Mulan Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Mulan
Reviewed by
Andrew Proverbs
on
Mulan Blu-ray Review. While it never blows you away with its visuals or storytelling, this interpretation of Mulan has a way of softly working its way into your heart.
Rating:
3.5

Feature 7.5
Video 7.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features 4.0
Total 7.5

Distributor: Icon
Running Time: 114 Minutes
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs
Classification
: M15+

7.5


Mulan

For most western audiences, Mulan is an animated disney adventure starring a cross-dressing protagonist and Eddy Murphy as a dragon. This title, which shares the same name, is a live-action martial-arts epic produced and filmed in China. Inspired by the same legend as the disney version, it tells the story of a girl warrior thrust into battle for love and a wish to save her dying father. This movie is stark, moving, and at times very bleak, and don’t expect a happy ending.  

 Hua Mulan’s father is an aging warrior who has just been called into service to protect his homeland from the marauding Rouran army. Sensing that this will be his last battle, boisterous Mulan (Wei Zhao) steals her father’s sword and armour and goes to war in his stead. She has the company of Fei (Jaycee Chan), a childhood friend, and soon earns the trust of Wentai (Kun Chen), another soldier in her battalion. Mulan and Wentai quickly rise through the ranks, eventually gaining control of an entire army group, and are forced to make some hard decisions as they are flung into battle against the numerically superior Rouran forces. 

Mulan has all the elements you would expect from a martial arts epic: great choreography, authentic period costumes and a bittersweet soundtrack. There are times when you have to put the logical side of your brain on hold, especially when Mulan is dressed as a male soldier- does everyone really think she’s a man, just because she ties her hair back and runs around in a suit of armour? But for the most part these weaknesses are forgivable, because the characters are so deep and believable.  

It’s a film where the battles play out as much in the characters’ minds and hearts as they do with swords and horses. The level of intimacy between the two lead characters is amazing, even though they rarely even touch during the course of the story. 

While the cinematography is good, it never reaches the grand heights that it should in a movie with this scope. There are some great shots, but they’re not quite as expansive as you want them to be. The framing is tight and the action looks hemmed-in at times, probably as a result of trying to make a few hundred extras look like a few thousand. It’s a movie told from a worm’s eye view. While you never really feel awestruck by the fighting, you do feel connected to the characters and their conflicts. 

There are a couple of issues with pacing. Most of the scenes end with the screen fading to white, before we’re whisked away to the next location.

It’s used very frequently towards the end of the film, and makes it feel rushed- as if they’re just checking boxes. We’ve seen what happened to the Rouran, bang, onto the next loose end. The film would have benefited from a more relaxed style of direction, where each scene was allowed to reach its natural conclusion rather than being chopped short. 

Special features: 

There is a facility to test your audio setup, by playing a sound through each speaker in turn. For some reason your ears will be blasted by roaring static when this happens, instead of a pleasant chime or gong.  There are also a handful of trailers. 

Audio/Video: 

Mulan isn’t a great showcase for the Blu-ray format; while the image quality is passable, there is some noticeable graininess to the picture. In one particular indoor shot, the image degenerates to a very low standard. 

Closing comments: 

While it never blows you away with its visuals or storytelling, this interpretation of Mulan has a way of softly working its way into your heart. You’d be hard pressed not to like or empathise with these characters and their pain. The resolution is far from happy, but it has a simple kind of logic- you feel that it couldn’t have ended any other way, even if you wanted it to. And who said every movie has to end with a ticker-tape parade or dancing ewoks anyway? 






 
 



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