Movie Review: Mulan (1998)

Confession time: I have never actually watched this movie before. I know dishonor on me, dishonor on my cow, blah blah blah. But I then thought that since Disney recently released their live action remake, I might actually give this animated version a go (finally). So let’s get down to business.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mulan”.

Fearing that her father might die if he goes to war, young Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) steals his gear and pretends to be a man so she can take his place in the army. We all know the basic setup at this point, even if you haven’t seen this movie. And the way it’s handled here I quite enjoyed. It’s not without fault however. There are parts of the story that I feel they glossed over a bit, kinda rushing through some aspects in an effort to get to the “good stuff”. That’s not to say that the story here is bad, it’s still a fun family adventure without a good message at its core. I just wish it maybe slowed down a little more to let certain moments simmer more. But as it stands, the story and the way it’s told is still quite entertaining.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, fun, and surprisingly nuanced at times. First up is Mulan, title character and very relatable person. While the people around her want her to be a fancy girly-girl to honor her family, even though she’s not like that at all. And to see her development in the movie from somewhat clumsy and insecure to someone a bit more tough and confident, that’s engaging. And Ming-Na Wen does an excellent job voicing Mulan. Next we have Mushu, a guardian dragon who sets out to help Mulan become a hero… even if he’s only doing it for his own gain. He’s mostly there to bring laughs, but I think the filmmakers found a good balance in that and making him a valuable part of certain emotional developments. And while it might seem slightly jarring to put Eddie Murphy in a role like that at first, I must say that he was great in the role. Then you also get supporting work from people like B.D. Wong, James Hong, Harvey Fierstein, Soon-Tek Oh, Miguel Ferrer, Pat Morita, Frank Welker, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The music of this film is quite good. The main score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and it’s an absolute treat for the ears, creating a lot of emotion through the various tracks, giving us a some great background ambiance. Then you have the songs (’cause you know, Disney) that were done by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel. While I don’t think that all of them are among the upper echelon of Disney musical songs, they still generally work pretty well for the movie. The peak of the tracks is of course “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (sung by Donny Osmond), a most excellent montage song. So yeah, overall this movie has good music.

Based on a Chinese folk legend, “Mulan” was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook (with writing credits given to a shitload of people, good grief). And I must say that the craft on display here is absolutely superb. The art style for example takes inspiration from traditional Chinese artwork, and blending it with traditional Disney animation to create an absolutely stunning look for this movie that feels wholly its own. The animation is especially breathtaking in motion, where it shows great fluency that is a treat for the eyes.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.6/10.

While its storytelling isn’t the best, due to its fast pace, “Mulan” is still another winning movie within the Disney catalogue. It has a good story, good characters, really good music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mulan” is an 8,77/10. So while a little flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Mulan” is now completed.

Sometimes you just a need a film that can make you smile. This one did that for me.

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

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Guys, we are finally here… the final part in my series of reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. I have had so much fun with this series of reviews, especially since it gave me an excuse to rewatch all of the movie in this series I grew up with. And I thank anyone who has given each review a like and/or a comment, I really appreciate it. So… let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”!!! *sniffles*.

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are at the final stretch. Only a few horcruxes left to defeat Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) who now possesses the almighty elder wand. And from that we get the final chapter in this huge saga. But it’s not just a big and epic war, there is still a good amount of substance to it. The plot presented to us is very fast-paced but still manages to give us some very solid drama. We even get to learn more on the backstory on a few of the characters and it really helps to give this world we all love even more depth and emotion. So it’s a very solid plot we have here.

The character are as great as they will ever become in this movie. Harry has now fully matured and become the hero and leader needed for the battle. And Radcliffe is as amazing as ever… not much else to say there. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, they were great in their roles again. Ralph Fiennes, he was great. Alan Rickman (rest in peace you awesome man) got some more space as Snape in this movie and he was absolutely fantastic. Warwick Davis got to play double roles in this movie and he was great in both. For those wondering, he played both Griphook and Professor Flitwick. Matthew Lewis got some good screen time and further got to evolve Neville. We also saw the return of the great John Hurt as Ollivander. Firstly, good to see you again sir. What’s it been? 8 movies? Jokes aside, he was really good. I’d say that every returning actor ranged from really good to great in this movie. So let’s talk about the few new additions to the cast that this movie got. Firstly we get Ciarán Hinds as Aberforth, someone with deep ties to a certain someone in the “HP” universe. Not gonna mention who because there are people who haven’t seen this yet (grrr), so I just want them to experience it. And I just wanna mention also that I didn’t recognize Hinds as this character. I seriously had to look up who played him. But I can safely say that his performance is good. The second one I want to mention is a character played by Kelly Macdonald that shows up pretty briefly. She’s important in the end and her performance was really good. All actors were really good… MOVING ON!

The music (like in the previous part) was composed by Alexandre Desplat and it’s fucking fantastic. Some of the pieces in the score really are something special. And all hte tracks in the movie perfectly fit the scenes and really helped add something to it all. And of course it was amazing hearing some of the classic themes throughout… fucking nostalgic, I tell ya.

David Yates of course directed this movie, he had no reason not to. I mean, if he did Part 1 he had to do Part 2. But enough of the jokey stuff. Was his directing good in this movie? You can bet your ass it was! It’s just as great as in the previous movie. His directing is tense and dramatic. And the cinematography by Eduardo Serra is beautiful. And the visual effects are absolutely stunning. All of these of course make for some absolutely fantastic action scenes. Let me also say that this movie made me cry. Two and a half times. Half as in one time wasn’t a full cry, only like a single tear. But yeah, this shit made me sad. *sniffles*.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% (100% if you go by “top critics” only) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #223 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 3 Oscars in the categories of Best makeup, best visual effects, and Best art direction.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is the perfect way to end this magnificent franchise. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing, great cinematography, and amazing visual effects. Time for my final score. Shut up, I’m not crying. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is now completed.

This is it, the very end. And since it’s such a special occasion, I want to do something I never really do. I am asking you all a favor. Share this around social media. Friends, family, followers, pets… doesn’t matter. Just share it, let’s make a big fuckin’ deal out of this! Thank you.