troops to follow him to the mountains. Once they get their it's horrible sight. Huns have killed everyone in the mountain village and there is nothing left from emperors army anymore than Captain Shang and his troops, As they continue their journey they get attack by the Huns. Mulan saves the troops and Captain Shang by lighting a firework that causes a snowfall. She get's wounded and once doctor examines her everyone find out that she is really a woman. Woman in the army is against the law and Shang should kill Mulan then and there. Mulan however saved his life so he spares hers. Troops leave her to the mountains and continue their journey to the forbidden city.
While sitting in the mountains Mulan sees that Huns and their leader Shan Yu are still alive. She travels to the forbidden city to warn Captain Shang. Captain however does not listen to her and Shan Yu manages to kidnap the Emperor. Mulan asks her friends Yao, Ling and Shien Po to dress up as emperors mistresses. Together they fight against huns and Captain Shang manages to save the emperor. Mulan escapes to the roof and fights there with Shan Yu. Mushu lights up fireworks and that is the end of Shan Yu. Mulan and Mush are saved last minute before whole palace is destroyed.
Emperor rewards Mulan and is eternally grateful for her for saving China. He offers Mulan a job as a royal counselor. Mulan doesn't take the offer she just wants to return back home to her family. After touching goodbyes Mulan returns to her home village. She gives emperor's gifts to her father but Fa Zhou is just happy that her daughter has returned home. At the same time Captain Shang comes to return the helmet Mulan forgot. Mulan asks him to stay for dinner and her tactful grandmother asks him to stay for eternity. Mushu is promoted as protector of the Fa's family and movie ends ancestors having a great party.
Disney's Mulan is based on a Chinese poem called Ballad of Mulan from 6th Century.I have a blog text about Ballad of Mulan you can read i Original poem itself is quite short but after the first literal version appeared there has been tons different versions about the legend of Mulan in Chinese literature, theater, art, comics and movies. Disney's Mulan is pretty loyal to the original story of Mulan. Of course in the Disney movie there is lot's of new characters and humor. Still the plot and character descriptions are pretty much the same. Disney had difficulties to get Mulan to Chinese cinema distribution. Few years before Mulan Disney founded movie Kundun that told about the life of Dalai Lama. Tibet's spiritual leader. Kundun was seen as a protest movie against China since Tibet is controlled by Chinese government.
China takes 10 western movies to cinema distribution each year. Surprisingly Mulan made it to Chinese movie theaters. Chinese reviews were very conflicted and film was seeing too much western type of movie about Mulan. Ironically some american extreme-feminists criticized Disney's Mulan for being too submissive female character. Which in my opinion is ridiculous considering that movie takes place in ancient China where women were submissive to men Mulan being the only acceptation. Disney storytellers were historically accurate.
Finding one´s identity
In China Mulan has been a patriotic symbol. Ballad of Mulan is mostly developed around the idea that no matter if you are a man or a woman you can still be heroic and bring glory to your country and family. It is very remarkable as a Chinese poem and really has made a big cultural differences the way it raises questions about gender roles and identity. In a country where traditional roles of women have been shifted just in the past 50 years this is remarkable.
Disney's version is more about finding one's identity and breaking the traditional gender roles. In many ways Mulan was a groundbreaking Disney animation as well since Disney has reputation to be quite conservative studio. Mulan started this whole new generation of active and capable Disney female heroes. We could already see them in Esmeralda in Huntchback of Notre Dame and Megara in Hercules but all these characters shared the screen space with leading men characters. Without Mulan we might not have Merida from Brave and Elsa from Frozen. Disney studios started to make Mulan in 1994. Disney animators were sent to China to research Chinese landscapes, art and architecture. There is also Chinese inventions in the animation such as paper and fireworks. Mulan was premiered in 1998 and it became huge hit. It was financially second successful family-movie of the year Bugs life going ahead.
Leading lady of Mulan is of course Mulan. We get familiar with Mulan's character straight in the beginning when she is writing cheat sheet to her hand. Mulan is very found of her family especially her father. When things don't go as planned with the matchmaker Mulan feels depressed and sad she has brought shame to her family. Mulan is very brave, unselfish and emphatic. There is many reasons why Mulan chooses to go the army. She want's to protect her father. Perhaps after the incident with the matchmaker she doesn't really care anymore about her reputation. In the beginning of the movie Mulan tries adopt the traditional Chinese female role.
When she joins the army that is when she starts breaking the gender role. In the army she finds her confidence and inner strength. With her intelligence she saves all China and it is her emphatic character that she wins soldiers, Emperor and Captain Chang to her side. In the end of the movie Mulan understands that she doesn't need to adopt traditional role of a man or woman. It is enough that she is just herself.
Mulan's father Fa Zhou is a very kind man. In the original poem Ballad of Mulan it was said that Mulan's father raised her like a son. When Mulan decides to take his father's place in the army father doesn't object but he is not happy either. In the Disney animation Mulan doesn't tell her family that she is about to leave. In both versions common thing is the warm respectful relationship between father and daughter.
Fa Zhou is famous character in the army. When he was younger he used to be a soldier. When Mulan can not bring honor to her family as an unmarried woman. Can she bring honor as a man following her father's foot steps? Fa Zhou is kind, foreseeing and wise father who tells Mulan to follow her own path.
Li Shang is recently promoted Captain. He is strict about order and good behavior and he has very good physical appearance (which we can see in the training camp scene). Shang is also emphatic character. This shows up in the scenes where he is with his father the general and in the end of the movie when he goes to see Mulan. We also see his vulnerability when he realizes that his father has died in the attack.
Mushu and the rest of the gang
Mushu brings comical relief to the story. Mushu is a former protector dragon of the Fa's family. Mushu brings intelligent humor to the movie that amuses both children and adults. Mushu wants Mulan to become successful and these two share a special bond. Mulan herself is a bit introvert character and Mushus appearance brings nice balance to the film.
Other funny side-characters are Mulan's not-very-discreet grandmother. Three soldiers Yao, Ling and Shien Po. These three always make me think of three musketeers. Three armybuddies that are closed as brothers. They all like Ping (Mulan) and accept him (her) to their gang. Best thing about these three is their different characteristics. Tiny Yao who has anger control issues, Tall and joking Ling and calm chubby Shien Po who has very Buddha-like appearance.
Shan Yu is the bad guy of the film. He is the fearsome leader of the Huns. He is a cruel man and wants to take over China and sees it as a challenge. He wants to destroy the Emperor. In his eyes Emperor challenged him by starting to build the great wall of China. Shan Yu doesn't feel pity or mercy and kills everyone that are on his way.
Animation and music
Animation style in Mulan is extremely beautiful. Animators put lot's of effort for constant quality and style that reminds Chinese visual art. Computer technique was also used in Mulan especially in scenes with huge crowds but the scenes made with computer blend very well with 2D animation.
In my opinion Mulan is Disney animation with fabulous music.
First song Honor to us all is very humorist and right in the beginning viewer realize what meeting the matchmaker is all about. Second song Reflections in extremely beautiful and fits perfectly for the mood Mulan must be feeling at that moment. Third song I make man out of you is one of my favorite Disney songs of all time.
It shows how Captain Shang manages to create perfect army unit from group of lazy slackers. We can also see how Ping (Mulan) becomes respected part of the team when in the end of the song he (she) climbs to the end of the pole to get the arrow. Fourth song A girl worth fighting for takes place when group is marching towards mountains singing about women. Time to time Mulan says things about women's intelligence and get's weird looks back.
In certain way Mulan is different compared to many other Disney princesses out there. According to her family tree Mulan isn't a princess or a royal for that matter. But term "Disney princess" is very flowing. Basically any Disney female leading character can be categorized as Disney Princess like Jane from Tarzan and Alice of Wonderland are also called "Disney princesses". Which is a bit silly but that's just people stereotyping Disney animations. Mulan does breaks the tradition since we don't see the romance in the movie. We see the beginning of possible romance. We see how Mulan gets very found of Captain Shang but of course pretending to be a man she can not reveal her feelings to him. In the end of the movie Shang comes to Mulan's home village to return her helmet.. well helmet is an excuse to see her again and before that Emperor himself has given him some good advice. It is up to viewers imagination what happens between these two characters.
I think I watched Mulan on video (yes on video!) first time sometimes between 1998-1999. I remember always considered it as a good movie though in my eyes it didn't get to the same level with Disney's renaissance-era animations from the early 90's. But I must admit when I watched Mulan again in my winter break for this blog text, with careful eye of Disney researcher and I also did research about the legend of "real" Mulan at the same time. My appreciation for this film has risen tremendously. If I gave three stars before now it's straight four!
There is great balance between humor and drama in Mulan and neither one get's over the top.
Movie is loyal for it's original source and handles important issues that are relevant in today's world as well.
Mulan's universal theme of finding ones identity touches as all no matter who we are or where we come from.
Pronounced as Nee-na.
Artist, illustrator, writer, watercolorist and a folklorist. Gryffinclaw. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea and period dramas.
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