Written by Maria Giglio
Are you a big fan of Disney movies? I am and will never feel too old to freshen up some Classic from time to time. Mulan is no exception.
About 20 years ago, way before Kung Fu Panda, another Chinese warrior broke into the movie scene, Mulan.
As for many other movies, Disney takes inspiration from a folk legend for the script, the Chinese epic poem named Ballad of Mulan.
The Ballad dates back to 500 A.D. but only became popular after its transposition in written texts during the late Ming. Just like in the movie, the story talks about a girl, Mulan, who goes to war disguised as a man.
In a time when enemies are threatening invasion at the Chinese border, the Emperor calls for one male for each family to join the army. The call is not refutable.
In the Hua family, the only man eligible is Mulan’s father Hu, since the other male, Mulan’s brother is just a kid. Hu is a decorated veteran, though too weak and old to survive. Concerned with her father’s fate, Mulan decides to replace her father and secretly leaves to join the army, pretending to be a man.
Incredibly smart and brave, not only Mulan succeeds to deceive her comrades until the end, but she also proves to be an excellent fighter and most of all a brilliant war strategist.
Thanks to her skills, Mulan gains the respect of the Commander in chief and becomes his closest adviser, leading soon Chinese Army to victory.
To show gratitude to Mulan the Commander offers her his daughter’s hand, thus forcing Mulan to reveal her real identity: possibly the most beautiful woman in China, whose beauty is only second to her braveness.
With Mulan release, Disney was trying to promote a brand-new idea of woman, thus breaking with a long tradition of harmless princesses waiting for rescue. In Mulan, the message is particularly powerful, since the story itself tracks the change of Mulan’s condition from innocent girl to strong woman. Rather than a dragon surrounding her tower, this new kind of woman has a dragon as a pet!
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