Waiting around for a man to sweep her off her feet? Nope. Saving China? Yes.
Now, I've seen a lot of Disney movies. Heck, I own most of them. I grew up with them. I've also seen a lot of Disney princesses, ones who found true love at the end of their story. Maybe they were poisoned because they were beautiful, lost their glass slipper, or were put under a sleeping spell for 100 years... Y'know, typical princess mush. But wait, what about Fa Mulan? None of that ever happened to her. Then again, she did impersonate an Imperial soldier and defeat the Huns, in turn saving China. She's probably the coolest Disney female to ever grace their large lineup. When I was younger, I loved Aurora, Ariel, and Belle. Maybe it was my eight year old fascination of the love at first sight/happily ever after thing, but at that time, I thought they were the greatest. Now that I'm older and have a better understanding of reality, Mulan is obviously the best. She starts out as this free spirited young woman, which was frowned upon. According to her family, she hadn't learned her place. She spoke out, caused trouble, and just had a knack for doing things that caused mental cringe.
So then, the Huns invaded China, right? A man from every family in China must enter the war and fight. Mulan's dad is in poor health, and she fears for his life if he was to go into the war. What does she do? No, she doesn't sit around and cry (okay, for a few hours in the rain she did, but that's beside the point), she cuts off her hair, takes her father's uniform, and leaves for the war. Then Mushu arrives and wreaks havoc, but whatever. At first, she's really crappy at being a soldier... Like, really bad. Li Shang (have I mentioned I had a fictional crush on him? ...I still do) tells her "to pack, go home, she's through," but she ends up changing his mind about her when she climbs the pole and gets the arrow, a feat no other soldier had accomplished. From then on, the soldiers get better. Then Mushu fakes a letter and gets Mulan sent into war to become a hero, and she saves Shang's life, which was totally awesome. After suffering from an injury and getting medical treatment, everyone finds out she's a girl. Shang spares her life but leaves her in the mountains, where they just defeated the Huns and saved China... or so they thought. Mulan realizes the Huns are still alive and rushes back to the city to warn Shang. Of course, he wants nothing to do with her and ignores her warnings. But suddenly, the Huns are back and capture the emperor (should've listened, Shang), and Mulan gets the soldiers to listen and they basically defeat the Huns then and there. Mulan becomes the hero of China. Nice title to have.
And no, she doesn't marry Shang at the end... in fact, she doesn't even express her adoration. But that's totally fine, because they get married in Mulan 2.
Also, "I'll Make a Man Out of You" is one epic song.
What are your thoughts about Mulan and/or other Disney princesses? Who's your favorite?
Originally published on March 15, 2013.