The Secret of Mulan (UAV Entertainment,1998)

“Set under the magnificent shadows of the Great Wall of China. This epic family tale unfolds as Mulan, a headstrong country girl and a heroic prince battle to save their homeland from the evil conqueror, Mala Khan”

– Anonymous, IMDB .

The second of three “The Secret of…” movies released by UAV Entertainment, The Secret of Mulan was ‘coincidentally’ released the same year as Disney’s Mulan and Pixar’s A Bug’s Life. Some releases of the movie also included the soundtrack on a CD.

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
As the summary above mentioned, this movie came out the same year as Mulan and A Bug’s Life, the mash up I never knew I needed. This is the type of movie that I really wish we had some sorta behind the scenes documentary for it, if only so that I could see the moment where the filmmakers try and explain the decision to make a Mulan/A Bug’s Life combo. Of course, there’s always a chance that it was a decision completely unrelated to Disney/Pixar’s upcoming movies… but I’ve seen enough conveniently timed competitive releases that make me err on the pessimists side of things.

Like The Secret of Anastasia, The Secret of Mulan really delivers in the terrible songs department. Like a lot of terrible Princess movies that attempt to be musicals, all I can picture is some writer pawing through a rhyming dictionary, trying to find the first word that fits. The villain song is also somewhat unintelligible, it took me multiple viewings to try and parse what the lyrics were. If I ever spot the aforementioned soundtrack CD in the wild, I’m gonna be extremely tempted to pick it up, just for the sheer novelty of it.

The animations is worth a few giggles, as is the story. One rather bizarre part to the movie is that there’s an openly female character who serves in the army. Why does she get a pass and Mulan has to dress up as a guy? Granted, the female character appears to be more of a scout than anything, but it still feels a bit odd to me.

I’m also really entertained by trying to figure out how biology in this world works. There are both caterpillar and butterfly people, with the caterpillar people turning into butterfly people… but what triggers it, besides the plot demanding it. It doesn’t appear to be tied to age, as we see some characters who appear older than Mulan are still caterpillars… so what’s the deal? I think I might be putting more thought into this than the filmmakers did.

The end takeaway: The Secret of Mulan is a solid addition to a Bad Princess Movie night. Currently the entire film is on Youtube, so feel free to take a look!

References

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