Dr. Stat

Dr. Stat is a Statistics Professor. This blog is his opportunity to share ideas and opinions about education (especially math education), politics, and whatever else comes up.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Mulan II

Mulan was bad enough. Mulan II is far worse.

In Mulan, we see a young Chinese girl of an ancient dynasty defy gender roles to go fight in the army in her father's place. Not only that, she becomes a hero and saves China. Along the way, we have a positive portrayal of the ancestor-worship religion such as Disney would never allow for Christianity. OK. It's just a kids story.

However, the real theme of the movie is marriage--at the beginning, Mulan is going to see the matchmaker so she can be matched with a husband. She objects to arranged marriage and ends up botching the interview anyway. She meets her "match" during her war adventures.

Now we have Mulan II. In this story, Mulan is now a national hero and all the little girls want to be like her. The major themes are "follow your heart" and "marry for love, not duty."

In the story, Mulan and her fiance Chang are called upon by the emperor to save China again. The emperor's three daughters are to be escorted to another country to marry three princes and cement an alliance to protect China from the invaders. Mulan, Chang, and three comical bunglers from the first movie are to quietly escort the princesses to their destination. Immediately, Mulan starts in on the princesses, questioning them on how they can get married to men they haven't even met. The princesses make patriotic statements about their duty. However, it is not patriotism and duty that are going to win the day in this movie. No, the princesses fall in love with the three buffoons, and in the end "true love" triumphs and the kingdom is saved as well.

This movie teaches disrespect for culture, responsibility, patriotism, and marriage. It reinforces the foolish notion that infatuation is all that is really needed to make a successful marriage. No serious consideration of the wide gulf of experience and expectations between the princesses and soldiers is given. The princesses even sing about their new-found freedom. Wait until reality hits! I wonder if they will invent divorce in Mulan III? In the end, it is modern American pop-culture values triumphing over old-fashioned, out-moded tradition.