100 Facts about Mulan

Aloha my wonderful merfolk!

This week is one of my favourite Princess movies and is the first movie I ever remember seeing in the cinema. It was Halloween weekend of 1998 and I went straight from the cinema with my mam and auntie to our traditional family Halloween party. This is such a good, positive childhood memory for me and I hope I never forget it.

31. Mulan

  1. Mulan was released on June 19th 1998.
  2. It is the thirty-sixth animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon.
  3. Mulan is the ninth film in the Disney Renaissance.
  4. The film is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan.
  5. It was the first of three films produced primarily at the animation studio at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando Florida.
  6. It was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook.
  7. Mulan had a budget of $90 million.
  8. This film marked the first Disney film to ever be released on DVD.
  9. It was released in November of 1999.
  10. Mulan was the first Disney animated film to openly deal with warfare.
  11. When Mulan sings ‘Reflection’ in her fathers shrine, the writing on the temple stones is the names of the Disney animators who worked on the film, written in ancient Chinese.
  12. Fa is the Cantonese pronunciation of Mulans family name.
  13. Hua is the correct Mandarin pronunciation and means flower.
  14. Hua Pin, Mulans fake name, means flower vase or just vase.
  15. In China, n effeminate man is often called a flower vase.
  16. The opening titles were put together by simply putting watercolour on rice paper.
  17. In one version of the legend, Mulan had a younger brother who was to be enlisted, but instead, Mulan goes in his place.
  18. In the Disney movie, Mulan has a dog called ‘little brother’ as a nod to this.
  19. Jackie Chan voices Shang in the Chinese release.
  20. This is the only Disney animated film to use the phrase ‘cross-dresser’
  21. The film was almost rated PG because of the use of this phrase.
  22. Mulan was originally planned to be an animated short called China Doll which would tell the story about an oppressed and miserable Chinese girl who is whisked away by a British Prince Charming to happiness in the west.
  23. Robert D. San Souci suggested making a movie of the Chinese poem, ‘The Song of Fa Mu Lan’ and so the two projects were combined.
  24. Originally, Disney did not like the idea of having a Dragon as Mulans companion, believing it would be too big and menacing.
  25. Robert D. San Souci explained that in Chinese folklore, Dragons can be any size and so, a small dragon was approved
  26. The film is credited as launching the career of Christina Aguilera, whose first song to be released in the US was her cover of Reflection.
  27. Mulan was the first animated Disney film to feature an Asian heroine.
  28. Lea Salonga originally auditioned for the voice of Mulan but it was deemed ‘not deep enough’ for when Mulan was impersonating a soldier.
  29. Salonga was retained for the singing voice of Mulan.
  30. The titular character went on to be voiced by Ming-Na Wen.
  31. Disney animators were very keen to gain the support of the Chinese government, hoping it might smooth relations following the release of Kundun the year before.
  32. Mulan is one of only two Disney Princesses to wear pants.
  33. The tai chi form Mulans father begins before his leg injury interferes is Mulan Quan, a tai chi practice named after Mulan herself.
  34. Donny Osmond who sings several songs on the soundtrack noted that his children only ever thought he had made it in show business having worked in a Disney film.
  35. Bruce Willis was originally cast as Li Shang.
  36. Chi Fu’s name literally means ‘to bully’ in Chinese.
  37. In the scene where Mushu awakens the ancestors, one set of Grandparents worry that Mulan’s quest will ensure they lose their farm
  38. This couple appears to be the couple on the farm in Grant Wood’s famous painting American Gothic.
  39. A uncredited Barry Cook, one of the film’s directors, provides the man’s voice.
  40. The theme song in the opening credits, as well as the melody for Honour to Us All’ is the same tune Peter Pan plays on his pan flute in the Disney version of the movie,
  41. Both Mulan and her father were animated by the same team, supervised by Mark Henn, as this helped make them seem like they were related.
  42. Crickets are considered a symbol in good luck in China, hence the inclusion of one as a character.
  43. Mulan’s name means ‘wood orchid’ or ‘magnolia’.
  44. As such, magnolias serve as a running motif in the movie.
  45. Mushu says at one point, that he wanted to have an entourage which is a persistent joke during Eddie Murphy’s career was that he had a large entourage.
  46. The spot on Shang’s horse’s neck and rump are shaped like Mickey Mouse.
  47. In total, nearly 700 artists, animators and technicians worked on the film.
  48. Computer animators used the latest technology to add detail and mimic camera techniques that were previously unavailable in animation.
  49. For example, crowd scenes which included up to 30,000 people
  50. They used a computer program called ‘Atilla’ to make the sequence featuring 2000 Huns on horseback.
  51. When Mulan says ‘Chien-Po, get the emperor’, her mouth movements do not match what she is saying.
  52. Development first began in 1994 with Disney sending a select group of artistic supervisors to China for a three-week acclimatization and inspiration cure.
  53. The movies artistic supervisors spent this time sketching, photographing and soaking up the culture.
  54. Mulan writes with her left hand.
  55. The family names called out when the conscription notices are being handed out are actually names of Rita Hsiao’s childhood friends.
  56. Mushu spoofs Frankenstein’s monster when he first awakens by rising up from the smoke and yelling ‘I LIVE!’
  57. Harvey Fierstein was reluctant to voice a Chinee character due to strong feelings about giving more opportunities to Asian actors.
  58. He was assured that many true Asians were being cast as main character, so he agreed to play Yao.
  59. One of Mulan’s ancestors, the beheaded one, is known as Fa Deng who is named after the last President of the communist party before Zedong Mao.
  60. This film marked Jerry Goldsmith’s last Academy Award nomination.
  61. Ming-Na Wen was in her mid-thirties when she voiced the much-younger Mulan.
  62. When Mushu is suggesting names to Mulan, he mentions Ah Chew who was the name of a character played by Pat Morita who voices The Emperor.
  63. One of the beauty parlour ladies preparing Mulan for the matchmaker as drawn in the likeness of Rita Hsiao.
  64. When Mulan is chased in the camp and collides with the men standing in line to get their rice, rice flies out of the bowls of the men waiting in line.
  65. Eddie Murphy recorded his dialogue during the breaks of Holy Man.
  66. This was Eddie Murphy’s debut as a voice actor.
  67. It was also his only voice work outside of the Shrek films.
  68. Tia Carrere was the first choice to voice Mulan.
  69. After the departure of Jeffrey Katzenberg in 1994, the story was infused with a lighter touch and handed over to the fairly new Florida unit.
  70. At one point, Stephen Schwartz was lined up to be the lyricist for the film.
  71. When he couldn’t do it, the job went to David Zippel who had been working on Hercules.
  72. Real life martial artists Mimi Chan and George Kee did the martial arts fights and choreography for the characters Mulan and Shang
  73. Chan was discovered by Mark Henn while performing for the animation team in Orlando.
  74. He then used her as a model for Mulan.
  75. Helen Hunt was considered for the role of Mulan.
  76. Mushu was animated by director Tony Bancroft’s twin brother, Tom Bancroft.
  77. Some footage of the Forbidden City is recycled from the Whole New World’ musical number from Aladdin, albeit with adjustments
  78. The song Reflection was meant to be much longer but the filmmakers wanted to save time in the movie.
  79. In the deleted version, Mulan not only takes off her bun, makeup and jewellery but also her sashes.
  80. The delete version also shows Mulan riding Khan through mountains and a swamp.
  81. As of 2016, this is the last film in the Walt Disney Animation studios canon where voice actor Frank Welker received an onscreen credit for providing the animal vocal effects.
  82. When Mulan sleeps in before her first morning of training, Mushu wakes her up proclaiming, ‘Rise and shine Sleeping Beauty’ which is of course a nod to the Disney Classic of the same name.
  83. The scene at the end of the movie where Mulan disarms Shan-Yu with a fan is an actual martial arts technique.
  84. The rocket Mushu straps himself to in the climax says ‘weixan’ in Chinese which translates to danger or dangerous.
  85. Likenesses of the directors Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook appear as the firework attendants frightened by Mushu in the climax.
  86. Mulan’s horse Khan is referred to by name only twice in the entire film.
  87. The first time is when Mushu asks him for a ride, which he promptly refuses and the second is when Mulan decides to return home after saving the Emperor.
  88. All of Mulans dresses in the film have a blue bodice and a red sash.
  89. This is possibly due to show that, despite being forced to change her appearance, she stays true to herself throughout the movie.
  90. At the end of the film, whilst playing the drums, Crickee wars sunglasses just like Stevie Wonder who sang True to Your Heart with 98 Degrees.
  91. When Ling loses his teeth after getting punched in the face, you see him later with all of his teeth back.
  92. It took five years to make Mulan.
  93. During the avalanche, Mulans helmet and Shangs horse disappear but are both seen later in the film.
  94. Mulan awards, by far, the Disney highest ‘on screen’ body count sine the avalanche implies the deaths of thousands of Huns, leaving only a few survivors.
  95. It is also the first Disney movie to show multiple dead bodies during the scene at the Tung Shao Pass.
  96. Mulan was supposed to appear as a young child in the original script for the film but it was deleted because animators felt people would just think Mulan wanted to be as soldier as a childhood interest and not to save her father.
  97. During the trek to the pass and during the battle, the number of soldiers increases and decreases multiple times.
  98. Mulans opening weekend box office figures were $22.8 million, placing it as the second highest grossing movie that week.
  99. The film went on to make $304 million worldwide.
  100. When Mulan reads the Final Admonition off her arm, it is written in simplified Chinese; a language that was not created until the 1950s.


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