on 24 April 2011
Have read other reviews here so decided not to take them into account as I turned down the lights, turned up the amp and headed into a full on experience!
After 5 minutes I had to get up to check I had bought the right version of the movie, I had totally misunderstood the fact that his was an English subtitle edition and a 2 hour reading experence I was not expecting. I decided to keep going, more and more I got into the run and the subtitles did eventually did not bother me. You get into the habit of following the movie with your broader view while giving more focus to the subtitles. Credit to the editors here, the text lines were kept short and I had no problem following the dialogue.
The plot of the movie is well known so not going into that here, however the plot lines do entail several aspects:
- You are basically in a war movie, so some blood, guts and gore runs through the whole movie.
- You are in a secret plot, to keep the identity of the woman 'Mulan' from leaking out.
- You are in a love story when she and her corresponding general fall in love.
These plots and subdifuses tangle their way through the movie and never let you relax. I found the movie really riviting.
There are some points though that donts stack up:
- Mulan just looks like a woman all the way through the movie, I am sure sleeping in a tent for several years with 100 other blokes your secret would have come out.
- Why did she not cut her hair off to look like a man, several times when se realaxes a full metre of it comes falling out of her head-dress!
- Her voice is also much higher than all the blokes around her, with this and her tears on several occassions, I would certainly be involved in a rumour or two!
If you discount the downsides and just look at this as a movie to absorb yourself in, then go for it. Remember your investments will be required in terms of reading but yes I think it's worth it in the end. I enjoyed the film and that's what counts.
on 29 March 2010
Apart from Avatar, this is the movie of 2009 that I would rate with over 90%.
The plot is closer to the original ancient Mulan tale compared to the Disney version. Most of all there is no speaking dragon!! There are some similarities though.
Plot: The northern Wei dynasty of China is under attack from the Rourans (a normadic people from Mongolia). The young woman Mulan enlists in the Wei army, disguised as a man to secretly replace her ailing father... no intention to spoil
The main difference from the Disney version is Mulan herself, who is in constant conflict with herself. The burden of responsibility, the terror of war, the danger of being disclosed as a woman and a forbidden romance is affecting her entire personality, forcing her to change and grow. Lead character Zhao Wei is really at her best in this movie. Red Cliff kind of wasted her talent. She can really display the inner struggle, the pain and the female qualities of Mulan. Although Mulan pretends to be a man, does a formidable "man job" and is regarded as a man by the other men, the audience can really feel during the entire movie that Mulan remains a woman at her core. It's really hard to describe. But Zhao Wei brings in this magical ... something ... I can't really pinpoint ...
Indeed, the entire movie is centered around its characters. Apart from Mulan, the villains are also nicely portrayed and actually not entirely evil. You can understand their motives. The battle scenes are well done but not breath taking. The movie is really not about an epic battle, but about the heroine and her inner struggle.
Oh...and there is not a real happy ending. Anyway this is no Disney cartoon. Actually, it gets really sad during the end. Made me feel miserable for several days...
Minor mistakes. Sometimes a little too theatrical. Too much crying, kind of scaling down the really sad moments. You cannot really believe that Mulan isn't disclosed by any of the male soldiers through all those years, because main actress Zhao Wei is way too good looking to pass as a man. Although, this didn't really bother me.
All in all:
Strong Mulan character ... one of the best movies of 2009 ...
on 7 October 2010
Mulan was a good film to watch and have as an addition to your DVD library I would rate it along simular lines as The Warrior directed by Kim Sung-Su.... The story line goes; elderly warriors health slowly depletes he has a duaghter who he raises alone' this duaghter is an only child, she has learned greatly her farthers martial arts skill and has tom boy tendencies the old warrior is resigned to the fact that he will need to marry her off soon and advises her to forget about what she has learned of fighting skills. War breaks out again and recruitment official visits village with list of all men of age to attend, the old warrior name is called up and he gathers himself up attempting to summon up the strengh for one final battle which has already long gone and is resigned to it that he will not return. during the night of preparation daughter mulan decide she wil seize the opportunity to follow in fathers foot steps and carry the great warriors name of her fathers clan and takes up the armour and battle gear and gallops off before day break knowing the old man sleeps in deep slumber.... The battle seens are very good and the story goes on to see her rise to leadership position her stratergic skills and cunning surpassing all and finally realizing that a warrior life is her destiny even love and emotion must be sacrifice.
Yes I believe that man and woman watching this film will like it because it says women can be and are as strong as men in their own way" ying and yang I guess adjusting and flowing balancing out the positive strenghs in each other providing the way for survival and sustained life.
Jingle Ma and Wei Dong's 2009 Hua Mulan aka Mulan: Legendary Warrior aka Mulan: Warrior Princess is more faithful to the Chinese legend of the woman who took her ailing father's place on the battlefield and rose to become a general than the animated Disney film - no talking dragons and a more bitter-sweet ending here. It's not particularly emotionally involving aside from one sequence near the end, but it is a good yarn that's pretty well told on a lavish scale with decent special effects that never look like special effects except for one brief sandstorm sequence. The film does make one huge claim on your suspension of disbelief: that anyone could possibly mistake Vicki Zhao Wei for a man, especially since she does nothing to alter her appearance, voice or mannerisms. The only real liability is Russian pop star Vitas in a small role as court singer to the invading Rouran tribes, but despite being unable to avoid smirking at the camera he's given too little screen time to do much damage.
The Blu-ray has a decent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer with English subtitles and a decent selection of extras - featurette, interviews with Vicky Zhao, Jingle Ma, Chen Kun, Hu Jun, Jaycee Chan and Jiao Xu, behind the scenes footage, theatrical trailer and promos for other CineAsia releases.
on 7 July 2010
Mulan is different in tone compared to the disney outing, this one here is more gritty and serious focusing more on human aspect of war in general.
zhao wei puts on an amazing performance and convinces as a leader but fails to convince as a male character (more due to the fault of looking so femine) she conveys her emotions really well and her character is the all round good girl making her easy to like. The other co stars all add extra depth to there respective roles, even the often critised Jaycee Chan puts on a much likable act.
those looking for action though will be sorely dissapointed, there is none of the high flying wire fu here but more a grounded approach. the fights occur during mass battles and it is more akin to the likes of the Warlords and battle of wits, they portray a more realistic fight scenario.
the main complaint is that things happen at too fast a pace for example Mulans identity is revealed quite early on, high rise to power happens really fast and so on, but this makes things easy for the audiecne to digest.
a mildly entertaining piece, a substitute to red cliff and warlords.
on 14 April 2014
... it works.
By that I mean, probably most western viewers came to this via Disney's cartoon version rather than the Chinese legend or a simple love of Chinese warrior films. By and large, most Chinese films exported to the west are in one of two broad categories: historical/modern realism (e.g. 'Infernal Affairs', anything by Zhang Yimou, or even Wong Kar-Wai, whose dreamier excursions are always based on recognisably real characters) or fantasy (e.g. 'Crouching Tiger...', 'House of Flying Daggers', 'Hero') where the characters are capable of super-human feats. Well, 'Mulan' is based on a legend, with no evidence that such a characer ever existed - which isn't to say she might not be a composite of a few female fighters from various dynasties. If you come to this wanting absolute gritty realism, be warned, since it will stretch your credulity quite far. Mulan is pretty and slim, with a high voice, so about as unlikely a candidate as you could get for successfully staying undercover as a man for twelve years. She manages to enlist in her father's place from her village, as she has no brothers, but this doesn't seem to be noticed by anyone. I could go on, but you get the picture: it's a pretty far-fetched story. That said, no-one leaps twenty feet into the air, sways half a mile across a forest of bamboo or flings fifty knives at once killing fifty soldiers. It's unlikely in the sense that the more extravagent parts of 'Ben Hur' or 'El Cid' are unlikely, but it's entertaining enough, and serves to illustrate its main message about the nature of love, duty, leadership and sacrifice. To a modern audience this may seem Disney-esque, but that's only because these qualities are currently in short supply? If you enjoyed, 'The First Emperor' and other traditional Chinese epics, then this is in the same genre, and good of its kind.
Re. the extras, I haven't partaken, but there's a whole disc full which runs to another 110 minutes, so there's probably some good stuff in there for those who are interested.
This version of mulan is brilliant the scenery is great the story is extraordinary strong it has the ability to make you feel happy upset and woo at all romantic material. We all know the story of mulan how she fights for family honour and saves her country but this version does not have the happy ending. This film is highly recommended the subtitles are superb this is a two disc dvd disc 1 is the feture film disc 2 is extras.
I never saw Mulan, the cartoon version, but I have watched any number of oriental epics recently and this is up there near the top of the pile. Good action, good concept and story and some very good, and a few bad, actors make an enjoyable couple of hours, and an epic love story. Very good.
on 22 January 2015
It's a fantastic film, full of battles and shocking scenes. Yes, it's sort of like the disney film, same story. But it's so much better, you might think you know what's going to happen, but, you might find yourself very surprised. I'd recommend this film 100% It is subtitled, if you're ok with that then go for it. If your not, still try it.
on 15 January 2015
When reviewing Wuxia films, you have to remember
you are not reviewing a "Western movie"... China,
has a very, very, and very long history, with lots of
legends and myths...
One of which is MULAN...
We all know about her, because of the Disney
cartoon movie... But here, we have a more
realistic version of the story...This is a real-life
historically character, played by Wei Zhao, from
Red Cliff... I enjoyed this film... there is nothing
outstanding about it, and we learn nothing new,
but, Chinese history is fascinating, and this is part
myth and part legend, all good for me...