The Disney 52 Animated Challenge: Year-Long Activity - NOW PLAYING: Princess and the Frog

Discussion in 'DPF Game Room' started by MerlinEmrys, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. unibear

    unibear DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    I'm sorry you felt attacked, but I totally get it. I felt the exact same way after my "Black Cauldron" analysis—that I was being called onto the carpet and being belittled for expressing my opinions, like they were somehow objectively 'wrong' or just plain 'stupid'. I also remember thinking that it completely drained any motivation (or joy) I had to do the next analysis. I remember feeling like: "Hey, I don't HAVE to do these analyses! Why am I putting in extra work just to get dumped on?" and I seriously considered just dropping out of these analyses altogether. I also felt like it made my next analysis much weaker because I kept second-guessing what I was saying and if it was stupid or wrong.

    Everyone feels dumped on at some point, but I do want to say that I read ALL of your analyses and I found them FASCINATING and, even more important, EDUCATIONAL!! And if you can get a college professor to admit that he/she learned something from a student, then you've really accomplished something great! Don't get discouraged, I think you took our discussions to a higher level and I enjoyed it quite a bit! Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  2. unibear

    unibear DPF Charter Member DPF Charter Member

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    Well, I just finished watching “Mulan” and… I don’t know. I want to like it, but it feels like it’s missing something (like character development, empathy, etc., see below).

    1. (and 8.) My overall impression of the movie… Several things:

    So why is Mulan’s dog named Little Brother? Is it just the half-baked joke at the beginning of the movie that fell flat? She’s calling for her Little Brother and you think it’s going to be a male human child, but guess what: it’s a dog. Hilarious!

    In a couple of instances, I saw the animators sneak in “Western” jokes that feel out of place in the film and also a bit dismissive to “enforce” our views of humor onto another culture. Examples include: (1) The song lyric of turning Mulan from “a sow’s ear to a silk purse”; I’m pretty sure that isn’t a Chinese saying, (2) The whole “American Gothic” tribute in the initial ancestor’s meeting, and (3) The final ancestor’s party with everyone dancing with two fingers over their eyes like “Pulp Fiction”. Disney is well known for “borrowing” cultural events and putting them in their films; I wonder why it bothers me so much in this particular movie? It just feels more insulting or derogatory, but I’m not sure I can explain why…

    The scene of Mulan cutting her hair was reminiscent of the hair-cutting scene in “Tangled”. In both cases, it signaled an irrevocable act that demonstrated the character’s resolve (Mulan not being able to go back on her decision to join the army and save her father; Flynn’s dying act to free Rapunzel from Gothel by destroying the only reason Gothel cared about her).

    Mulan pretending to be all of the stereotypical things she thinks a man ought to be reminded me of Aladdin pretending to be all of the stereotypical things he thought a prince ought to be. With equal success (not much).

    OK, anyone really think that a single rope attached to an arrow would hold the weight of two people and a horse??? Suspension of disbelief not achieved!

    There is no way that the group bow at the end of the movie from literally thousands of citizens would be that organized and would happen from front to back so perfectly…


    2. and 4. (and 8.) OK, so I’ve chosen to analyze Mulan. And tied to that, I’m analyzing the song “Reflection” (When will my reflection show who I am inside?). The movie starts with Mulan in her normal life—being late, doing chores, and running off to meet the matchmaker. The numerous family prayers and the matchmaker song (more on that later) make it clear that Mulan doesn’t fit in the way she should and that she’s not very good at the delicate feminine things she should be. Disaster ensues, and Mulan gets her big musical number: “Reflections”.

    This song and the animated sequence show Mulan fighting with herself over something, but at least for me, it’s not clear what the fight is about and the lyrics don’t exactly help. “When will my reflection show who I am inside?” What exactly does this mean? What does she see in the reflection and what does she think she really is? The movie never gives us a clue. At this point, it’s clear who she ISN’T—the marrying kind with feminine wiles and dainty skills—but then who IS she? What dreams does she have that can’t be fulfilled in the traditional role? What does she want to be? Her character hasn’t really been developed at this point. We see her living her life but we don’t learn anything about who she is or what her dreams are or what makes her tick.

    Throughout the rest of the movie, we still never get to see who she is or what she values. There are hints. For example, her line in “A Girl Worth Fighting For” as Ping—“How about a girl who's got a brain, Who always speaks her mind?” Well, this isn’t HER or we’d know something about her and what she thinks. She also shows her ability to think (retrieving the arrow, causing the avalanche, lining the Hun up to be taken out by the firework) but what does she want to be or do?

    This lack of character development appears in stark contrast to Megara in last week’s movie “Hercules”. In just a few sentences, we learn who Meg is, what happened to her, how it affected her, and why she behaves the way she does. None of this was done for Mulan in this movie, and this makes Mulan feel one-dimensional and doesn’t give me a reason to root for her (unlike Meg, whose backstory made me really connect with her).

    I know that she’s considered a “Disney Princess” (DP) even though she isn’t one by birth or marriage. I often wonder why Disney makes some non-princesses into DP while other equally (or more) strong female characters (like Esmeralda or Megara) don’t make the cut to be DP. Is it because this movie was more popular than HBNT or “Hercules”? I hope that Mulan isn’t a DP simply because they needed an Asian DP but I don’t find her to be a superior (or equal) character or role model than Esmeralda or Megara, so I am at a loss for her status.


    3. and 4. and 8. The sequence I chose to analyze was from the song, “You’ll Bring Honor to Us All”. This song and its sequence are actually kind of depressing for me, in that it makes it clear that the patriarchal views of women only having value as a dutiful wife and mother (“We all must serve our Emperor, Who guards us from the Huns, A man by bearing arms, A girl by bearing sons”) is not just a Western thing. Then again, I’m assuming the movie was written by Westerners, so are we sure this is the actual Eastern thinking or just what Westerners think Easterners think (oh, my head hurts now!)?

    This song plays all of the stereotypes about what girls should be: pretty, thin, subservient, and empty-headed (or at least singly focused on her man and children). The song also hits the idea home in a single lyric: “A girl can bring her family great honor in one way, By striking a good match”. So a woman’s worth is in the worth of the man she gets to be her husband. The message is made worse because it’s actually being reinforced by Mulan’s female relatives as the proper way to be.

    Sadly, this limited view of a woman’s worth is part and parcel of the whole Disney princess canon—sometimes as the take-home message (during the Snow White/Sleeping Beauty timeframe) or as the view of the “less enlightened” heathens (Ursula’s song in “Little Mermaid”/Gaston’s views in “Beauty and the Beast”/Jafar’s views in “Aladdin”).

    The lyric of “When we're through, Boys will gladly go to war for you” is mirrored in the warrior’s song “A Girl Worth Fighting For”. So, the movie shows—from both sexes—this view that men make wars and women make babies to make more wars. Not exactly an enlightened view, and it’s not all that clear to me that the movie is trying all that hard to make this seem like a bad (or at least antiquated) view.

    The equally damaging view of men from the patriarchal society is showcased in the song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and the scenes of warrior training where the captain is forever comparing the men to girls, and therefore implying they are worthless. Examples: “Did they send me daughters, when I asked for sons?” “Somehow I'll make a man out of you” “How could I make a man out of you?” “Be a Man” (relentlessly repeated). Note that is isn’t that he’ll make a warrior or soldier out of them, but a MAN. So, if you’re not good at war, you’re not a man. Leave it to Disney to make their “feel-good-tap-your-toes-and sing-along” song to be all about questioning the masculinity of men who have offered their lives up to defend their family and country from the invading Huns. Cool! (not!) All of this seems even more cringe-worthy because he is singing it to Mulan, who is not a man and doesn’t really want to be one! It seems to me that this song might be particularly damaging to those who are gay or transgender. I’m sure many gay men have heard that some particular trait in them makes them less of a man (they way they talk, the way they hold themselves, their interests, etc.), and now we’re all singing along with a catchy tune and the oft-shouted phrase “Be a Man”. As for those who are transgender, they probably feel just like Mulan, out of place and intimidated, and many have also probably heard that phrase “Somehow I’ll make a man out of you” when that’s not who they are or what they want to be, just what (a large part of) society wants them to be. I don’t think Disney intended this song to be as damaging as it is, but it still is.

    My biggest problem with all of this is that nothing about the unfairness in the traditional male/female roles seems to get resolved. At the end of the day, Mulan is honored as a warrior but she’s still Daddy’s little girl and goes home to live the life of his daughter. Even when Shang came to visit, it has come to see her father (and presumably ask for her hand) rather than to see Mulan and ask her for herself.


    6. I have two phrases I was toying with: (1) From the Matchmaker “You may look like a bride, but you will never bring your family honor.” and (2) From Mulan’s father “I know my place. It is time you learned yours!”

    Both of these phrases play into the idea that Mulan needs to find her (proper) place as a doting wife and mother as a way to bring honor to her family. The Matchmaker’s quote is easy to refute—Mulan brought honor to her family, not as a bride who snagged a good husband, but as a warrior who saved her troops, her captain, the Emperor, and all of China. Her father’s comment is more problematic. Did Mulan find her place in society? Was it as a warrior? Was it as a (future) doting wife to Shang? The movie doesn’t answer this question and since we don’t really know WHAT Mulan wants from her life, how can we tell if (how) she has met it?


    7. I’m not going to talk about the goal of this film because I don’t really know what I think its goals were, so it’s very difficult to talk about whether they were met. I do feel like it reinforces rather than refutes the traditional patriarchal stereotypes, and that’s part of why I just can’t seem to like this movie all that much.


    9. I chose this shot of Mulan with half of her make-up removed. I think it is intended to be symbolic of her dual nature in the film (as bride and as warrior; as “man” and as woman) and the conflict within her (who she thinks she is, who she thinks she should be).

    [​IMG]

    10. Stitch always knows the iconic shots, even if the other pin designers don’t. So I chose this scene with the warriors training for battle (38766); I had to choose the Stitch pin because I can find a “normal” pin from this scene.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Tokaji

    Tokaji Pins and Needles

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    As an outside observer, I will say that I will miss your analyses and your insights. They help to fuel my academic addiction. :D That said, I'd be happy to read more, and I hope you do decide to come back!
     
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  4. caw caw rawr

    caw caw rawr Squirrel!

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    I love it when people write about their favorite movie! I look forward to movies that I know have a superfan here. I love the passion and the adoration that shines through. It's fun to get a glimpse into why people like what they do and I feel like I'm getting to know the writer a little better. I can also understand feeling sad when someone doesn't love 'my' movie because it is close to my heart. We Disney-folk are a passionate people. :)

    The great thing is there is no absolute right answer when it comes to what we love. Each movie has something that will resonate with someone, it just may not resonate with me and that's okay. That's what makes life, and our little forum, so interesting! I do hope when we get to Home on the Range that someone loves it and will share their thoughts.

    I truly hope that everyone here feels safe to share. I adore you all and love learning more about you, and the movies you love, from this challenge!
     
  5. NutMeg

    NutMeg The Nefarious N.M.G.

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    You are always so sweet to me (and everyone!) and I love reading your posts as well! <3 It's especially interesting to read about the films from an international perspective, with all the language and/or story changes that happen in translation. You have such a unique perspective to offer. I will definitely send you the Hercules analysis I wrote! As soon as I find and read yours haha. Or you could just PM it to me because I'm super lazy. :p Def send me your Mulan one too!
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  6. NutMeg

    NutMeg The Nefarious N.M.G.

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    I think I was either out sick or just super busy during Black Cauldron week (or maybe it was because it came right after The Fox and the Hound, which I went out of my way to avoid haha... nope, never watching that movie again. #triggered haha.) But I'll be sure to track down a copy of Black Cauldron soon and tell you nice things I like about it, even if I hate it! Lol. :D But honestly I probably will enjoy it because I love weird, creepy, dark stuff obviously haha, plus the Chronicles of Prydain was one of my fave book series as a kid! (And again, I'm not all hung up on films "staying true" to the book lol. I think I mentioned that somewhere else on here before...? ;)) So I'm sure I'll see some good in the film! I always try to. :) I would also love to either get a link to the post of your analysis or a PM of it, whichever is easier. If you don't mind. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  7. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    I did rather enjoy reading your analyses; you have the ability to go more in-depth into these than I feel able to; it's just not one of my talents. But I also want to recognize that it's not fair to ask you to participate if you are having a negative experience from it as my enjoyment should not outweigh your well-being.

    Sit out for as long as you need to, participate if and when you feel ready (even if you have to sit some out in between ones you do) and you will have support here either way. <3

    (I wouldn't mind reading your Meg analysis if you feel ok PMing me about it, too.)
     
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  8. pretty Omi

    pretty Omi Resident Smol Wolf

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    This is actually I believe based on how traditionally Chinese families name their pets. They don’t just name them names like we do, ie: Rover, Fifi, Spot, etc. They name them based on descriptive words. I’ve known Chinese families who’s dogs names were “big handsome boy”, “happy second son”, and “soft loud friend”. It’s like a description, and/or their “role” in the family more or less. So Little Brother, being that Mulan is an only child, is viewed as a younger “child” in the family.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  9. NutMeg

    NutMeg The Nefarious N.M.G.

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    D'aw Tess, of course you would word it like this lol. xD <3 <3 <3 Thank you for understanding. I swear it's totally just a matter of mental health, as I've already got clinical depression, plus all my aforementioned baggage regarding the (rather toxic) environment I work in - I truly, truly would feel super bad if anyone took my decision as an insult or passive aggressive move or anything like that. I admit I was a bit immature/dramatic by just saying "I'm dropping out" / "I'm not playing anymore neener neener!" xD Haha, ("That's it - I'm movin' to Sparta!") Lol, I was just tired and exasperated, and frankly pretty embarrassed to be on the verge of tears by that moment tbh. :oops: So hopefully these explanations can clear the air a bit and the thread is able to move on and regain the fun, positive spirit Merlin has so lovingly cultivated. :)

    Thank you my dear. I think I've read that some people play along in private? So I might do that and just watch the films along with the schedule/keep a private diary of sorts haha. The whole activity has definitely been a fun creative outlet thus far, since I'm not currently in classes and just helping out on other peoples' projects instead of my own. /: So I'd like to continue writing for the fun of it, probably just not publicly, at least for a while.

    Of course. I would be flattered. :) I'll send it tomorrow since I never added pics/gifs to it (I always wrote these on Google Docs before posting), and I made lots of mentions to specific shots haha, so it kinda wouldn't make sense without them. Did you write a Herc analysis? I always enjoy yours as well and would love to swap PM's. :)

    ----

    Anyway, pretty please continue with the Mulan discussion, guys!!! Please don't let me pull focus! (Again, I feel weirdly conspicuous already ha.) I'll stop clogging the thread hehe, just ignore me. ;P If you'd like to chat my inbox is always open! <3

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  10. Meritre

    Meritre Active Member

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    As far as I know, they would have had to move to the closest male relative.

    [​IMG]
    :D

    I think Cinderella while bathing in the morning but she's behind a screen

    She has a great father and she knows it :)

    There were a lot wars going on there at that time, as far as I know. I',m going to give a short history lesson, but not on that but on how the Huns and the Hungarians are not really connected but according to current researches, we are supposed to have come from that area as well and used similar tactics in war as they did.

    I always thought that's the emperors way to insult Shan Yu and telling him he thinks him inferior :) (I never picked that up because in the hun dub he talks about a rock and not a mountain :) )

    These are hard to translate. I had a hard time finding where this one comes from because the hun dub says in to the bathtube you go the brush is already waiting for you.

    Reading this may first thought was that maybe she doesn't even know herself who she is - she has to discover that first.
    also some evidence from the hun dub, there is a line that say in Reflection zthat says: Come my soul, open up, whom are you hiding? Tell me. (it was originally the part: Somehow I cannot hide who I am though I tried)

    I thought that phrase clashed with the fathers overall behaviour. He loved his daughter just as she was. He didn't scold her after she failed at the Matchmaker's but got angry about Mulan indirectly pointing out that he is not really capable of protecting the family as a man should.

    Although I didn't like the sequel, it gives some sort of an answer to these questions - Mulan is beeing Mulan and teaches how to do that to other young girls.

    I didn't know that but now it all makes sense :) Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  11. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    Some stray thoughts:

    I watched Mulan a few months ago for the first time in years, and I still overall love it but there were certainly some bits that made me go, "How did they get away with that?!" 1998 does not seem like THAT long ago, although the 20th anniversary merch reminds us that oh yeah, two decades have passed. The 90s don't seem so enlightened after all! I see what @unibear is saying with regard to the issues of gender depictions--the movie is ultimately about being who you are and finding YOUR place in the world, as Kim (@LittleBird) points out. But some of it seems awfully clunky now. There are points in the movie where The Three Dudes (because I'm too lazy to type out three names, ha ha) and the cross-dressing are played for laughs in a way that made me cringe a bit for anyone who is struggling with gender identity and acceptance--like, to be comfortable with dressing as women, the guys really, really had to overemphasize the yucks because it is "so not ok" to them. Maybe it was intended to realistically portray human discomfort with anything Different--but I can easily see a young person who either has identified as trans or who is struggling with identity watching those scenes and feeling that they reinforce the negative feedback these kids receive from some segments of society. Like, "I want to live freely and express who I am, but this is the crap I'll get if I do." Again--that's funneled through time; I'm sure in 1998 I thought it was hilarious because I wasn't fully cognizant of its potential impact on other people.

    Whether Mulan's character is sufficiently developed is subjective, but I do agree with @Meritre that the intended point is Mulan's struggle to figure out who she is. If anything, I think you could make the argument that Mulan is a big step forward for Disney Princesses because she can't easily be labeled as any one thing. She's a daughter and a soldier and a woman and a friend and a smart and resourceful person (gender neutral because gender is irrelevant). And if you consider real life, we're all more complex than Token Asian Princess or College Professor or Stay-at-Home Mom, etc. Mulan doesn't know who she is, and she isn't sure who she wants to be, either--she feels at odds with society's expectations, but even that isn't enough. It's not as simple as "I know what I don't want to be, so therefore I *do* want to be THIS."

    I understand where @unibear is coming from in feeling that this isn't entirely resolved by the end of the film. That may have been intentional--any of us could ask at any point, "Who am I? What is my purpose?" and some would say people continue to evolve and change throughout their lives, so what you are today may not be who you choose to be tomorrow--or it may be that the film isn't entirely successful in making that point. There is an interesting series of books--they're for teens, actually, but I've really enjoyed them--known as Twisted Tales, in which the author takes the known Disney story and introduces a plot twist that allows her to explore a different direction for the characters. Sometimes they end up in the same place via a different route, and sometimes they end up somewhere very different. Anyway, I'm telling you this (ha) because the Mulan book actually does a really great job (I think) of exploring Mulan's psyche and internal struggle with her identity and role. The author created an internal world for Mulan's disappointment in herself, her guilt in "letting down" her family by not being Who the World Expects Her to Be, etc. Again, it's my personal view that we have to judge the movie as presented on its own merits, so the backstory provided elsewhere is a side issue. I'm mentioning it because (a) you might enjoy the series if you're into character development and (b) reading the Mulan book did make me, in retrospect, realize that the movie doesn't fully flesh out the character.

    That said, I still really like Mulan and think she's a better role model and source of inspiration than some other characters. She didn't just talk--she acted. She made choices that were unconventional and risky, but she did it to help her family and her country. The penalty if she got caught was death, remember. But she had the courage of her convictions and was stronger than anyone gave her (as Mulan, as a woman) credit for.

    No, but China was one end of the Silk Road and is/was known for its silks. So it's probably a Western writer thinking he/she is being clever, nudge nudge wink wink. Your response may vary. :D


    It's totally an insult--"Go away, you annoying wasp, you cannot actually harm me." I think what Kim was saying is that she kind of enjoys the delightful irony of the Emperor comparing himself to a mountain, and a mountain just fell on Shan Yu. Like, boom, sucker. Ha ha. (As she said, it wasn't the mountain itself, it was the snow, triggered by the cannon. But still. That Emperor seems mild-mannered and Zen but dude's got the snark. :D )
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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  12. Meritre

    Meritre Active Member

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    Ah, now I understand. I need help picking up these bits, thank you for helping :)
    Emperor gets bonus points for pretending to be polite :)
     
  13. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    No worries--I actually love that you watch in both languages when you can. It's interesting to see "what translates" and what doesn't, or how the need to translate changes meaning.
     
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  14. cadien

    cadien Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  15. cadien

    cadien Well-Known Member

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    Playing it for laughs with the three soldiers doesn't grate on me as much as when the ancestors are arguing and flat out calling it a terrible thing.
     
  16. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    True! I'm doing this partly from memory (which is why I called it stray thoughts and not analysis, ha ha) so I was short on specifics. But this is an excellent example of something that not only didn't age well but probably reflects poorly on us as humans that we ever thought it was OK.
     
  17. Purplemandms

    Purplemandms Like the candy!

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    It’s 5am and I am DYING with laughter
     
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  18. coblj003

    coblj003 DPF Charter Member DPF Correspondent

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    @NutMeg, I hope you stay put and comment everynow and then, I enjoyed reading your analysis especially given your background. I had a few film major friends as well so when we had a tv/movie night they would always "critique" the good, bad, and laughable about a movie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
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  19. coblj003

    coblj003 DPF Charter Member DPF Correspondent

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    I will start with stray thoughts, As this is one of my my favorite movies, I want to actually do a worthwhile analysis vs just getting by at the last minute.

    Stray Thoughts/Rebuttals
    As groundbreaking as Mulan was twenty years ago, I can't help feel a bit uncomfortable in how stereotyped a few of the characters were. One of the criticisms for Mulan is that it was an American Fantasy tale in the guise of Asian makeup, quite similar to how Aladdin was criticized. I read that Chinese Audiences pretty much said that film deviated too heavily from the original tale and that Mulan herself was too western? I would like to hear @starry_solo 's critique if she has anything to say on that matter.

    While Mulan was noteworthy for its primarily Asian Cast, None of the original English cast was voiced by anyone from mainland China let alone Chinese descent. Ming Na(Fa Mulan) is from Macau; BD Wong(Li Shang) and James Hong(Chi Fu)and I believe Freda Foh Shen(Fa Li) are Americans with roots from Hong Kong. Soon-Tek Oh(Fa Zhou) has Korean roots; Pat Marita(Emporer), George Takei(Fa Ancestor), Gette Wattenabe(Ling), Jerry Tondo(Chien Po) are all Americans with Japanese Roots. Not to mention the non-Asian cast of Harvey Feinstein(Yao), June Foray(Grandmother Fa), Miguel Ferrer(Shan Yu), Miriam Margolyes(Matchmaker) and Eddie Murphy(Mushu).

    I find it ironic that the two most "Masculine" characters in Mulan, Yao and Li Shang, are each played by actors well known for characters that cross-dress.

    As much of the Japanese Cast are well known character actors, it blows my mind that the voice of Ling is known for the portrayal of Long Duk Dong on 16 Candles; talk about about stereotypes...

    @LittleBird: Nudity as far as Disney has allowed/implied have been a bit present if you look for it, but its all in the context of bathing or historical accuracy if you will. Examples include The Little Mermaid(Ariel), Beauty and the Beast(Beast), Hercules(museum intro), Fantasia(Centaurs, Harpies, Fairies, etc), and even a few blatant exceptions that were later removed(see uncensored frame from the Rescuers, who framed Roger Rabbit, etc)...
    *Insert obligatory George Takei "Oh My" here*
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
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  20. Meritre

    Meritre Active Member

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    I’m afraid I went into full translator mode while doing this one but I noticed so many things that are different and I wanted to share them – it is something unique I can offer and it’s really nice to add something unique to my writings. :) So here comes part 1:

    1. What is your overall impression of the film? Some possible talking points include: what you did or did not like about it; what about the film has stuck with you; what did you find different on this viewing; how would modern audiences respond to this (for the older films)… The list goes on. Hahah!
    I hardly know where to start! I mentioned several times that this one is a family favourite – my sisters and my mothers favourite Disney movie (although Hercules could compete for that title, too) This means I’ve seen it quite often and in different languages – ironically english was not one of them, I watched the english version for the first time now for this challenge. (I did a double watch. Well sort of. I added in dubs both times of the other language so I can observe the differences. Also switched a lot to see how close the subs are to what is actually said.)
    There a lot of tiny changes in the hun dub, some of them due to the differences between the languages. For example there is no separate ’he’ and ’she’ in my language and the personal pronouns are rarely in the sentence if it’s third person – we just don’t say it but the sentence obviously needs a subject so sometimes ’she’ had to be replaced with ’Mulan’, ’girl’ and ’woman’. I adress this because I read other people talk about what it can mean the characters saying girl or woman talking about Mulan.

    2. Choose one specific character to analyze. You can explore how a character acts, what they say, how they dress, etc. to explain what they may represent or their function and meaning in the narrative. Try to avoid obvious "plot" stuff (ex: the Evil Queen is a villain, so her purpose is to be bad...), but explore unique and specific elements about the character (ex: the EQ is surrounded by images of peacocks, further suggesting her obsession with vanity). You may also use these elements to explain why you connected or disconnected from the character.
    Mulan beeing one of my favourite heroines is an obvious choice. Also she is a lot like me in the aspect that she’s trying to live up to the expectations. She is forced into those stereotypes that doesn’t fit her. It’s certeinly a lucky chance for her that she gets the opportunity to explore herself and find out what she is actually good at. I think she liked Shang for training her so she could unfold the great qualities sleeping in her – like beeing resourceful, thinking quickly and more.
    I feel like her clothes reflects pretty well how she feels and who she is. Her underwear/nightgear shows her tomboyish side, the green-yellow outift from the beginning is the farmers daughter, the matchmaker outfit is focusing on the girl, what a girl should be and Mulan doesn’t have those traits traditionally valued in a young woman in China. So while in that outfit, disaster follows disaster. Next is the soldier outfit, which is a better fit but still not her. I love how her final blue outfit actually reflects how she truly is – it is the most detailed outfit in my opinion and mixes elements from the warrior outfit and her casual attire at the beginning, uniting two important sides of her.
    Her matchmaker outfit has a lot of pink that is associated with girls (Barbie had a hand there, too) her end outfit has blue as the main color which is more often associated with boys.
    She is also a dreamer she sincerely wishes to make her family proud and live up to their expectation– a trait she shares with Lee Shang. Mulan simply doesn’t do this the traditional way she does it the Mulan way. :)
    If interested in the life of people, especially girls life in China, I recommend Eastwind, Westwind by by Pearl S. Buck. A pretty accurate picture of chinese everyday life and what was expected of women. Although Mulan takes place much earlier it still gives information on their lives.

    3. Choose one specific scene or sequence to analyze—tell me what response is it trying to evoke from the viewer and how does it go about getting that response? Your analysis could include the scene’s use of color, action, camera angles, music, character development, setting, backdrop, style, etc. If you can justify it with evidence from the scene, then it’s an analysis!
    I think I’ll chose the part when Mulan finally manages to climb that pole to retrieve the arrow. Mulan seems upset because she’s told war is not for her and she should just go. She is not depressed but motivated to try and show that she’s got what it takes to be a solider. We see her from “the arrows pont of view” (maybe she felt like it looked down on her? Like you can’t get me, how hard you may try, you’ll never manage) – she’s tiny, showing how high up the arrow is.
    [​IMG]

    She starts at the bottom in the dark and she starts the traditional way. Still dark. Will she succeed?

    [​IMG]

    She fails the traditional way.

    [​IMG]

    Just like she failed the traditional meeting with the matchmaker. But then she starts to think, starts to be herself. Still dark though, she still doesn’t know if she’ll succed.

    [​IMG]

    She starts to climb and there is a bit of light, too. There is hope.

    [​IMG]

    She reaches th point where the sun reaches her – she’s out of the shadow, her dark times at the camp are over, she proved herself – for now.

    [​IMG]

    As she gets higher and higher climbing she also rises in the eyes of her fellow soliders.

    4. Choose one song to analyze—tell me what response is it trying to evoke from the viewer and how does it go about getting that response? What purpose does this song have in the film and does it succeed in that purpose?
    I think I’ll have to run through all the songs, starting with Honor to us all and point out how they slightly changed during translation. Frist, the translated title of Honor to us all is not someone speaking to the daughter to bring honour but just generally speaking that this day ought to bring joy. Another difference is: „Scarier than the undertaker /We are meeting our matchmaker” turned into: The girl who’s not afraid even of fire, is trembling of fear at the Matchmaker's – a little hint that Mulan’s going to war and fire cannons. Also it pokes fun at the Matchmaker.
    The Hungarian translation of this song also has the ’woman side’ for the lack of a better word in „Pimped and Polished till you glow with pride” it was replaced with that is how a dirty little girl becomes a woman. The answer to this the ’man’ part will be in I’ll make a man out of you of course.
    The Porcelain doll picture is completely missing from the translation, and I think to make up for this girls are referred to as caterpillars becoming butterflies. Also the porcelain doll part is replaced with their souls beeing white blank pages that have nothing written on them yet.
    This song shows Mulans struggle to fit in and live up to expectations. We get to know the starting situation. Reflection shows that Mulan is fully aware of her beeing the odd one and wishes to find and be able to be her true self. This song has the least changes in it although I think it states more directly that Mulan is trying to find herself and doesn’t really know what she is, she only knows what she isn’t at that point.
    And now let’s get down to business and tear I’ll make a man of you apart. I think it has the most changes out of the four songs. First, instead of using the turning boys into men part as the title. It uses the background part Be a man that was turned into Be strong. I think this one is both adding and taking something. I feel like with this Mulan belongs more to the soliders and in the reprise part towards the end it suits better. But actually Mulan is supposed to be a bit of an outsider.
    Also Shang is more encouraging than threatening and belittleing them. He has a very important line that I didn’t find in the original: Those who fight and endure will eventually reach their goals. (instead of running out of time) He doesn’t complain that he got daughters instead of sons but describes the ideal hero: smart and faithful.
    He also says that this hand will knead naughty kids into men. (Funny, kneading bread is a tipically female work. But in hungarian, people who are really strong are called iron kneaders – Hades called baby Hercules that)
    Instead of calling them a pathetic lot he says they need physical training, discipline and punishment won't hurt, either.
    The raging fire was of course a keeper. :)
    I think that it softened Shangs character a bit, he is more empathic but still a strict trainer who doesn’t let his charges know better.
    It doesn’t stop the plot but drives the story forward so it fullfils its purpose quite nicely although I think that change, Mulan becoming the best is a bit sudden.
    The reprise of this song is thrown in just at the right moment – when they needed this little reminder – this time I think it came from Mulan. (Also as I already mentioned, it doesn’t say be a man – that is quite ironic as the men dressed up as women but be brave :) )
    Almost forgot A girl worth fighting for. While there are a good number of nice examples of translating, the title suffered – it became A pretty and coquettish girl. I don’t like that.
    This song is also important because it shows Mulans opinion what a woman should be like. And all her friends do the same they just have completely different opinions.
    But let’s finish on a funnier note: Chi fu sings: There are lots of pretty ladies who gave their hearts away to me - Yaos reply: There’s only one lady like this: his mother.
    Also Ling sings that some compliments and kisses and the girls fall for them – Yaos reply: this beutiful theory often doesn’t work in practice. Those were parts I liked but the coquettish girl was a bad decision I think :(
    I just noticed that just the songs by themselves are a pretty good sum up of the story.


    5. Choose one specific symbol in the film to analyze. A symbol is typically something inanimate, an object, rather than a character. So don’t say “Brer Bear represents dumb people,” as that’s more of a character analysis than a symbol. Rather, think about specific objects (jewelry, clothing, houses, food, weapons, etc.) What does this symbol mean and how does that meaning impact the film?
    I think I’ll choose the fan because I got this idea that it could stand for Mulan herself – traditionally thought to be a female accessory, and Mulan is forced into the traditional female role. But in the end, she can become who she is inside she can show it off and she doesn’t use the fan as a female would – she uses it the Mulan way, to get the sword from Shan Yu.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  21. Meritre

    Meritre Active Member

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    6. Choose a single line of dialog that you find to be the most significant/impactful line in the film and why. You can be a little loose with the “single line” bit, but let’s not go for Maleficent’s entire monologue to Philip... Rather, something like Stitch’s “This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little, and broken, but still good. Yeah – still good.” (brb weeping).
    A single grain of rice can tip the scale. One man may be the difference between victory and defeat.
    Egyetlen szem rizs átbillentheti a mérleget és egyetlen ember eldöntheti egy egész nemzet sorsát.
    A single grain of rice can tip the scale and a single man can decide the fate of a whole nation.
    The emperor is full of wisdom. And he knew what could happen and exacly this is what happened – if it haden’t been for Mulan the story would have ended very differently, a defeat instead of the glorious victory and the fate of the nation... who knows?
    He just summed up one aspect of the story very effectively.

    7. What is this film’s overall goal? Is it to teach a specific lesson (what is it) or get an emotional response (such as)? Or both? And how well or poorly does the film succeed in that goal? Be specific!
    I think it teaches that finding your place and who you really are is hard but well worth in the end. Mulan shows this through her own example. Also you don’t have to be what you are expected to be, you can find your own path as Grandmother Willow would put it. Showing is mostly better than just talking about it.

    8. What connections or progressions do you see in this film to past films? Example: how does Sleeping Beauty progress (or digress?) the princess archetype built in Cinderella? Be specific! Also, consider what use there is in returning to or re-imagining those elements?
    I think she is yet again a step in a different direction than Esmeralda and Megara, exploring another possibility for a female lead. They didn’t want Mulan to turn into a female Hercules but in some ways they are very similar – they struggle finding their place and the training they recive helps them reach their goals.
    I sometimes get the feeling that Mulan was only part of a checklist, so there is one of each ethniticy among the Disney Princesses.
    I also think Mushu has some things in common with Timon


    9. What is the iconic shot of the film? What single frame of animation do you find to be the most memorable and why? Post it! You can check out this link to find some great screencaps to help!
    There were so many, Mulan with the sword for the first time, Mulans mirror images in the water, in the sword, in the helmet but I choose this moment with Mulan and her father – he’s actually making a prophecy that will come true. And he accepted his daughter from the start and tried to help her to overcome the disappointment that came with the not so successful visit to the matchmaker.
    [​IMG]

    10. What single pin do you think best represents this film for you? Why? Give us the pin number and post a picture!
    I found a pin with my iconic shot. I usually chose something different for representative pin than for iconic shot but this time it felt right to use the same. :)
    Pin 39042 Disney Auctions (P.I.N.S.) - Mulan & Fa Zhou with Blossoms
    [​IMG]

    Stray thoughts:

    Somehow I got the impression that the Grandmother was just as spirited and very much like Mulan when she was younger.

    I guess everybody knows that Mulan was drawn a bit differently when in disguise (more angular face instead of round face)

    The source material is a Ballad about Hua Mulan, I read somewhere that in the original version she is not found out during the war, only when her friends visit her later discover they that she is a girl. She was also comfortable with her female clothes in that version.

    How come they noticed the burning village only when it was right in front of them? Too busy singing?

    How did they fetch a doctor for Mulan so quickly? I never saw him while they were travelling.

    Some fun little changes during translation I noticed:
    “Now I really wish that I knew how to swim” became I need a life saver but the pay is not enough to buy it. (Also the word we use for life saver is a playful word to say that someone is a bit fat - and we are talking about Chien Po)
    Khan is thought to be a donkey instead of a cow by Mushu in the Hungarian dub :)
    Mushu also threatened Cri-Kee to bind his antennes into a bow instead of popping one of them off and throw them away.

    Also there are a lot of voice actors returning from previous movies like Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King. Gaston, Timon and Ling; Shan Yu and Sebastian (you could never tell that by simply listening to the two characters voices); Simba, Le Fou and Shang; Yao and Razoul; the leader of the ancestors and Mufasa share voice actors.

    I also promised a history lesson so here it is:
    So the Hungarians and the Hunns are sometimes thought to be the same nation but that is not true. There is a well-known legend that insists we share ancestors. The story is about the brothers Hunor and Magor following a Miraculous Stag to a new homeland where they found wives and had big families. Hunor was said to be the ancestor of the Hunns and Magor was said to be the ancestor of the Hungarians or Magyars as we call ourselves. Researches today seem to confirm we possibly shared ancestors with them. It is very unclear who is related to whom and researches are still going on and researchers are fighting over theories. The Hunns came to Europe sometime in the 5. Century after Christ' birth, the Hungarians came later.
    But we came from Asia just like them and we were a nomadic folk. The favored weapon was bows and arrows – just like the Hunns. Pretending to run from the battlefield and luring the enemy closer was an often used strategy. Then the warriors suddenly changed positions on their horses, sat facing backwards and shot their arrows. History lesson ends here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  22. Addicted to Alice Pins

    Addicted to Alice Pins My name is Ann, and I'm here to enable you!

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    You have a lot of great stuff in your analysis, so I'll circle back later with more responses. But I did want to say that your scene analysis is particularly good. Great example of the story's core message, great example of Mulan's character and growth. But ... I feel really dumb, ha, but do you know how many times I've watched this movie and considered the sun rising to be an indication of the passage of time (which it is) but didn't really think about the dark changing to light as a reflection of Mulan's progress? The growing light = hope is a great connection. :) Every time I watch this movie from now on, I'm going to have that in the back of my mind. So thanks!!! Haha.
     
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  23. Meritre

    Meritre Active Member

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    The Disney Wiki offers a lot of interesting information about the movie, like the meanings of the names, the source material and the hints that might help to determine when Mulan takes place and more:
    Mulan
     
  24. timeerkat

    timeerkat Your Friend Who Likes To Play

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    Weeeeelllll......I got Mulan the other day and just sat down to watch it, and found out the librarian didn't unlock it when I checked it out! Gotta race out now to try and get to a branch before they close.

    ETA - PHWEW! Got there with 9 minutes to spare. Can't watch it just now but can tonight when I get back from my plans.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
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  25. Meritre

    Meritre Active Member

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    Until the other analyses come, I picked out some of fact that were the most interesting for me from the Wiki:

    "During the avalanche, Mulan's helmet gets blown off and Shang's horse disappears but are both seen later in the film."

    "When Mulan masquerades as a man, her name is a pun in Chinese. Her first name is "Ping" (瓶), meaning pot, and her surname (placed first using Chinese naming conventions) means Flower (花). Together they make "Flowerpot", a Chinese term meaning an effeminate man. According to Orpheus in Mayfair and Other Stories and Sketches by Maurice Baring, "Ping" in Chinese means soldier-man, and if you wish to express your contempt for a man there is no word in the whole of the Chinese language which expresses it so fully and so emphatically as the word Ping. Chi-Fu's name literally means "to bully" in Chinese."

    "Jerry Goldsmith won the 1999 BMI Film Music Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score in 1998. Wilder and Zippel were also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song the same year for "Reflection". They were beaten by The Truman Show and "The Prayer" from Quest for Camelot respectively."
    Ironically in the hungarian dub Kayley and Mulan share the singing voice actress:)

    To create 2,000 Hun soldiers during the Huns' attack sequence, the production team developed a crowd simulation software called Attila. This software allows thousands of unique characters to move autonomously. A variant of the program called Dynasty was used in the final battle sequence to create a crowd of 3,000 in the Forbidden City.

    "During the scene in which the Chinese are bowing to Mulan, the crowd is a panoramic film of real people bowing. It was edited into the animated foreground of the scene."
    I didn't see that :eek:
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
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