Franchise Weekend – Mulan (1998)

Director: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Writer: Rite Hsiao, Chris Sanders, Philip LaZbnik, Raymond Singer, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer (Screenplay) Robert D San Souci (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Pat Morita, Miguel Ferrer, BD Wong


Plot: To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process.

Tagline – This time, the princess saves the prince.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun, But Dark Adventure Film


Story: Mulan starts in ancient China with Shan-Yu and the invading Hun attack. Mulan is a young woman that hasn’t been following the traditions on the family, she isn’t ready to just be a bride, when her father is summoned to serve in the impending war, she wants to help, running away to fight in her father’s place. Spirit dragon Mushu is sent to be her guardian on this adventure, to return her safely, but Mulan has other plans.

Mulan sets out to join the army in her father’s place under the leadership on Captain Shang, in a hope to rebuild her family honour that she has disrespected.


Thoughts on Mulan


Characters – Mulan is a young woman, she has been raised to follow tradition, something she wants to break and taking her father’s place in the army shows the independence she wants to achieve. This is a strong anti-princess role which is something Disney broke the mould with. Mushu is the guardian dragon that needs to rescue and watch over Mulan, though he mostly just causes trouble for her. This character is here for all the laughs in the movie. Shan-Yu is the leader of the Hun that are attacking China, his armies are ruthless when it comes to battle, with him being a great and powerful warrior.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that wants to make a difference in a world where only men can become the leaders of the armies, she breaks tradition to make a difference and become great. This brings us the idea of breaking away from the tradition just because the people tell you follow that path. For Disney this movie broke their own traditions of have a princess in distress needing rescuing and now feels like the trailblazer it wanted to be.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure side of the film does give us real peril because it takes Mulan into a war battle which has taken lives of many, this could be slightly too dark for the whole family to enjoy too.

SettingsThe film brings us to Ancient China which brings us a new animated setting for an American movie, we have the mountain range which looks beautiful and the towers that show the empires built.

AnimationThe animation is the usual top notch from Disney never looking out of place for their level of excellency

Scene of the Movie –
Mountain range attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me For me Mushu got annoying after a while.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful animated movie that does show us the courage one woman showed to save her country against tradition.


Overall: Disney’s last good movie of the late 90s.




ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – G – The Grandmaster (2013)

Director: Kar-Wai Wong

Writer: Kar-Wai Wong, Jingzhi Zou, Haofeng Xu (Screenplay) Kar-Wai Wong (Story

Starring: Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Jin Zhang


Plot: The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.

Tagline –  In Martial Arts there is no right or wrong, only the last man standing.

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Just Watch IP Man


Story: The Grandmaster starts as we learn how the 40-year-old IP Man (Leung) life of luxury is turned upside due to the war in China, he loses everything including daughters to the effects, he moves onto Hong Kong to try to rebuild his life will being the excellent martial artists, we do follow a large amount of time in his life to get to where we do in the film.


Thoughts on The Grandmaster


Characters – IP man is the legend, arguable the greatest martial artist of all time, he trained Bruce Lee as his most famous student. This follows his life from riches, to rags and the rise of his dojo of training. We also follow Gong Er who wants to break boundaries in protecting her family’s honour and Ma San the man who uses his martial arts for evil in the world.

PerformancesThe performances here are fine, the fights between the different stars all click well making moments feel like edge of your seat, but after watching the IP Man I found those performances easier to connect too.

StoryThe story follows the life and times of IP Man, a legend in the martial arts field, we follow decades of his life which is fine, but it has been told before in three films, which gave them more time to develop the story. it feels like we gloss over too many moments that are much bigger in this life. The story just isn’t as interesting when it gets trimmed down this much.

Action/Biopic/Romance/WarThe action sequences are great fight sequences which is good to see, and they do feel brutal in effect. The biopic side of the story does seem to gloss over too much for us now we have a longer focus in the IP man films.

SettingsThe settings are fine throughout the film, they do seem darker than they need to be and quite often include rain for some reason.

Scene of the Movie –
Any of the fight scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact is that I have seen IP man films and this is the same story trimmed down.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic biopic on the IP man, you could watch the three and soon to be four films with Donnie Yen to get more in depth stories that this film covers in trimmed down time, the action won’t let you down though.


Overall: Solid enough, but not great.




Opinion Battles Year 4 Round 7 – Favourite 90s Animation

Opinion Battles Year 4 Round 7

Favourite 90s Animation

This is a previous years winner choice Kim selected us 90s animation, the 90s are one of the most important times for animation, we saw the true rise of Studio Ghibli in America, Pixar burst onto the scene and the decade started with Disney returning to their best, the question is though, what is our players favourites?

Next Round – Favourite Film from 2017

Closing Date 4th August 2018

Darren Movie Reviews 101

Lion King

Growing up in the 90’s gave me first cinema experiences, the first animated movie I saw was The Lion King, this is why I have picked this movie, I love the songs through the film, the character arc that Simba goes through in what film is all about and to use the African animals, the ones you can’t see anyway except a zoo was fascinating for me as a 7/8 year old. I feel this was the last solo Disney movie that could be considered a classic before they became part of the Pixar branch.

Milo – Stuff and That

The Nightmare Before Christmas

While whoever’s picked The Lion King has easily won this round, I had to pick this Christmas classic (and it IS a Christmas film dammit) simply because of it’s enchanting story and score, with some perfect visuals to go along with it.


Cinema Parrot Disco

Toy Story

Oh man – there were soooo many bad animated films in the 90s but a few brilliant ones. This will be a hard choice! It’s between Beauty And The Beast, Princess Mononoke & Toy Story for me. Disney, Studio Ghibli & Pixar! All my favorites!! Ugh! Okay. I guess I have to pick one. Ummmmmmmmmmmmm. Okay okay. I’ll go with Toy Story as it’s likely to get the most votes. But I love all three! 🙂 


Emma – Emma Explains It All


What a great choice for this month’s Opinion Battle – thanks Kim! Having to choose a film from the 1990s only was pretty clever, because at this time Disney Classics were just coming to an end, whilst Pixar and Dreamworks were starting to roll out more….sophisticated (?) kids films for the next generation (such as Toy Story, Antz etc.) And of course least not forget, Studio Ghibli were just starting to become really, really big.


So there’s a lot of choice basically. But having said all that, I still chose a Disney Classic. Probably the last Disney film I really, really loved (which is only because of my age, not because I have anything against The Lion King, Pocahontas or Beauty & the Beast, which are arguably the other greatest Disney films from that decade). I’m more of an 80s Disney Kid but in all honesty, I JUST caught the boat with Aladdin, being about 8 years old when it came out. And I LOVED IT. I had a Jasmine doll AND taught myself to play ‘A Whole New World’ on the keyboard (which come on, don’t we all love singing?!). Aladdin is easily in my top 3 Disney movies (it’s one of only four I own on DVD – The Little Mermaid, The Fox & the Hound and Dumbo are the other three). Aladdin is also one of the funniest Disney films and has some of the greatest songs. You could go as far as to call it ground-breaking with the inclusion of  Robin Williams as the genie, but I don’t really care about all that anyway. I just love the film!


Kim – Tranquil Dreams


90s was a fantastic decade of animated films. Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast all come to mind just in terms in Disney. It is a tough choice but while I always use Balto as my favorite choice, I’m going to go with MuLan which releases in the late 90s. Mulan was one that I was obsessed and incredibly excited for when it was announced and then released. For once, a movie related to my own Chinese traditions set with a strong female character who paved her own future with her perseverance and desire to bring honor to her family in her own way. Not only that but it also kept it lighthearted with the ancestors being hilarious and Eddie Murphy taking on Mushu the Dragon which get a ton of comedic moments as well. There was a huge array of addictive songs which I still know almost all the lyrics to.


Diana – DB Movie Blog

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest

It is easy to go for Disney or Pixar classics when thinking about favourite animations of the 1990s, but some non-Disney animations were as good and my choice is “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest” (1992). It is my favourite because, apart from the very entertaining plot, great characters and the unusual villain, it has an important environmental message at its core: the protection of forests, of nature and of life. Besides, its musical numbers and visuals are good enough, and it has the unparalleled Robin Williams attached to voice Batty Koda, what more could one ask for?


Rachel – 54 Disney Reviews

The Prince of Egypt

As an animation fanatic this question is so difficult. The 90s were the home to the greatness of the Disney Renaissance and the start of Pixar with Toy Story. I figure a lot of people will pick those films so I am going with something different. I love The Prince of Egypt. It is my favorite version of the Moses story and the best DreamWorks film by far. 

There are a lot of things I love about The Prince of Egypt. The voice cast is tremendous. The animation is gorgeous. The songs are beautiful. But one of my favorite parts is the softness of the film. Scenes like the burning bush are done with such reverence and awe that it feels like how I imagine it might feel if God were to come down and talk to a human being like that. Even big boisterous scenes like the parting of the Red Sea feel oddly serene and peaceful. It’s gorgeous! 

The only part of the film that doesn’t work is priests and their antics. They are kind of like the gargoyles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame but I find them more tolerable because the gargoyles are supposed to be friends where these are just generic bad guys I can ignore. 

Other than that, I love The Prince of Egypt so much. It’s a stunning movie that I think gets overlooked as one of the great animated films ever made. 



John –

Toy Story

It’s hard to believe, but “Toy Story” in 1995 was the first feature-length computer-animated film, and Pixar’s first film as well – and it is still the one to beat. 



In “Toy Story”, it’s a world where toys come to life after their owners have gone to bed.  Their world i suspended when old-fashioned cowboy doll Woody must adapt to a new futuristic toy, Buzz Lightyear.  Their relationship, and ultimate friendship, is a heartwarming story that transcends animation.  Tom Hanks and Tim Allen brought new depth to voice work in animation, and the film ultimately received three Oscar nominations – and changed the world of animated films forever.

Gill – Realweegiemidget Reviews

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

This my favourite of those animated movies brings those South Park animated kids in an R rated movie to the big screen with over 300 swear words to its credits its not for the easily offended. South Park was a satrical series I’d completely forgotten about until I met my Darlin’ Husband who reintroduceda me to the TV Series and the film. The film tells of how Cartman and his friends Stan and Kyle watch an R rated Canadian movie, they start swearing and their parents blame Canada. Their mothers then persuade American to wage war with Canada, leaving the kids to try and rescue the stars of the movie who’ve been arrested as war criminals. 


And in addition to poking fun at everyone including a subplot with Satan and an infamous bad guy it’s a musical movie. Albeit a guilty pleasure one as being South Park, it’s offensive but hit the nail on the head when parodying everything and anything musicals. Here meaning I can’t watch certain musicals with their songs and dancing numbers without thinking of it. With notable songs including “Kyle’s Mom’s A Big Fat Bitch” and “Blame Canada”. And surprisingly the latter of the songs won an Academy Award nomination and the film also starred the voices of George Clooney Minnie Driver and Eric Idle. These along with some famous names from 1980s pop music make it now worth a rewatch.



Daniel – Dellens Diary


My pick for best 90s animated movie is Hercules. Yes I know this film is lamented by critics and basically marked the end of the Disney Renaissance but I like it. The gospel muses are so fun, the songs have such energy, my favourite being A Star is Born and it’s just a lot of light Disney fun. I know it’s not an emotional masterpiece like Lion King but that’s alright. And that’s the gospel truth.

Rob – Movie Rob

Toy Story

I recall seeing this in the theater in ’95 and being amazed at the quality of the animation and the story. The people of Pixar were able to create an amazing world with a new and improved form of animation. The characters they created have become so popular over the years that Woody, Buzz and their friends are still so easily recognizable. This movie has found a warm place in my heart because many of the employees of Pixar are of my generation and this movie always triggers memories of toys from my childhood. It seemed as if the employees at Pixar had so much fun making it because it drew on their own childhood experiences to create a movie that “kids of all ages could enjoy”. I am so glad that Tim Allen and Tom Hanks were chosen to voice the two main characters. They were such great choices and it’s hard to imagine anyone else voicing Woody or Buzz. This is such a novel idea for an animated movie. Pixar proved with this movie that they could raise the bar on the quality of animation and keep doing so even now, more than two decades later.


Drew – Drew’s Movie Reviews

Toy Story


Tom – Plain Simple Tom Reviews


This is my favourite Disney film, as well as one of my all time favourites in general, and it’s one of the very best movies of the 90s because it has a perfect story, amazing songs, incredible animation, great characters, one of the best Disney villains ever, it’s fun, exciting, sometimes chilling and, of course, Robin Williams is just the greatest thing as the Genie.

S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason

Toy Story

While my mind immediately went to Disney with Beauty and the Beast and the rest of their Renaissance films of the ‘90s, I was soon reminded that that decade also birthed another powerhouse: Pixar. Toy Story may be most notable as the first feature-length film made with CGI animation, but just as much effort went into its story and iconic characters (Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head), which remain relatable to anyone who has ever been a toy-loving kid. The original Toy Storys animation quality can’t compare with Pixar’s current output, but for its pioneering creativity and enduring imaginative charm that have helped sustain it through two (soon to be three) sequels, Toy Story gets my vote.