Disney’s ‘Mulan 1&2’ hits Blu-ray with a new dual pack set
Mulan Double Feature Blu-ray
Mulan 1 and 2
Mulan directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook
New this week from Disney is a handful of 3 disc Blu-ray Double Features, one of which is for the Disney classic Mulan and its direct to video sequel Mulan 2. Mulan is the classic story of a girl risking it all, her life and family honor, because she wants to protect her father. For the first time available as a double Blu-ray set, the question remains is the set worth your hard earned dollars?
Mulan is the retelling of the old Chinese folktale. The story is of a young Chinese maiden Mulan (Na), who learns that her weakened and lame father is to be called up into the army in order to fight the invading Huns. Knowing that he would never survive the rigours of war in his state, she decides to disguise herself and join in his place. Unknown to her, her ancestors are aware of this and to prevent it, they order a tiny disgraced dragon, Mushu (Murphy) to join her in order to force her to abandon her plan. He agrees, but when he meets Mulan, he learns that she cannot be dissuaded and so decides to help her in the perilous times ahead. During her training she meets the Gang of Three and finds herself taken with Captain Shang (Wong), her instructor.
In Mulan 2, Mulan gets the surprise of her life when her love, Captain (now General) Li Shang, asks for her hand in marriage. Before the two can have their happily ever after, the Emperor assigns them a secret mission, to escort three princesses to Chang’an, China. Mushu is determined to drive a wedge between the couple after he learns that he will lose his guardian job if Mulan marries into the Li family. After the princesses unexpectedly fall in love with the Gang of Three, Mulan decides to help them escape the fate of marrying men they do not love. This contradicts the Emperor’s orders and forces him to put Mulan’s relationship with Shang into question.
The original Mulan is one of the biggest triumphs from Disney in the 1990’s.The story is classic and timeless and scripted well here as it does not play down to its audience. Introducing the concept and stressing the importance of family honor in the Chinese family and folklore and making it accessible for North American audience’s works brilliantly. The voice casting is also on point, as what could easily become gimmicky and goofy remains straightforward and honest. For many kids the voice of Ming Na will always be associated with Fa Mulan. Eddie Murphy brings his rapid fire wit to the small dragon with major envy Mushu with aplomb and gusto. Mushu was 3 years before Donkey in Shrek and you can tell that Eddie was experimenting and having fun piecing together a character here. The film`s Blu –ray transfer is gorgeous and the film has never looked better. The breathtaking sequence of the Huns attacking the small band soldiers down the hilltop and the crowd sequences in the emperor`s temple are just as gorgeous as ever.
Mulan 2 was one of the more successful of the direct to video sequels produced. Like all of the direct to video films the animation has taken a major step back from the theatrical predecessors. But Mulan 2 at least has a solid look and style about it, unlike some of the others. The story also suffers from the typical follow up story from Disney does, which is to have a love story emerge for characters that are returning fan favorites. In this case it`s the Gang of Three that all get girlfriends as Mulan got her man in the first. The story also take the typical turn of trying to split the main couple apart only to bring them back again by the end of the film. The film is helped by the entire major voice cast returning, minus Murphy who did not, and Ming Na is great again as Fa Mulan. This time around we also add Lucy Liu, Lauren Tom and Sandra Oh as the three princesses. Despite the typical story, the chemistry works between the new arrivals and the lovable Gang of Three which goes a long way to making the film work.
The Discs have the original special features from their DVD releases which include deleted scenes from both films. A total of 15 ‘Backstage Disney’ Featurettes covering all aspects of the filming process over both films and each film contains its own audio commentary. The disc also includes music videos of songs in each movie.
Mulan remains a Disney classic and is imminently re-watchable The crystal clear resolution of the film presents it in the best possible version of the film since its original theatrical run. And Mulan 2 being one of the better sequels from Disney also makes this set more valuable. The Mulan Double Feature Blu-ray is a must buy.
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