2. Mulan (1998)
Mulan is probably my favourite Disney ‘princess’. She is tough, stands up for herself, is selfless and witty, and goes through the story fighting to protect her family and country, not chasing after a boy. Huzzah! As you can see, the list has missed out a lot of films people would deem as Disney ‘classics’ such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but the all the women in those films are victims of circumstance with little fighting and charismatic personalities. It sounds like I’m heading towards a feminist rant, but I’m not, I just like women in films to be more than simply functional. Mulan as a story is daring and dark, with the villain Shan Yu is particularly cruel. The image of an innocent doll he holds in his hand is haunting, exploiting the doll to instigate burning down a village in hate and anger. Again, the comedy relief of Mushu, the scrawny little red dragon, balances the darker elements. He is instantly likable, being direct and out-going. The first exchange between Mulan and Mushu sets up their relationship, “my ancestors send me a little lizard?”, “hey! Dragon. *Dra-gon*, not lizard. I don't do that tongue thing”, to be one of banter. Again, this balanced is perfectly struck and places Mulan as an original Disney classic.