After 25 Years, This Beloved Disney Movie Is Still The Animation Giant’s Best Action Film

“Even a quarter-century later, Disney’s ‘Mulan’ remains its paramount action film!

Amidst Disney’s remarkable 1990s cinematic lineup, including timeless gems like ‘The Lion King,’ ‘Aladdin,’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ stands ‘Mulan.’ Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this animated classic still stands as the apex of Disney’s action films. Released on June 19, 1998, ‘Mulan’ remains a standout and influential work. Inspired by the legendary Hua Mulan, it recounts the story of her taking her father’s place in the Chinese army. Disguised as a man, she becomes China’s sole female soldier against the invading Huns. Here’s why, even after 25 years, ‘Mulan’ prevails as Disney’s greatest movie and its ultimate action masterpiece.

‘Mulan’ Showcases Spectacular Action

The heart of ‘Mulan’s’ charm lies in its meticulously animated action scenes, reflecting Eastern martial arts like Tai Chi and Kung Fu. These sequences, from Mulan’s training montage to gripping battles, juxtapose artistry with the raw strength of the Huns, creating intelligent and well-matched conflicts that highlight Mulan’s cleverness against the Huns’ might.

A compelling villain is essential to any action film, and ‘Mulan’ delivers with Shan Yu. The Hun army’s leader is an unnerving antagonist, scaling the Great Wall and attacking ruthlessly. Designed in dark, sinister hues, Shan Yu’s eerie yellow eyes magnify his menace. The stark contrast evokes lasting unease, particularly among young viewers.

The training montage, a quintessential pre-2000s action film element, is masterfully executed in ‘Mulan.’ Set to the catchy “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” Mulan’s training under General Li Shang balances grueling exercises and humorous camaraderie. This scene’s essence lies in showcasing growth, not only as fighters but as comrades.

Mulan’s Timeless Feminist Tale

At its core, ‘Mulan’ challenges gender stereotypes and societal limitations. It defies gender norms prevalent during the 4th to 6th Century, which persist today.

Mulan’s defiance of gender roles is evident from the start. Running late for a matchmaking event, she juxtaposes her mother’s traditional expectations. This contrast showcases the film’s feminist perspective, emphasizing Mulan’s attraction to masculine pursuits and skills.

The film also addresses gender bias through military conscription, historically a male domain. ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ perpetuates patriarchal perceptions, ridiculing the notion of powerful females. Yet, ‘Mulan’ triumphs in embracing empowerment over stereotypes.

Mulan’s Enduring Influence

While Snow White and other classics often garner attention, ‘Mulan’ was groundbreaking. It paved the way for action-oriented animated films like ‘Big Hero 6’ and ‘Raya and the Last Dragon,’ impacting Disney’s evolution.

‘Mulan’s’ significance extends to contemporary issues. Amidst attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, the film’s cross-dressing heroes would spark debates today. Yet, in 1998, it demonstrated openness.

‘Mulan’ remains as beloved now as in 1998, a testament to its enduring legacy and boundary-pushing spirit.”

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