What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the violence in this animated movie isn't bloody, but it's virtually all unnecessary. The movie hammers home the message that following your heart is always the right choice.
What's the story?
In MULAN II, it's one month after saving China from the Huns and Mulan joyfully becomes engaged to her former captain, Shang. But they are quickly summoned by the emperor for a special mission. To seal an alliance with a neighboring nation, the emperor will send them his three daughters for marriage. Mulan, Shang, and a trio of misfit soldiers accompany the princesses to ensure their safety. The princesses quickly fall in love with the soldiers, however, and don't want to go through with the plan. Thanks to Mushu's meddling, Mulan and Shang break up, and must seal their own alliance even as they figure out how to save China again.
Is it any good?
Good voice actors such as Ming-Na as Mulan and Pat Morita as the emperor return for the sequel to the much-loved Mulan, but clearly the creators had some difficulty figuring out how to build on the legend. Mulan II plays like a Saturday-morning cartoon, with a lightweight story that has China's savior playing matchmaker to three princesses. While in the first movie Mulan's independence and sense of self led her to disobey her father to protect him and save her country, here "following your heart" means that characters fall in love instantaneously, and then disregard agreements made with their parents. Instead of strong, they seem selfish and flighty.
Adding to the silliness is Mulan's watchful dragon Mushu. It's difficult to understand Disney's decision to include even more of this annoying character the second time around. Here, out of jealousy, he stirs up misunderstandings and eventually a grave conflict between Mulan and Shang. In the end events and feelings sort themselves out, but the process isn't very pleasant to watch. The trouble he causes isn't funny, it's sad. The DVD includes a shadow identifying game that may prove difficult for kids. The World of Mulan feature is fun and educational, with an exploration of Chinese cultural symbols.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the importance of respecting others and how fulfilling your responsibilities sometimes shows even more inner strength then doing what you want