Mulan is with no doubt BEST Disney movie ever! I usually love Disney movies, but (putting aside Brave and Mulan) the princesses/female leads are nearly always simpering, annoying brats waiting for their princes to come save them. ("OH, PRINCE CHARMING!") I saw a lot of Disney Princess movies when I was younger and loved them, then re-watched a lot of the Renessiance Age (sorry, can't spell it) and before Disney films and although still enjoyed the storylines and soundtracks, was appalled by how stupidly the women were portrayed. Movies in the Renessiance age (Pocahontas, Aladdin, The Lion King etc.,) weren't too bad but the 40s-80s were terrible. I saw Mulan when I was about five years old (about 2008 though it was released in 1998) and didn't really understand it and didn't like it much. It is a lot harder to comprehend (for kids 6 and under) than the likes of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
They are basically: Everyone is happy. Tragedy strikes (usually parents die etc.,). Girl is now upset for many years. Prince/Male lead shows up. Prince/ML falls in love with Princess/FL. They all live happily ever after.
Then I saw an advertisement for it when watching Sofia the First with my little sister (admittedly kind of more for me than her though!) on Disney Junior and remembered the movie so set it to record. I watched it last week (aged 11), then the next day, the two days after that, then three days, then yesterday and twice today. I'm addicted. I won't spoil the movie for you if you haven't seen it yet, but this is the basic storyline:
At the beginning of the movie, Mulan (aged about 16 or 17) has to visit the Matchmaker to find a husband. This movie was set about a thousand years ago in Ancient China, so this was the normal routine. She is deemed unsuitable for marriage and so then thinks she has brought dishonour on her family. While preparing her to visit the Matchmaker a song is performed name "Honour To Us All" which is VERY sexist but don't turn the movie off yet. They are mocking the fact this actually happened and later on it gets better. There are many sexist songs but they are all ridiculing the people who actually take it seriously. Mulan sings a song named "Reflection" because she thinks she is not good enough. Later the Chinese prepare for war against the Huns (Mongolians). Mulan's is very old and injured but by law one man from each family has to fight. She later goes in his place (disobeying her parents, but it is for their own good). A hilarious (and tiny) dragon, Mushu, goes with her to try to bring her back after it is discovered she is missing. If I say anymore I will ruin the movie so enjoy :)
The next song (which is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING) is named "I'll Make a Man Out Of You" and is also pretty sexist but it's obviously making fun of it (watch the movie). Another song "A Girl Worth Fighting For" is sexist because the men sing that they want their brides to be pretty and well dressed. Mulan is deeply offended by this and puts them right by saying girls with brains are better than girls with beauty but they dismiss this.
Mulan is even better than the men at fighting and ends up SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
saving China. This is a great movie for both girls and boys, as well as being humourous and entertaining it will teach them girls are just as good as boys. I watched this with my three-year-old sister and seven-year-old brother, if you are watching this movie with children as young or younger as my sister prepare for some questions. She asked why girls weren't allowed to fight as well and why girls would be killed if they did. I explained that that was a long time ago and they could now, but it wasn't fair when they weren't. She pondered this then said that was mean and not fair. (I WAS SO PROUD!!! lol)
Positive Messages: Girls can do everything boys can do, stand up for what you believe in
Positive Role Models: Mulan: Stands up for what she thinks is right, challenges herself to make things better Shang: keeps going when things get tough, can change his ways Yao, Limg and the tall, overweight guy (Chein-Yo or something, I keep forgetting his name) (at the end of the movie): Teaches us that people are the same inside no matter what they look like on the outside.
Violence: There is a bit (kicking, bamboo poles, swords, cannons) but this is I-Cell Animation so it's not that bad. Mulan is visibly wounded, but it is only this: she keels over with pain and lifts her hand to reveal a pool of blood on her clothing. I-Cell is not realistic so it is nothing to worry about.
Sex: At the beginning of the movie Mulan has a bath but you can only see her shoulders, face and bare arms. In the middle she bathes in the lake, you can see the same and her bare calves when she emerges from the lake. The men then arrive (without Mulan knowing so this can't be counted as sexual, only nudity), you can see their bare chests, arms, legs and faces. During the song "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" Shang (male) is topless.
Cursing: Mulan is called a treacherous snake, but that can't really be counted as cursing.
Drugs, Alcohol & Smoking: Some cigarettes are smoked, but that was the custom in those days.
Consumerism: It's China. 1500 years ago. Any products shown or mentioned would not be around today. No idea why Common Sense gave this 3/5.