A Review of the Movie Mulan
by Lori Eldridge
Video Title: Mulan
Pub: Walt Disney Pictures
Time: 88 minutes
Type of movie: Animation based on an ancient Chinese legend.
Mulan is a loveable, spirited girl who doesn't fit in with Chinese tradition because she has a bad habit of speaking her mind and following her heart, which gets her into a lot of trouble. However, being true to her heart also brings her victory in the end and honor to her family.
Mulan's parents send her to the matchmaker hoping that she will find a suitable husband, but through several mishaps she fails miserably and is told she will never bring her family honor. She realizes that when she is true to herself she breaks her family's heart. But she also realizes she can't hide who she is inside.
When the Huns attack China, her father, who is aged and crippled, is conscriptred into the Imperial Army. Mulan fears for her father's life and secretly steals his sword, his armor, his conscription order, disquises herself as a man, and takes his place.
She has a guardian dragon, Mushu, and a lucky Cricket, Cri-Kee who travel with her. Manshu is the lowliest of dragon guardians because he has failed to protect the ancestors of Mulan's family through the ages and because he wants to redeem his status as a worthy guardian dragon he deems it his duty to protect and guide Mulan and make her a war hero. He teaches her how to impersonate a man at boot camp. She first appears as a weakling but by using her ingenuity she eventually proves herself to the men by climbing a pole the other men could not climb.
The captain of Mulan's military unit is Shang, who is the son of a General who is eventually killed by the Huns. Shang leads his troops into battle and confronts the Huns, but they are outnumbered. Mulan, through using her ingenuity again, saves the day by shooting the last canon to a precipice overhanging the Hun army and they are destroyed as an enormous avalanche wipes them out. Mulan is wounded in the side and thus her secret is revealed. She is disgraced and ostracised by Shang and left behind as the army heads for the Imperial City.
However, some of the Huns revive. Mulan races to tell Shang that the Huns are in the Imperial city but she has lost his trust. She doesn't give up however. The Huns capture the emperor and drag him as a hostage into his own palace. Again through her ingenuity--she shows the men how to climb columns to the roof of the palace in the same way she climed the pole much earlier in the story. She is eventually directly responsible for saving the emperor's life as well as his kingdom. She is given a great honor by being made a member of the emperor's council, as well as being given the sword of Shang's father, and the crest of the Emperor. She returns home to her father where he welcomes her with open arms.
The emperor tells Shang "a flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." Shang knows the emperor is referring to Mulan. So he follows her to her home. We are left with the notion that they will get married and the movie ends.
There is a lot of humor in this movie--Mushu bitting another's behind and then brushing his teeth furiously; Mushu singeing the Raven's feathers with his hot breath and later riding the plucked raven around like a horse. And there are some very heart warming tunes, such as "be true to your heart." How can anyone argue with that? It is a great love story, not only Mulan's love and devotion for her father but also watching the budding relatiohsip between Mulan and Shang, as Mulan attempts to be true to her heart.
DANGEROUS SPIRITUAL IMPLICATIONS OF MULAN:
We are shown several instances where Mulan's father, grandmother, and Mulan burn incense and pray to their ancestors for guidance and protection. However, as Christians we are told to pray to God.
The ancestors are called from the dead to discuss Mulan's attemp to replace her father in battle. But the Bible tells us that there is a great gulf that separates the dead from the living and there is no communication between the two (Luke 16:19-31).
The ancestors decide to send the most powerful dragon of all--the Great Stone Dragon--to help Mulan, which Mushu impersonates. The dragon is a well known symbol of the Devil/Satan for Christians (Rev. 12:3,4; 13:2; 20:2). In order for this Dragon/Satan to be accepted by children, this dragon/devil is even cute, witty and downright funny.
We are told that Mushu is the guardian of lost souls. According to the Bible there is no guardian of lost souls because they are forever ostracised from God at their own choice.
We are told if we will find our center we will be able to win battles in life. This is a New Age term describing a method of meditation by looking inside ourselves to find answers. However, the Bible tells us to look to God for our peace, solace and protection.
The Emperor says that Heaven smiles down on the Middle Kingdom. This is an attempt to meld Christian beliefs into Buddhism.
Our children are being told it's ok to pray to ancestors for protection; the cute, witty Dragon (Satan) is portrayed as a guardian; we are told to find our center, to look within for peace; and that Buddhists will go to heaven.
A little bit of truth mixed in with untruth is Satan's favorite strategy to indoctrinate those not well grounded in Scripture. The spiritual theme found in Mulan is very similar to a lot of other Disney movies where just a little bit of theology is incorporated in each one to slowly indoctrinate our children away from the truth. It's a different religion in each movie, but nevertheless they all lead back to one basic theme--New Age Theology, that all religions lead to God. It is a well known fact that those in charge of the Media today are also into New Age and this is why we are seeing so much of it in movies for children.
At first glance this movie is so appealing, and heart warming it is hard to condemn it, but its spiritual implications make this a movie I would never recommend for children because it will lead them into untruth about the One real God of the Universe.