Updated: Aug 1, 2022
I'm back with another Disney movie review. This time its the 2004 direct-to-video sequel of Mulan (find my review for that film HERE) which was released in 1998 and was a classic Disney film. The film was directed by Darrell Rooney and Lynne Southerland.
Does this sequel hold up against the original? In one word.... No. Mulan II is unfortunately inferior to the first film in every single way.
The plot of the sequel sees Mulan and General Li Shang getting engaged, but before they can wed they are sent on a special mission by the Emperor where they must escort his three daughters across China to Qui Gong to marry some princes in order to form an alliance with the neighbouring kingdom and prevent an attack from the Mongols. Along the way they will have to deal with Mushu trying to split them up as he is unhappy he would lose his pedestal if Mulan marries (as Shang's ancestors and guardians would take over).
The story on offer here is pretty poor compared to its predecessor, considering the first film had alot of action, this film is devoid of it except for one short bandit encounter, and that itself is just used to create probably the only shock moment in the film. The Mongols are spoken about as the next big enemy but do not actually show up, and the film seems to shift it's focus away from the main character of Mulan and puts it onto the three princesses who start to fall in love with Yao, Lin and Chien Po. There is alot of focus on arranged marriages, following your heart over your duty and things like that, but it's very shallow in comparison to the originals plot points.
Now lets get down to the look of the film, while its nowhere near the worst direct-to-video release in terms of visual quality, it still doesn't hold a candle to the crisp art style of the original. Gone are the smooth animations, replaced with the lower quality content found in the likes of Aladdin Return of Jafar and Little Mermaid 2.
While a large chunk of the cast return for Mulan II there are some major names missing this time around. Eddie Murphy doesn't reprise his role as Mushu, instead this role goes to Mark Moseley. To be fair Mark does a fantastic job at replicating Eddies voice and until I watched the credits I didn't have a clue he had been replaced. Looking into it Mark has gone on to voice Mushu across other shows and video games so he's actually done it much more than Eddie overall (funnily he also voices Donkey in a majority of the Shrek based video games too!). James Hong, Donny Osmond and Miriam Margolyes also don't return in the sequel either. The soundtrack also suffers compared to the original. Whilst Mulan had lots of memorable tracks, bar a redux of "A girl worth fighting for" the only other song of note is "Like other girls" and even that is nowhere as catchy as anything found prior. The lack of vocals from Donny Osmond is extremely noticeable.
Whilst it's nowhere near the worst output from Disney during their direct-to-video sequel years (looking at you Beauty and the Beast sequels!), Mulan II doesn't hold a candle to the original in any aspect. The plot is thin, the action sorely lacking and all the characters seem to have had major personality transplants to come across as the worst version of themselves. Couple this with the lack of decent songs to take the worries away as you watch makes this an hour and a half of your life you may regret. But hey, at least your kids may be entertained. TOTAL SCORE: 5.5/10
KIDS THOUGHTS: I really liked the bit where the princesses fell in love with the soldiers - Addison, 6
FUN FACTS: Eddie Murphy didn't return to the role of Mushu due to a clause in his Shrek 2 contract that forbade him from reprising the role.
A second sequel Mulan 3 was in development but was ultimately scrapped.