Awesome / Mulan
All of China give their thanks to Mulan.
- The soldier in the opening sequence. He knows that he's going to die, but he fights as hard as he can to use his last few seconds of life to set off the Great Wall's torch-warning-system (the real purpose of the Great Wall; no one expected it to keep a determined military opponent out), and then stands up to the terrifying Shan Yu before his death. Thanks to him, Shan Yu fails. Without his warning, the Huns' entry into China wouldn't have been noticed, and the emperor would probably be dead because Mulan and company wouldn't have been around to save him. That guy is awesome, and he doesn't even get a name, but he still sets off the alarm-torch. When was the last time a Red Shirt was so awesome?
- Which in turn is effortlessly matched by Shan Yu's response.
- Says this while burning the nation's fucking flag.
- Even though it's the villain, you can't help but love this one sequence. Shan Yu brings his army to a halt, and after a beat, gives a silent signal. Two of his men dismount, move away, and return with two Chinese soldiers. Shan Yu dismounts, looking fucking terrifying, before kneeling down and adjusting one of the soldiers' armor.
Good work, gentlemen. You've found the Hun army. [dark chuckles from the Hun soldiers] Soldier
: The emperor will stop you. Shan Yu
: Stop me? He invited me. [lifts soldier up by the neck]
By building his wall, he challenged my strength. Well, I'm here to play his game. [draws sword, then throws the soldier to the ground]
Tell your emperor to send his strongest armies! I'm ready
. [soldiers run, and Shan Yu scratches his chin before seeming to realize something]
How many men does it take to deliver a message? Hun Archer
: [draws bow] One.
- "I'll Make a Man Out of You". Without a doubt, the most epic Training Montage in the history of Walt Disney Animation, ever.
- Shang has one at the very beginning of the song (so awesome that you actually hear the whole camp being in awe), and a blink-and-you-will-miss-it other: when Chien Po stops running on the poles fearing of falling down, Shang is right behind him and stops immediately. The others, however, don't. They keep coming and crushing on his back, while he just stands perfectly still, without even blinking.
- Particularly, after Shang tells Mulan to leave, she refuses to give up and passes the Secret Test of Character that had previously beaten everyone else in the camp.
- Everyone cheers her on, and are inspired by her example to stop sucking at being soldiers.
- Mulan really could have given up just then. In truth, the discharge was something of a godsend, because now her family's obligation had been met. It was over! Mulan had saved her father! The plot of the movie was wrapped up in one verse of song! But Mulan still didn't give up. She passed the test, and she did it not because her father would have been sent to war if she hadn't, she did it to prove that once, just once in her entire life, she didn't suck at something. And she did. She proved it to the whole camp.
- What does she do at the end? She throws the arrow at the ground in front of Shang's tent while sitting on top of the post; above and beyond to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she succeeded. Following which she runs ahead of the group during their weighted-down runs, and beats Shang during a sparring match. Shang's look of absolute approval and "Wow, good!" on his face perfectly sells it.
- There's a bit more to it as well. In this particular day and age, honour was the most important part about living, moreso than life itself to the average person. Though Mulan would've left after saving her father's life and would avoid war, she'd still be walking back home with disgrace, bringing shame on the family's name. But she stayed her ground and continued to work hard to prove herself, and in the end it all came to bringing the greatest honour to her family.
- Then there's the Comic Relief trio's improvement.
- Yao, after getting a flaming arrow in the ass at the start, unflinchingly running through a hail of them.
- Chien Po actually does flips from pole to pole, in contrast to his performance described above.
- Ling, who broke his face on a block, breaks the block at the end.
- And all the new recruits show great strides in marksmanship, staff fighting, and more.
- Also, it is worth mentioning that the Chinese dub version of the song is performed by none other than Jackie Chan. There's even a music video.
- Awesome Music: Jerry Goldsmith, duh (scoring his only real animated feature other than The Secret of NIMH). "Short Hair" and "The Huns Attack" are hands down the fandoms' favorites.
- For those who think that name sounds familiar? Jerry Goldsmith scored some of Star Trek's most memorable tunes, including the scores of "First Contact" and "Nemesis."
- For a brief, very small moment, you can see the comedy trio watching Mulan climb the pole. While Chien Po and Yao are looking on with awe and disbelief, Ling's face is wide with a smile, as if he knew Mulan can do it. This is especially awesome since Ling is usually the one harassing (or instigating the harassing) Mulan the most before this.
- The eponymous heroine single-handedly buries the Hun army by igniting an avalanche with a rocket.
Mushu: You missed! How could you miss?! He was THREE FEET IN FRONT OF YOU!
- Her knowing smirk as Shan-Yu looks behind him to see what's going on is the icing on the cake.
- Especially when paired with his epic Oh, Crap! expression. The sheer horror of his realisation that she just single-handedly murdered his entire army, even if it might kill her as well, with his face just screaming "What have you done, you maniac!?"
- At the film's climax, she shoots the evil warlord into a giant stockpile of fireworks. Ooh, shiny!
- The sequence in which Mulan cuts her hair, and the accompanying music.
- Especially the implications that she either woke the great stone dragon with her decision to go to war and took their spirit with her, or she was the guardian dragon! That’s why Mu Shu couldn’t awaken it!
- Followed by her defeat of Shan Yu — in particular, facing him down with nothing but a paper fan against his sword and succeeding in disarming him — is a Moment of Awesome not only for the character herself but for Disney's animated heroines as a whole.
- Made even more awesome when you realize that the fan is one of the ultimate symbols of femininity!
- The emperor, and subsequently all of China, bows to her. They don't just bow, they Kowtow a sign of submission and deep respect.
- This builds on a previous Moment of Awesome where the emperor shows Shan Yu just how much his military prowess is really worth: "No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it." OWNED.
- Shan-Yu then tries to kill the emperor in rage, and Shang blocks his blow just in the nick of time. Despite this all happening behind him, the emperor calmly and indifferently walks out of the way as though he knew it was going to happen the whole time. Now that's composure.
- He very well might have. Look at his eyes when he delivers his mountain line – he looks off to the side, as though he's noticing something while he's speaking. True, this means he might have heard help coming and that's why he said what he did, but it also means he wasn't even paying attention to the guy holding a sword at his throat. Holy balls of steel, Batman!
- Well, he is the Freaking Emperor of China. He's probably had many an assassination attempt before; he's probably bored of them by now...
- Mushu straps fireworks to his back in winged costume and launches himself in fiery red glory!
Guard: Who're you?
Mushu: Your worst nightmare!
- This is followed by Mushu announcing "LIGHT ME!" and handing the match to Crikee - who does exactly that. Using an enormous firework, Mushu sends Shan Yu flying into an enormous pile of incredibly explode-able fireworks... which do exactly what the name "incredibly explode-able fireworks" implies - go off with an enormous boom.
- Shan Yu's falcon takes a sword from Shang's hands, flies up with it, then lets go of it so that Shan Yu, standing in a shadow on a rooftop, can catch it. When Shan Yu catches the sword, he emerges from the shadow, grinning, and you can hear shocked gasps from the crowd below.
- The sheer, complete shock that Mulan gives Shan Yu by simply tying up her hair: "The soldier from the mountains...!"
- Chien Po pulling EVERYONE up, including the horse!
- In terms of animation quality, it's amazing in its own right that they were able to make Mulan look male while still retaining feminine qualities. The audience can recognize her instantly while still believing that the other soldiers thought she was male. To sell the 'pretending to be a man' concept, Mulan's facial design was altered slightly when she was dressed as a soldier, adding a few slight edges to what were just curved lines. It's not all that pronounced and easy to miss, but it works beautifully.
- It's also fucking terrifying, but the sight and sound of Shan Yu's entire army about to charge from the mountain is pretty damned epic-looking. THAT is how you make an entrance; it was an "Oh, Crap!" moment for all of China.
- Fa Zhou putting aside his cane, which at all other times he uses and seems to truly need, and walking stoically up to recieve his draft papers. Whilst he limps slightly, he does it all without a single change of expression, or sign of effort or pain. His only response?
Fa Zhou: I am ready to serve the emperor.
- Also of note is the fact that, as he steps forward, the other villagers draw back out of respect. All of this, combined with the music, creates the image that Fa Zhou is a Living Legend, long before Shang and Chi Fu confirm it.
- Right before that, as one man, a certain Yi, walks up to receive his draft papers, his presumably more able-bodied son takes them, presumably out of concern for his father's health and safety, and, after bowing to his father, tells Chi Fu, "I will serve the emperor in my father's place!" His father has already had his moment of glory; now, it's the son's turn.
- After the guys have gotten the emperor off the tower, only Mulan and Shang are left. Shang has been defeated by Shan Yu, so Mulan cuts the rope leading down to the ground. She has to know that this means they are almost certainly doomed, but it also means the emperor is safe. It's even an in-universe moment of awesome for her, as the entire crowd erupts into cheers when she does it.
- Bonus points for Shan Yu's reaction. Before he goes into his Unstoppable Rage, he looks down at the large crowd and sees that the emperor is gone. It is this moment where he realizes that he's lost.
- Shang fighting Shan Yu head on. Sure, Shan Yu defeats him in the end, but Shang held his own against one of the most powerful Badass Normal characters in Disney and even got the upper hand at one point.
- While understated, the fact that Shan Yu and his generals can, just from the stolen doll of a child, obtain a reasonable estimation of what kind of defenses their next target will have, is incredibly impressive. They might be barbarian Huns, but they're not Dumb Muscle, and they know the business of war much better than their opponents do.
- When Shan Yu and the Hun Generals pop right out of the snow! (Like daisies!) Granted, we are talking about a handful of survivors out of tens of thousands, but the mere fact there are survivors is awesome. They were buried under it at least for minutes (since Mulan was healed, kicked out of the army and everything else), but most likely for hours. And some of them are shirtless. And, as if it wasn't enough, they don't even need to take their time to rest or anything, they set off their next goal and start walking toward it shrugging off being buried under an avalanche as if nothing happened. Made of Iron is an understatement.
- Also, in the final fight, we see Shan Yu effortlessly cutting down wooden columns (in one hit) and making a hole in the roof with his bare fist.
- After everything has happened, Shang defends Mulan from Chi Fu, who's still stating she'll never be worth anything. Shang promptly grabs his collar, furiously stating "Listen here, you pompous—!"
- A subtle one for Shang, after discovering the burned out hull of the village and the remains of the Imperial Army (one of whom was his own father, who he believed had commanded him there to aid them), Shang stops at his horse for a brief moment before mounting and turning to rally the men because "we're the only hope for the emperor now" confirms why his men respect and follow him to the end. He's still going despite the terrible losses.
- all of Mulan's victories are coming from her high intelligence, as shown throughout the film that Mulan is someone of high intellect in her country; while it's hinted with how she does her chores, she does things in rather intelligent ways throughout the film;
- She's able to figure out a winning move for an already-in-progress Chinese Chess game by looking at it for a good few seconds before placing one side's piece in the correct spot, winning the man the game before she was pulled away.
- When it came to "Make a Man Out of You", she's the first one to discover Shang's Secret Test of Character by realizing what was to be done and succeedd in the task.
- Earlier mentions to the Mountain event, it took her seeing the reflection in her sword and realizing that taking out hte Hun army itself could have been a better bet for the others than just letting them all fight a colossal army with their numbers. Especially given their distance, she likely thought the others could get away while the Huns were buried in snow.
- When Shan Yu had the Emperoer, she thought of hte strategy to get everyone to dress up in concupine outfits to trick the Huns.
- And finally, her victory over Shan Yu was an improvized plan involving the fireworks across the way. While Mushu was getting it, she had to make sure everything was calculated correctly and was measuring out the calculations before Shan Yu could get to her.
- In the end, all of Mulan's victories was her intelligence working out in her favor, instead of just relying on brute force.