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Laramie Movie Scope:

Disney again shows why it is the master of a genre

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 21, 1998 -- "Mulan" is another example why Disney Studios is the master of the feature-length cartoon genre. It is a masterful piece of story telling with classic artwork and compelling characters.

The story is based on a 2000-year-old poem (available at the Disney website, more on that below) about a young woman who goes to war in her father's place and becomes a hero.

As in most Disney features, there is a funny sidekick and in this movie it is a tiny dragon named Mushu, accompanied by a cricket, just for luck. The dragon's voice, by Eddie Murphy, is wildly out of place in an ancient Chinese story, but the character is very funny and one of the main reasons for that is that Murphy does a great job with his voice. The voice of the main character, Mulan, is performed by two people. Lea Salonga does the singing and Ming-Na Wen does the speaking parts.

A large portion of the story is a basic army training plot, which is helped by some interesting rag-tag recruits, led by the handsome young leader, Shang (voice by B.D. Wong and singing voice by Donny Osmond). The venerable Pat Morita ("The Karate Kid") performs the voice of the Emperor.

The music is not as memorable as most Disney films, but the story is top notch, and the artwork, inspired by Oriental art, is first-rate. What really makes this movie work are the characters, including the powerful Hun villain San-Yu (voice by Miguel Ferrer). The timeless tale of courage, resourcefulness and love doesn't hurt, either. this film rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)