After discovering that the Huns have wiped out the Imperial Army, Shang and his small group of men move towards the pass that leads to the Imperial City, as they need to warn the Emperor of the danger. They seem to be alone…but as they move through a snowy valley, Mushu inadvertently sets off one of the rockets (he tries to blame Lucky Cricket), which quickly reveals that the Huns have been following them all this time as they launch an ambush, destroying many of the valuable rockets in the process. Most of the ambush party is taken out, and suddenly only one rocket is left.
But now the true attack is coming: the smoke clears to reveal Shan Yu up on the hillside, alone. But then his advisors ride up to join him, and then more men and more men…suddenly the entire top of the mountainside is bristling with Hun soldiers, and a loud roar indicates that there are thousands more behind them. Shang orders everyone to prepare to fight, but this is really a suicide mission now (and everybody knows it). Even if they had a hundred men, they wouldn’t even put a dent in Shan Yu’s massive army, which now comes spilling down the mountainside as their leader charges forward.
This moment never fails to send chills down my spine: the sight of the army pouring down in this huge wave, it really is incredible. In fact, so determined were the Disney animators to get this right, that a whole new software program was invented just to render the Hun army realistically. And Jerry Goldsmith’s music for this moment adds the right level of tension, even though the whole army hasn’t crossed over the mountain yet, you know that this is a huge and awesome force, nothing stands a chance against them!
With one cannon left, Shang decides to use it to take out Shan Yu. But as Yao prepares to fire, Mulan looks up and realizes that the taller mountain above them is thick with snow. A cannon blast there would trigger a huge avalanche….with no time for explanations Mulan grabs the cannon and runs ahead to get in proper range to fire. With Shan Yu quickly advancing, Mulan is forced to use Mushu to light the cannon, which fires just as Shan Yu rides up. It’s a perfect hit and Mulan can’t help but smirk a little as the massive avalanche begins. It’s also worth pointing out that the music momentarily vanishes during the beginning seconds of the avalanche and all you hear instead is the rumble of the falling snow (a good example of when it’s better to have no music).
A stunned Shan Yu looks back and sees his massive army being slowly wiped out. Enraged, he swings back to Mulan who suddenly remembers that there’s a really angry Hun standing in front of her. He swipes his sword across her chest but Mulan has no time to react as she needs to run with everyone else to safety before the avalanche takes THEM out as well.
Mulan and Shang are saved in just the nick of time, while the entire Hun army (Shan Yu) included appears to have been taken out. All seems to be well, except now that the adrenaline is wearing off, Mulan suddenly remembers that she has a serious chest wound and quickly passes out. Things are going to be very different when she wakes up….
Next time: Mulan is finally caught, the Huns aren’t all dead and the Emperor is in serious danger!
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