I've chosen the 2020 Mulan film as my first family film, because it is one of those universal stories, loved by most. Unfortunately, I didn't find out that this new film is technically NOT a family movie - it has been labelled as an action movie - until after I watched it, but I am determined to forge ahead anyway! I'm sure you won't care.
Before writing this, I didn't know that the story of Mulan is based on a folk ballad out of China. The 'Ballad of Mulan' comes from the Northern Wei Dynasty of China, originating sometime around the 4th or 5th century, and tells the story of a girl who takes the place of her dad in the war, by dressing as a man. She serves with distinction and after many years returns home, with honour and gifts from the Emperor. As her family prepares a feast to welcome her home, she changes her clothes and makes up her face and hair, greeting her fellow soldiers who had no idea they had been fighting beside a woman for so many years.
In China, Mulan is a tale used to encourage girls to be brave - Mulan is essentially, slang for heroine or warrior.
And although historians can't agree on whether the 'Tale of Mulan' is based on a real person, the story of Mulan has been retold numerous times over the centuries, with various adaptations including the 1998 animated version and the 2020 real-life version, both from Disney.
So how are these two movies different - apart from the animation… and all the singing. Come on!!
In the animated version, Mulan is depicted as clumsy and awkward. When she goes off to war it takes time for her to learn how to become a skilled fighter. That is not how the real-life version is depicted. Instead, Mulan 2020 has powerful Chi - the vital life force or energy flow we all possess. But as a girl, Mulan has to repress her Chi or she will bring dishonour to her family. It is only as she trains, and then in battle, that Mulan allows herself to access her Chi and become the powerful and skilful fighter that she was always destined to be.
The other major difference is there is no weird Eddie Murphy voiced dragon flying around causing trouble and mischief. Instead, Mulan is looked after by the ancestorial Phoenix, guiding her quietly from above.
The movie opens with a young Mulan skilfully wielding a staff as her father's voice-over wrestles with how to tell her that only a son could have such strong Chi and that she could risk shame, dishonour and exile just by being a girl.
I tell you what - google is telling me that western civilisation invented apartment living in the mid-1800's, but this movie has the Hua family living in this massive round three-story apartment type structure, very fort-like actually, where scores of families live. Mulan lives with her mum, dad and sister - another departure from the animation - they swapped out a loony gran for a younger sister.
Let's get some introductions happening:
- Liu Yifei also known as Crystal Liu - plays Mulan. Yifei has acted primarily in Chinese TV and movies. She was in The Forbidden Kingdom and Outcast.
- Tzi Ma - plays an older Dad, a war hero who was injured in a previous conflict and now walks with a cane. Ma is a seasoned actor who we've seen in the Rush Hour movies, Skyscraper and TV series Hell on Wheels.
- Rosalind Chao - plays an older Mum, seriously she's like 60yo. Rosalind is best known for her recurring role on TV series Star Trek - Next Generation and Deep Space Nine
Everyone lives on top of everyone else - your business is not your own. As Mulan rounds up the chooks for the night, she does so with abandon, knocking over and breaking things - including knocking the wing off the sacred Phoenix statue guarding the Ancestorial Shrine. And the chook is giving zero fucks as it ends up on the roof of this three-story structure, with Mulan not far behind. By the time the chook takes itself into its pen, Mulan has shown the entire village that she has mega Chi-skills, as she triple-pikes her way to the ground. Her father's proud smile gives way as the villagers shake their heads disapprovingly.
Mulan's mum lays it out to her dad - Mulan will bring shame on the family if the Match-Maker can't find a match. What man wants a wife who chases after the chooks on the roof? The villagers will call her a witch. Mulan needs to calm-the-fuck down.
And so, as Mulan tries to fix the wing of the broken Phoenix, her father tells her that it is time for her to hide her Chi and to bring honour to her family.
We switch to the Silk Road - some idiot trader and his camels are out in the middle of some sand dunes when he sees a woman out for a stroll, and through some brilliant editing her shadow merges with his. She is The Witch - played by Gong Li, regarded as one of China's greatest actors. She was in Memoirs of a Geisha - this chick is 55yo!! I need to speak to her beauty therapist.
The trader|witch has made his way into a little outpost - it's in a fortress and is protected by the Imperial Army. It's also under attack by the Huns. All 13 of them. Ambitious. They're led by Khan - played by Jason Scott Lee, best known for his role in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
Khan - who is showing some mad skills as an arrow catcher - is intent on destroying the kingdom of China and killing the Emperor in retaliation for killing his father. And as the soldier's fire upon the Huns, the trader|witch throws some spices in the air and The Witch magically reappears. She starts throwing around some ninja throwing-stars, and takes out some soldiers from inside the fortress - she's trojan-horsed herself in.
Well played witch. Well played.
HOLY SHIT!! These Huns have just launched themselves from their horses and are running up the walls! Gravity does not exist for the Huns! It doesn't take long for the entire outpost to be wiped out. By 13 Huns. Not so ambitious after all…
The Witch does her witchy-poo shit again and enters the body of the last soldier, and goes to the Imperial City in Central China to tell the Emperor what has happened.
Ok Emperor - the news is grim. Six fortresses have been wiped out by the Huns - those 13 guys have been busy! Trade along the Silk Road is coming to a screeching halt. If they don't do something, it could be the end of the kingdom.
Hang on - the soldier|witch is boasting that the Huns are only winning because they have a witch on their side - boast much? - and she has trained a team of Shadow Warriors. Ahh - the vertical thing! Well, the Emperor couldn't give a fuck about The Witch and his decree is simple:
- We will build a mighty army
- Every family will provide one man to this army
- We will protect our people
- We will crush the murderous Huns!
And as he deployed the Imperial Army - "… the dynasty will not be threatened!", the soldier|witch is seen walking down the steps of the Imperial City - bloody hell there are a lot of steps - before he/she ducks down an alley and morphs back into The Witch, and then into an eagle, within the space of two seconds. She flies away.
The Huns army - thank Christ there are more than 13 of them - are in camp and the eagle flies in to Khan's bungalow. The Witch and Khan have a little catch-up - we hear the usual war shit about laying waste to everything - before The Witch takes exception to being called a witch. With her talon's around Khan's throat, she demands to be called a warrior. He calmly reminds her that without him she would be exiled… nothing but a discarded dog.
Hmm. Ok then.
Back to Mulan. She has grown into a beautiful, exuberant young lady. She's been out riding her horse and comes home to the news that the Match-Maker has found her a hubby. That's one way to fuck up a perfectly nice day.
We then get a very quick lesson in what it takes to doll up - Chinese style. There are layers of finely-embroidered clothes; thick white face paint/powder; colourful symbols on the face; red cheeks; cupid-red lips; hair tied-up in stylish knots and set with beautiful combs. She looks exquisite!
Fun Fact: As Mulan 2020 wasn't a musical the composer Harry Gregson-Williams made sure the film's score reflected the heritage of the story. He included chinese instruments in the orchestra - for example the guzheng, a range of Chinese flutes, a pipa, a Chinese violin called erhu, and percussion instruments such as gongs, bells and cymbals.
Mulan, her mum and sister make their way to the Match-Maker and the proposed mother-in-law, through the village centre - everyone knows where they are going. Dad is SO proud! And as Mulan pours out some tea - highly ceremonious - a rather large spider drops down, right in front of her sister's face. Now we all know that her sister hates spiders - we learnt that at the beginning of the film. Yeah - my bad.
So, Mulan moves the teapot and places it on top of the spider - very surreptitiously.
** Edit: Ah yes - so my cousin Paul won't know what surreptitiously means. It's when you do something quietly, slyly, sneakily; so people won't notice what you're doing. Right, he should get that.**
But the Match-Maker is being a real bitch and wants the teapot back into the middle of the table - don't talk back to her Mulan! But when you lift a boiling hot container off a creature, that creature is going to EXPLODE out from under it - right towards the Match-Maker's face. People start screaming, the table is flipped over, the teapot and teacups are launched into the air… Mulan grabs her hair chopsticks, and catches all of the crockery - a foot was involved - before overbalancing and the whole lot smashes into the ground.
Mulan has brought shame and dishonour to the family.
Match-Maker: Dishonour to the Hua family. They have failed to raise a good daughter!
As Mulan and her family, heads held down in shame, head back through the village to their apartment, the Emperor's emissary turns up. He announces that the country is under attack, it is at war and every family has to provide one man for the army. Mulan's dad casts aside his walking stick and limps forward to get his papers.
Isn't he too fucked up to serve?
Tensions are high around the Hua family dinner table that night! They all know that if dad goes off to war, he will not come back. As the father, it is HIS duty to bring honour to the family on the battlefield - honour that his daughter was unable to bring to the family via marriage. Dad is seriously pissed off.
That is one fucked-up system.
Later that night as Dad gets out his armour and sharpens his sword, he and Mulan have a chat about what it means to be 'loyal, brave and true' - symbols engraved on his sword. They are attributes one must have to serve in the Emperor's Imperial Army. As dad heads off to bed, Mulan stays behind and has a think... plays around with her dad's sword for a bit…
And then Mulan armours up, says a prayer and leaves.
When she's found out the next morning, there's nothing they can do - if Mulan's deceit it uncovered, she will be executed. She's all but fucked.
So, dad beseeches the ancestors - and the honoured Phoenix - to look out for Mulan.
Who at this point is out of food and seems to be lost. She's done the Contiki tour of China - seen all the scenery - but hasn't as yet come across the Imperial Army. And then the Phoenix arrives - and shows her the way.
Mulan's first contact with her fellow recruits does not go well.
- First, she is knocked to the ground
- She overreacts to being called a "little man" and pulls her sword on The Hunk
- The Commander berates her for being an idiot
- She walks into her barracks to see naked and semi-naked men - she freaks out
Luckily for Mulan, she avoids going for a group shower by volunteering for nightly guard duty. Only after everyone is asleep can Mulan safely enter her barracks, remove the bindings around her chest and go to sleep.
She is going to be one very tired, very pongy young lady.
Right. Boot-camp has begun!! The Sergeant, has to get some pesky rules out of the way.
We're going to make men out of every single one of you!
- Stealing - penalty: death
- Desertion - penalty: death
- Bringing women into camp or consorting with women in any way - penalty: death
- Dishonesty - penalty: expulsion, disgrace. Disgrace for you; disgrace for your family; disgrace for your village; disgrace for your country
You can imagine the rather uncomfortable look Mulan has on her face as The Sergeant goes through his list.
I have been neglect in my intro's:
- The Commander - played by Donnie Yen, one of Hong Kong's top action stars. Apart from being an actor, director, producer, action choreographer and stuntman Donnie is a multiple-time world Wushu tournament champion. For those of us who don't know, Wushu is a form of martial arts.
- The Sergeant - played by Ron Yuan, who is also a martial artist as well as a very busy voice actor, action director and stunt choreographer. He is best known for his TV role on Golden Boy and his voice can be heard on such video games as Call of Duty, Star Wars, Mortal Kombat, World of Warcraft and Resident Evil. Quite the voice there Ron!
There's the usual training montage - recruits in a grid doing their ninja moves and bashing into each other; arrows that don't reach their target; trying to carry water buckets up a mountain; Mulan trying to avoid the pitfalls of living amongst a group of men.
And she still hasn't had a shower.
Remember I said that this film is different from the animated film - in this one Mulan already has the moves - she just has to allow herself to use them? Well, here she goes!
The recruits are in their grid doing the standard ninja moves against an opponent, but Mulan keeps stuffing up and getting her staff knocked out of her hands. And she's getting mad. It's not that she can't do it - she just can't do the moves they want… she's a freestyler! So, when The Hunk kicks her staff towards her, she says stuff it and starts doing some major moves that aren't on the prescribed reading list. As she battles The Hunk the others gather around them - and when The Sergeant moves to intercede, The Commander holds him back. The two put on a good fight - but it's Mulan's acrobatics that steal the show.
And as she realises what she has done, she storms off into her barracks:
Mulan: You idiot! Everyone sees it. You must hide your Chi!!
Her posse follow her into the barracks - they think Mulan is awesome! Until they get a whiff or her - for the love of Christ Mulan, have a fucking shower!
So, in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep, Mulan goes down to the lake, strips off and finally rinses off some dirt. And just as she's relaxing, The Hunk turns up, gets naked and swims up to her. He's being all friendly and congenial, wants to chat about today's fight, and she just wants to keep him away from her naked self. The problem is dear reader, Mulan has the hots for The Hunk, which is a bit of a problem when you're pretending to be a dude and you're both currently naked and 1m apart. So Mulan does the only thing she can do… she behaves like a first-class bitch.
Not cool Mulan. Not cool.
The next day Mulan is asked to report to The Commander - she thinks she's been discovered - but as he speaks, he talks of her powerful Chi - why is she hiding it?
The Commander: The Chi obeys the universe and all living things - we are all born with it. But only the most true, will connect deeply with his Chi and become a great warrior… tranquil with the forest, but on fire within
The last time Mulan was at peace with her Chi was as a girl - so we montage between her ninja moves in the rice fields as a girl, and her ninja moves in the moonlight by the lake.
And like all good action movies - just before the new recruits go off to war there is always one who passes the ultimate challenge. In this instance, it's carrying the buckets of water to the top of the mountain - something only Mulan achieves.
It's time we looked at the Huns - they've hit another fortress. This time the laws of physics have been defied by The Witch's sleeves - these sleeves can grab a man from 6m away, throw him into the air before slamming him into the ground; they even break a few necks. Outstanding!
The Huns have destroyed so many fortresses, Mulan's garrison doesn't have time to finish their training - they have to get out there and help. They line up to take the Oath of the Warrior, pledging fidelity to the three pillars of virtue:
Loyal… Brave… True
And as the soldiers around Mulan pledge their oath, Mulan falters on the last virtue - how can she pledge to be true when she is lying to them?
Mulan's garrison march off towards the nearest garrison. That night as they make camp, Mulan goes to have a chat with The Commander. She tries to tell him her secret - but he thinks she is worried about being afraid ahead of battle… something he himself can attest to. And before Mulan can say anything further The Commander proposes that one day, Mulan might marry his daughter - a great honour indeed. How the hell can she tell him now??
The next day, Mulan's garrison come across their fellow soldiers - the garrison they had come out to help. They're all dead - their heads on spikes. Mulan's garrison will now face the Huns the next day - greatly outnumbered. As Mulan and her posse sit around a campfire that night, they are fearful for their fate - but Mulan tries to assure them:
Mulan: My father once said there is no courage without fear … so this is natural. We will live - I guarantee it. Because I will protect you - we will protect each other; we will fight for each other.
The battle begins! As the two groups get stuck into it, the 13 Shadow Warriors break away from the main group and turn back. Where the fuck do they think they're going? Mulan and six others give chase!
The stunt guys do some awesome horse tricks to turn around and face the other way - you should see it!
Arrows are fired, people are killed. Mulan pulls some Matrix-style tricks to move out of the arrow's way. In the end Mulan is the only Imperial Soldier left - the others are either dead or they've chicken-shitted it and left her for dead. For a brief moment she thinks of retreating too… but fuck it - she's Mulan!
And then in some really piss-poor cinematic continuity, Mulan has gone from chasing 12 Shadow Warriors on the flat plains - yeah one was killed - my bad. She's now in a misty mountain pass, on a sulphuric-type of crusted-over lake, and that eagle is circling above. The Shadow Warriors have disappeared. The bird knocks Mulan from her horse, and The Witch appears. As they start to battle The Witch calls out Mulan on her deceit and tells her it weakens her - it poisons her Chi. Interesting… The Witch is bashing Mulan all over the place and keeps asking her what her name is - and each time Mulan lies.
So, The Witch kills her.
But the ninja throwing-star that The Witch chucks at Mulan's heart, lodges in the thick strapping around Mulan's chest - stopping the weapon from hitting her body. Mulan's been knocked out, and when she comes to, three things happen:
- She sees the Phoenix - Mulan has been reborn
- She sees the inscriptions on her father's sword - loyal… brave… TRUE
- She rids herself of the man she was pretending to be
Mulan can finally let her full Chi shine through.
As the eagle circles above, Mulan re-joins the battle. She has no armour; her hair flows freely and in her red clothes, she stands out. She's also throwing down like a true warrior. When the Huns realise this female warrior is slaying them, they run from her - she must be a witch!
Fun Fact: The battle scenes for Mulan were filmed in New Zealand! Stunt teams were brought in from all over the world.
But the Huns haven't gone far! They have a catapult that they're getting ready to fire on Mulan's garrison. And what is the garrison up to? Well, the eagle has turned into hundreds of swallows which are dive bombing the soldiers. They've clumped themselves into groups with their shields all around them, trying to… well shield themselves! Which makes them an easy target for the great big motherfucker of a boulder about to be launched at them.
And Mulan? Well, she's watching on. She see's the first fiery boulder hit and EXPLODE one clump of soldiers. Mulan does a quick calc, and as she whistles for her horse, another boulder hits. She rides towards the mountains, gathering helmets as she rides. Hiding behind some rocks at the base of the mountain, with the helmets perched on the rocks, Mulan fires on the Huns. Thinking the enemy is behind them, the Huns turn the catapult and hurl a boulder toward the mountain.
The mountain covered in snow.
The ensuing avalanche wipes out the Hun army. Mulan's garrison does a runner - they have more time to get out of the way. But The Hunk gets caught in the sea of snow and as Mulan rides past on her horse, she reaches down and pulls him to safety.
As the snow-cloud clears, Mulan comes face to face with The Commander. It's time for her to face her deceit.
Mulan: I'm Hua Mulan - forgive me
The Commander: You are an imposter! You've betrayed the regiment. You've brought disgrace to the Hua family… your deceit is my shame!
The Sergeant: Commander - what is the punishment assigned to this imposter?
The Commander: Expulsion!
Mulan: I would rather be executed.
The Commander: From this moment forward, you are expelled from the Emperor's Imperial Army. If you show your face again, your wish to be executed will be granted.
Mulan walks away in disgrace. Now, she's done some more Contiki-touring because the next time we see Mulan she's on top of some extraordinary looking red sedimentary-looking mountains - holy shit, when can I go to China?? She's having a bit of sob-fest when the eagle flies in - and The Witch tells Mulan she can never go home. What a bitch!
But hang on - The Witch is trying to have a deep-and-meaningful type of chat with Mulan, telling her what it's like to be a woman with too much Chi - too much power. And whist The Witch is asking Mulan to join forces with her, Mulan realises that Khan and his Shadow Warriors did not run away from today's battle - they gave gone to the Imperial City to kill the Emperor! The attacks on the fortresses and the garrisons along the Silk Road are only a distraction! Crap!!
Mulan goes back to her garrison - with her guardian Phoenix flying overhead - knowing full-well that she faces execution. She tells The Commander that Khan is too far ahead and their garrison won't catch them - but a small group might…
Mulan: … when employed correctly, four ounces can move a thousand pounds
The Commander: Only a foolish man would listen to someone whose very existence is a lie
The Hunk: You would believe Hua Jun - why do you not believe Hua Mulan? She risked everything by revealing her true identity - she's braver than any man here! She's the best warrior amongst us
Posse #1: I believe Hua Mulan Posse #2: I believe Hua Mulan Posse #3: I believe Hua Mulan Posse #4: I believe Hua Mulan Posse #5: I believe Hua Mulan Posse #6: I believe Hua Mulan
The Commander: Hua Mulan - your actions have brought disgrace and dishonour to this regiment, to this kingdom, and to your own family. Your loyalty and bravery are without question… You will lead us as we ride to the Imperial City
So, Mulan and nine of her garrison rides out, under the protective eye of the Phoenix.
Ahead of them, Khan and his Shadow Warriors parkour their way into the Imperial City, while The Witch witchy-poos herself into the Emperors chief-of-staff. The chief-of-staff|witch lures the Emperor into going to the new under-construction palace to fight the Khan one-on-one. He/she then orders every guard to assemble in the one place - noone will be guarding the city!
As the Emperor arrives at the new palace, the eight warriors he brought with him are taken out - he's all alone. Lucky he's Jet Li - wait, did I not mention that Jet Li is playing the Emperor? My bad. Well, Jet Li is the definition of martial arts fighting in movies - you best watch out Khan!
Yep! The laws of physics are under attack again as the Emperor uses a long piece of cloth to fuck-up a few Shadow Warriors! But he's no match for six or seven warriors who manage to circle him with rope and macrame him up nice and tight - stringing him up just like a Sunday roast.
As Mulan, The Commander and her posse arrive, they have to fight Khan's men to get to the Emperor! There is a convenient narrow passage so we can see how ninja warriors are all able to walk on walls. And as Mulan races ahead of her posse - now locked within that narrow passage - she races up 1000 bloody steps, bursts into the Emperor's throne-room, only to find The Witch sitting on the throne!
What the fuck?
As Mulan demands to know where the Emperor is, The Witch is intent on another deep-and-meaningful! It's not fair!! The young Mulan, who has been accepted by her peers and led her army into the Imperial City versus the older witch, who laments that she will never be accepted by anyone. Mulan tries to bring The Witch back from the dark-side - will it work? The Witch transforms and flies off. Is she leading Mulan to the Emperor?
It's Mulan's turn to parkour her way across the roofs of the Imperial City as she follows the eagle. She is on her way to the new under-construction palace.
In the meantime, Khan is pissed off to learn that the new palace is being built in honour of the Emperor's father. He's waffling on - where are the "… sons of the empire?" who should be guarding the Emperor, cause they sure as fuck aren't there!
But hang on - The Witch has flown in. And she's led Mulan right to them!
Khan: Why are you here?
The Witch: The attack has met fierce resistance… (from) a young woman, from a small village.
Khan: (sneers) A girl!
The Witch: A woman… a warrior. A woman leads the army, and she's no soiled-dog.
Khan: (see's Mulan) You lead her here!
And as Khan fires an arrow at Mulan, The Witch transforms into the eagle and cops the arrow right in the breast. As she falls into Mulan's arms, mortally wounded, The Witch tells Mulan to "… take your place…". And she dies.
The Khan, thinking that Mulan is dead, doesn't notice when she creeps in and starts to make her way to the Emperor. As she climbs up the scaffold - yes, they had bamboo scaffolds back then - Khan hears her and the chase is on.
Look, I'm not going to be able to describe this adequately. There are all sorts of acrobatics going on; the Khan is sneering all over the place at having to fight a little girl; somehow Mulan seems to have the same amount of brute force as the Khan - and he can't believe it!
But the unthinkable has happened! Mulan has dropped her father's sword and it has fallen into a vat of molten metal below. It is destroyed!! It's also very dramatic - the last bit to go in… very sloowwwly… was the engraving:
Loyal… brave… true
What the fuck is she going to do now?
Emperor: Rise up! You are a mighty warrior. Rise up like a phoenix. Fight for the kingdom and its people!
And, in a very nice piece of cinematography, the Phoenix rises up behind Mulan as she squares up to Khan. Bring. It. On.
There's a lot of balancing on the end of bamboo shoots, triple-piking hither and thither. Until Mulan and Khan end up on a beam - like a see-saw - suspended in mid-air.
**Edit: Yep - I'll need to explain to my cousin Paul what 'hither and thither' means. In this instance it means she's jumping all over the place in many different directions. He should understand that.**
But this is Mulan people and she is one powerful warrior! Somehow, she disarms him and in one fell swoop, she cuts the rope holding the beam in place. As it falls, Mulan grabs the rope and watches as Khan falls to the ground.
She races to the Emperor and starts to free him. Below, although his body is all mangled, Khan reaches for a bow and arrow and fires at the Emperor who catches it in his hand! The Emperor then tosses the arrow into the air, Mulan does a somersault and kicks the arrow back down to Khan, who also catches it!
What the fuck??!!!
But wait - he hasn't caught it!!! Mulan's kick was too powerful and the arrow went straight through to his heart. Khan is dead!
The Imperial City is in full celebration! Mulan is introduced to the Emperor and his Court, and is invited to join the Emperor's Guard - something a woman has never done before! But she declines - she needs to go home.
Fun Fact: Ming-Na Wen who introduces Mulan to the Emperor and his Court, was the voice of the animated Mulan in 1998. Wen is well known from ER, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and Mandalorian.
And as Mulan heads out of the city, The Hunk stops her. Now, being a Disney film, we're all expecting an embrace… a kiss. But this is Mulan 2020! Yes, you can see that they love each other, and will see each other again, but for now this warrior has to get home.
They'll get together in the sequel.
In record time, Mulan has made it home. As she rides in and greets her family, the villagers look on - some with disdain… the Match-Maker among them. Mulan asks her father for forgiveness:
Mulan: Can you forgive me father? I stole your horse… I stole your sword… I stole your armour. And the sword - I lost it! The sword is gone. Now I understand how much that sword means to you
Dad: It is my daughter that means everything to me… and it is I who should apologise. My foolish pride drove you away. One warrior knows another… you were always there - yet I see you for the first time...
As they embrace, the Emperor's Guard turns up - The Commander and The Sergeant with them. Dad thinks they're there to discipline Mulan and he throws down - they'll have to go through him first!! But they have come with a gift for Mulan, from the Emperor!
The Sergeant: Under order of his Imperial Majesty the Emperor, we present this gift for Hua Mulan. She has saved the dynasty! The entire kingdom is in her debt!
The villager's gasp; the Match-Maker feints! Mulan opens an ornate box, and reaches for a beautiful sword.
The Commander: She has brought honour to her ancestors; to her family; to her village and to her country
The Sergeant: As befits a great warrior the sword is marked with the pillars of virtue:
Dad: Loyal… brave… true
As Mulan pulls out the sword, her father sees a fourth marking...
Dad: What is this fourth virtue I see?
The Commander: Read it aloud Mulan
Mulan: Devotion to family
Mulan is again asked to join the Emperor's Royal Guard, alongside the country's greatest decorated warriors. This time, she doesn't answer.
Disney is waiting to see what kind of box-office takings they get before they decide if they'll make a sequel.