When tomboy Mulan is presented to the local matchmaker as prospective bride her attempt to appear as a demure young lady is a dismal failure. Then an envoy arrives from the Emperor of China, the country is under attack from marauding Huns and every family is expected to send one man to fight in the army. Mulan doesn't want her frail father to have to go, so she steals his sword and armour, takes her horse Khan and goes in his place. The spirits of her ancestors send an somewhat undersized dragon Mushu(the voice of Eddie Murphy), to guard her. Mulan struggles through the army training, and eventually wins the respect of her comrades, and is finally triumphant in doing her bit to save China from doom.
This is an absolutely wonderful film, with spectacularly beautiful animation, great characters, a thrilling plot and a splendid score. Mulan is a very attractive heroine, brave and determined, and the supporting characters are all good too. Her parents (unusually for a Disney film, Mulan has a mother as well as a father), are portrayed very humanly and convincingly, and she has a feisty grandmother, who has one of the best lines in the film, when she claps eyes on gorgeous Captain Shang and says "Sign me up for the next war!". The heroine never loses your sympathy, I feel like cheering when, having been told to go home by Captain Shang because she's no use,she finally manages to climb to the top of the pole and throw down the arrow. And there is an almost unbearably dramatic moment when the Huns come sweeping down the snow-covered hill on the little company, and Mulan stops them with a brilliant piece of strategy. Sentimentality is kept to a minimum, this is a rousing tale of courage and triumph over adversity.