Well, let's give Disney some credit here for not pasting two cannonballs on their forty-pound Chinese heroine and making her look like Anna Nicole Smith after she's barfed up breakfast, lunch, dinner and endoskeleton. Then again, I suspect there was a serious discussion amongst participants in the "Mulan" creative meeting as to whether any of them had actually seen any Asian women with freakishly large breasts. Who says stereotyping can't produce change?
Unfortunately, under the guise of political correctness, Disney -- instead of going out on a limb and conceiving of a complex mother-daughter relationship or a white woman without an obvious eating disorder -- has chosen to manipulate a Chinese legend so that little girls who don't have huge breasts or petite figures will be able to empower themselves by spending the rest of their lives trying to figure out how to wipe out an army.
Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) joins the army in order to save her father's life because he's too old to fight. Of course, she's a girl, which means she has to dress up like a boy and convince everyone she's male (which explains why she couldn't sport those trademark Disney cannonballs -- not even a Hun is going to buy that one). With the help of her guardian mini-dragon Mushu (Eddie Murphy), a cricket and her horse, she wins friends, influences people, meets a fella, Shang (B.D. Wong), and -- oh yeah -- kicks some Hun ass.
The film gets pretty stupid after Mulan cleverly starts an avalanche that practically wipes out the entire Hun army. Right after that, Shang and the others find out that Mulan is really a woman and are beyond annoyed. Because of her deception, they turn their backs on her. Hey, dick-for-brains, this woman just wiped out the Huns. Give her a break, okay? To win their approval, however, Mulan pretty much has to do the same thing again, proving a point which I'm sure isn't lost on the women toiling in Disney's corporate headquarters: If you want to get anywhere, you'd better be ready to conquer some Huns. Twice. Nothing like a good legend to keep those uppity women from thinking a raise might be in order.
To spread the word about this Mulan review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.