There's a 15 minute Making-Of Featurette which has interviews with the main cast (including Mulan herself) talking about the various characters and getting into the roles, the Director discussing how you shouldn't prepare too much for the role (I guess his is the opposite of the method acting mentality then) and the creators talking about the motivations in the story. I'm not sure what movie they were watching but it can't have been the same one. As we get all of these interviews we also have plenty of final film footage, as well as the merest hint of b-roll behind the scenes shots.
The Cast Interviews total a whopping 40 minutes, with the main cast members and the Director again talking about the characters and ideas behind the movie - only in more detail. These appear to be the longer versions of the segments culled for the Making-Of, although they are split into soundbites alternating between the various individuals.
The 30-minute Behind the Scenes Featurette appears to have been shot on location (using a strange, slightly spherical 4:3 framing) and has the various cast and crew members preparing for the movie, practising horseriding, costumes, choreographing fight scenes, fooling around on set and taking direction on what they should do. At least it is all behind the scenes footage (with no final film padding) but you'll probably get tired of the lack of direction pretty quickly as it all appears to have been thrown together in one big... montage.
There's nearly 25 minutes of Deleted Footage, further expanding on Mulan's childhood, her father's illness, her training within the Army and her relationship with her troops and her love interest. There's nothing wildly standout here (we even get some incomplete effects shots) although since it's almost all set within the first third of the movie, perhaps some of it could have been used to make the final film a little more fluid and a little less 'bitty'.
We also get the Theatrical Trailer and a 'Video' for the movie theme song which plays out over the end credits (and the theme of which can be heard throughout). There's nothing wrong with the theme, it works perfectly fine for the film, but I'm not sure the worth of the extra. As is, the song plays out almost in its entirety on the credits, and all we get here is the full version playing to a montage of clips from the movie. Redundant.
Mulan is a bit of a missed opportunity to create a decent, authentic, live-action vision of China's most celebrated folklore heroine. Lacking direction, the decent cast simply bring nothing to the underdeveloped characters and, after an hour of set-up 'montage', you just don't care about them enough to care what happens to them in the end. And Vicki Zhao as Mulan? Bad choice. At least pick a girl who could pass for an effeminate boy, as it's a pretty big plot-hole when the story centres on her ability to convince a whole Army of men that she is not a woman. On Blu-ray we get decent but far from exceptional video and audio, as well as a nice - if poor quality - set of extra features that all sport English subs. Fans of the film should consider it a decent enough release, but those who are only familiar with the Disney interpretation might want to consider just a rental - or just watch Disney's own DTV sequel. Or wait for a decent live-action Mulan to be made.
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