Toon Talk: Mulan 2
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Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt
With the 1998 animated feature Mulan, the story's dramatic themes were nicely balanced with the action and comedy aspects, creating a rewarding mix of all the elements that make a Disney film enjoyable. Alas, with the latest Disney video premiere sequel Mulan II, the filmmakers lean more towards the comedic side, and the result is more akin to a screwball comedy then anything based on a legendary national hero should be.
The new film begins inauspiciously enough with the ascension of Mushu (now voiced by Mark Moseley, who seems to have made a career out of stepping into Eddie Murphy's roles - with this character as well as Donkey from Shrek - in various spin-offs) to the post of Guardian of the Fa family. But when now-General Li Shang (B.D. Wong) proposes to Mulan (once again brought vocally to life by Ming-Na, with Lea Salonga repeating her role in the singing department), it is revealed by the Ancestors (lead by George Takei) that when Mulan weds Shang, she will now become part of his family's ancestors, and therefore send the dragon back to gong duty. Mushu, not wanting to loose his cushy gig, plots to break up the happy couple, much to the chagrin of Cri-Kee (Frank Welker).
But before the wedding, Mulan and Shang are summoned by the Emperor (Pat Morita) for a special mission: they will escort his three daughters (voiced by Charlie's Angel Lucy Liu, Sideway's Sandra Oh and Ming-Na's fellow Joy Luck Clubber Lauren Tom) to a neighboring kingdom, where it has been arranged for them to marry into that royal family, thereby strengthening China's forces against an impending Mongol invasion. To aid them in their journey, Shang recruits their old army buddies Yao, Ling and Chien-Po (Harvey Fierstein, Gedde Watanabe and Jerry Tondo, respectively). Mulan isn't too thrilled about the whole idea of "arranged marriagesâ€?, but she still follows the Emperor's orders ... that is until it becomes obvious that the three beautiful princesses are falling for their three motley guardians (three girls, three guys ... like we didn't see that coming); through it all, Mulan remains "true to her heartâ€?, finding a way for all to end happily ever after.