Mulan is my second favourite Disney Princess film, (after Beauty and the Beast). The animation is beautiful, the plot is funny, with absolutely no plot holes (very rare those) and casting Eddie Murphy as Mushu. I swear it is one of the best casting choices Disney has ever made, (just saying).
The movie is chock full of strange little details and important throw away lines. So, in lieu of the upcoming film (I’m still pissed that it is not a musical) I shall write a list on the details that I found interesting (No I won’t make some sort of reference to “Be a man”. I’ve done it twice already).
Mulan is left-handed
The last time I watched the movie, I realised that Mulan is left-handed. You can see it when we are first introduced to our heroine who is writing notes on her arm. Usually I wouldn’t think twice, but the fact that she is a Chinese girl in an age of tradition rings a few bells. Lets just have a quick history lesson:
Through out history, being left-handed was a social stigma. Many religions believe that being left-hand is” unclean”, as that is the hand that one would clean ones self after using the bathroom. In Christianity, the left hand side was associated with the Devil
In European and Asian culture, anything associated to left-handedness was and still is considered unlucky. Children are forced to learn to write with their right hand. In fact one of my friends had this forced onto her.
I just find it interesting that Disney choose that for her. I believe it is a subtle message to show how out-of-place she really is. And maybe that is why she is considered unlucky.
*Sorry if I ruin anyone’s childhood
Nearing the end of the movie, Mulan and her friends come disguised as concubines to enter the palace and fool the guards. You know, when they dress like this:
(I still think it is hilarious that “Be a Man” was playing in the back ground).
For those not in the know, a concubine refers to a woman who is unmarried an lives with a high-ranking man, and they are there for his pleasure.
So do you know what this means. This guy:
This sweet damn emperor…
whom you all thought as a kind ol’ grandfather, has sex slaves! That’s right! I mean it wasn’t uncommon for the rulers in the East to have concubines, but seriously Disney! (Although I have to give them kudos for that). What if the children ask what a concubine is and the parents have to have the awkward conversation with the birds and the bees. But most references went over their heads. I mean they said “cross-dresser’ and ‘drag show’ within ten minutes of each other (but lets be real they probably heard ‘porcupines’ so…)!
No this isn’t a jab at the fact that she has both parents, a grandma and all of her ancestors in her back yard, but the fact that her parents are accepting of who she is. Not many parents were like that in those days.
And the fact that she has an grandma figure. I have noticed with princesses who are of colour, they all have a an older mother figure. In Princess and the Frog, there is Grandma Odie, in Moana, there is Moana’s grandmother, in Pocahontas there is Grandmother Willow. This doesn’t seem to happen in other movies. In fact in movies like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, being old denotes evil, while young and beautiful is good. I know most of these cultures respect their elders. I just thought it is something that I should just mention it.
***I know this is a short post but I will add things as I go along.