**/**** Image B+ Sound A Extras B-
screenplay by Rita Hsiao, Christopher Sanders, Philip LaZebnik, Raymond Singer & Eugenia Bostwick-Singer
directed by Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft
by Bill Chambers If Disney's animated features can be reduced to a stable of alternating boy movies and girl movies, then the studio's decision to make the cross-dressing fable Mulan at a juncture when they really needed mass approval (that is, after striking out post-Katzenberg with Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules) comes across as conspicuously non-partisan--and the hero's androgyny isn't the only bet-hedging the filmmakers practice. A meticulous recreation of Imperialist China, for instance, is compromised by anachronisms cultural and temporal (the eponymous Mulan (voice of Ming-Na Wen), a pre-Tang Dynasty Chinese maiden, is introduced to us wearing a tank top and what resemble capri pants; later, she is served bacon and eggs for breakfast), while musical numbers, subversive humour, and Spielbergian spectacle perpetually collide like bumper cars. The end-product is neither fish nor fowl, though it certainly leans towards foul.