So now we come to the conclusion of Mulan, hope everyone has enjoyed the ride! On to the finale!
First of all, there’s the good news: Mulan survives her injuries. The really bad news? In the course of saving her life, the doctor discovers what we’ve known all along: that “Ping” isn’t a man at all, he’s a girl!! Shang is in disbelief, but even he can’t deny the physical evidence. Chi-Fu (who has disliked “Ping” from the start) is enraged and begins howling about “high treason” and “ultimate dishonor” while Mulan attempts to explain that she only did what she did to save her father’s life.
Things are pretty grim. By law, Mulan should die for what she has done, and as Shang comes forward with Mulan’s sword, it looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen. However…Shang also can’t deny that Mulan did save his life. Therefore he spares Mulan’s life in return and orders the company to move out towards the Imperial City, leaving a devastated Mulan behind. Mulan and Mushu have a heart-to-heart about their motives, and Mushu finally confesses that he didn’t come on the orders of Mulan’s ancestors, but at least Mulan had good intentions with what she did. The two promise that whatever happens, they’ll get through it together. Which is good, because as it turns out, the adventure isn’t over just yet….as Shan Yu’s falcon flies over the carnage left by the avalanche, a giant hand breaks out of the snow: Shan Yu is still alive!! And he’s not alone, he has almost a dozen warriors who survived the avalanche and the only one who knows they’re headed for the Imperial City is Mulan!!!!
Meanwhile, down in the city, Shang and his men are being treated to a hero’s welcome. But the only one enjoying the attention is Chi-Fu, the others are downcast because they know THEY didn’t win anything, it was Mulan who earned the victory. And speaking of, Mulan rides up and tries to tell Shang about the Huns, but now that Mulan is openly a woman again, Shang won’t listen to her (even though she’d earned his trust as “Ping” several hours ago). The parade winds its way to the Imperial Palace where the Emperor himself stands waiting to receive Shan Yu’s sword. As Shang climbs the palace steps, a great Chinese dragon follows, seeming to crouch down as the procession reaches a stop (that should’ve been the first red flag).
Down in the crowd, Mulan tries to warn everyone about the danger, but again, because she’s a woman, no one listens. But soon everyone is going to believe her, because just as Shang hands the sword over, the falcon sweeps in and snatches it away, flying up to where Shan Yu has been hiding on the palace roof!!! I love the music in this short moment. The strings tremble in anticipation because we know what’s about to happen: out of nowhere, Shan Yu’s arm snaps out and he grabs the sword, a devilish grin on his face. A lot of things then happen very quickly: the rest of the Huns leap out of the dragon, knock Shang down and take the Emperor captive!!
Yao: Does this dress make me look fat?
Time for Mulan to spring into action: while Shang’s men (futilely) try to batter the doors of the palace down with a large statue, Mulan realizes that there’s a better way to get inside. For the plan to work, Ling, Yao and Chien-Po must dress as women (to pass themselves off as royal concubines) and the quintet climb up into the palace using the pole-climbing technique that they learned in training. At the same time, up on the palace balcony, Shan Yu confronts the Emperor: the Hun leader believes he’s won, and he wants the Emperor to bow to him. Outside, the plan is working, Shan Yu’s men are fooled by the disguise just long enough to be taken out while Shang runs to rescue the Emperor.
With Chien-Po safely taking the Emperor away, the fight is briefly between Shang and Shan Yu, but the former is hopelessly outmatched by the furious Hun. Mulan (who is definitely in love with Shang) distracts Shan Yu and reveals that it was SHE who defeated him in the mountains (pulling back her hair to briefly resemble Ping). Enraged, Shan Yu gives chase and Mulan literally runs for her life, as the Hun will kill her if he catches her. While running, she notices a tower full of fireworks on the opposite side of the roof and briefly tells Mushu her improvised plan. The chase makes its way to the roof and before long Mulan is cornered by a vicious Shan Yu, who believes that Mulan is finally “out of ideas.”
The technique of using a fan to wrench the sword away is a real martial arts technique
As it turns out, Mulan has one last trick up her sleeve: at the opposite end of the roof, Mushu is ready with the world’s largest fireworks rocket strapped to his back. Mulan uses Shan Yu’s own sword to pin him to the roof as the rocket races towards him, sending him flying into the rest of the fireworks as they all explode!! Mulan saves herself with a flying leap and crash lands onto Shang. The Emperor is saved, China is saved!! But Chi-Fu (naturally) is in a fury because Mulan got involved. But before Shang can finally give the snobby adviser a punch in the nose, the Emperor himself appears and wants to speak with Mulan.
At first it seems like the Emperor is berating Mulan by listing everything she’s done: running away from home, impersonating a soldier, deceiving everyone, destroying a sizable portion of the palace AND…saving everyone. As thanks, the Emperor bows (ever so slightly) to Mulan, prompting everyone in the square to fully bow as well (since no one stands higher than the Emperor). It’s one of the highest honors someone in China can receive, and that’s not all. The Emperor would like to give Mulan Chi-Fu’s job (which causes him to faint), but Mulan decides that she’s been away from home long enough, so she’s given Shan Yu’s sword and the Emperor’s personal crest as reminders of what she did for China. After Mulan leaves, the Emperor has a few words for Shang:
“The Flower that blooms in adversity, is the most rare and beautiful of all.” When Shang doesn’t get it, the Emperor gets blunt “You don’t meet a girl like THAT every dynasty!” (translation: go after her and marry her you idiot!)
Back home, Mulan’s father is watching the cherry blossoms fall, and he clearly misses his daughter very much. So when Mulan comes into the garden, loaded with gifts from the Emperor, he’s very much surprised! But her father doesn’t really care about honor, all he knows right now is that his daughter is home and he’s missed her very much. As it turns out, Shang DID follow Mulan home and is invited to stay for dinner by a pleased Mulan. And back in the ancestral temple, the Great Ancestor grudgingly lets Mushu be a guardian of the family again, much to Mushu’s delight. All is well, and as the saying goes: they all lived happily ever after!
Wow, I had a lot of fun working on Mulan, thanks for all your comments and likes, you guys are the best!
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For the rest of the Mulan series:
Mulan “Honor to Us All” (1998)
Mulan “Reflection” (1998)
Mulan “Mulan’s Decision” (1998)
Mulan “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (1998)
Mulan “A Girl Worth Fighting For” (1998)
Mulan “The Huns Attack” (1998)
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