Reviewed by Tempest
No alternate review available
Your duty is to your heart.
Mulan II is a Disney direct-to-video animation and also a sequel to the original animate film of the same name (1998). The sequel isn't as great because it lacks a real plot and it lacks real antagonists. Mushu while having more screen time, end up playing the role of the total jerk who seek to promote his own interests above everything else. Sure, in the original movie, his motivations were often mixed with self-interest but he was also Mulan's guardian and he was seeking her fame too. In this movie, there is no such thing. The movie is nearly devoid of action and combat and Mulan who was once the determined and brave soldier is slightly pushed aside from the main role and she is reduced to merely be an ordinary woman rather than a woman who defeated the Huns.
Despite that Mulan II is not a great movie, it is not a bad one either. However, those who were expecting a movie more like the original, with new threats and new ways to get around problems, will be slightly disappointed. This story is more about the personal relationship between men and women, trying to find their right match than a story about battles epic proportion.
The movie Mulan II picks up about a month after the events of the previous film. Having saved China, Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na) has returned to her home and is about to marry Chang (voiced by B.D. Wong) who has now taken the place of his deceased father as general in the army. Everything seem well, until Mushu (voiced by Mark Moseley), Mulan's guardian, who basically acts like if he was an emperor amongst the other family ancestors, learn that if Mulan marry Chang, it will be Chang's ancestors who will take charge of watching over her. Meaning that Mushu will have to return to his ancient post of waking up the ancestors instead of being a real guardian.
Before they get married, Mulan and Chang receive a message from the Emperor (voiced by Pat Morita) who wishes to see them right away. It appears that the Mongols are threatening China again but instead of sending the army to defeat them, the Emperor think of another way to keep China safe. He will forge an alliance with another lord so that together their army will be so strong that it will serve as a deterrent for any further invasion. To accomplish this the Emperor's three daughters [Mei (voiced by Lucy Liu), Ting-Ting (voiced by Sandra Oh), and Su (voiced by Lauren Tom)] are offered in arranged marriages. To escort them, Mulan, Chang as well as their three brothers in arms [Chien-Po (voiced by Jerry Tondo), Ling (voiced by Gedde Watanabe) and Yao (voiced by Harvey Fierstein)] join the group to save China.
Soon after the mission began, Mushu decides it is not in his interest that Mulan weds Chang, and he decides to try to break the couple by every mean possible. Meanwhile, the three princess bound to wed people they haven't even meet, are slowly starting to develop a liking for the three soldiers escorting them.
The story gets away from depicting China as what it would be in that time. For example, the movie contain a fair where you can win a plushy for your skill and such.
The quality of the animation is quite good, pretty much the same quality as the original, but without the more impressive computer animated part with hundreds of Huns charging.
Sound & Music:
While the songs were relatively well integrated in the first movie, I cannot say the same here. The songs themselves are so-so and often sound as a way to lengthen the movie just for the sake of it. The characters are expressive and even if Eddy Murphy didn't take back his role with Mushu, Mark Moseley was quite good at sounding like him.
The actors were able go deeper in in term of feelings of their characters because the story was designed to allow such thing. In that task, I think the actors managed to give a believable performance, however, the story itself move away from the traditional Chinese honor and duty. For example, there is not a serious dilemma when the three princess have to chose between Chien-Po/Ling/Yao and the duty the emperor asked them. Moreover, characters tend to acts like if their own problem were more important than anything else because they have (only) a duty to their heart. This whole concept make the character appear selfish and self-centered. Lastly, Mushu is in this movie is an unlikable character which is an unfortunate divergence from the original movie.
Note: the overall is not an average, but more a general appreciation of the movie as a whole.
R a t i n g
|Images:||(7.5/10) - Good|
|Sound & Music:||(6.0/10) - Average|
|Story line:||(5.5/10) - Fair|
|Acting:||(6.5/10) - Average|
|Innovation:||(4.0/10) - Shoddy|
|Educational Value or|
Level of Wisdom:
|(4.0/10) - Shoddy|
|Overall:||(6.0/10) - Average
A rating of 5/10 should be considered as something not good but not bad either (# bad points = # good points).