Mulan II appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Not too many concerns popped up in this solid transfer.
Sharpness fared well. No problems with softness crept into the image at any time. The movie stayed nicely distinctive and well-defined. I saw no issues related to jagged edges or shimmering, and the transfer also appeared to lack any edge enhancement. As one might expect from a brand-new flick, it didn’t display any source flaws.
Colors looked quite good. Like the original movie, Mulan II used a fairly pastel palette with concise but gentle tones. The DVD exhibited them with good vividness and clarity. The colors consistently appeared lush and rich. Blacks were also dense and deep, while low-light shots showed good definition. All in all, I found no problems here.
Although the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Mulan II didn’t present a sensational mix, it worked decently for the material. The soundfield opened up the events acceptably well, though not in a particularly dynamic way. Most of the audio stayed focused in the forward channels. Those speakers featured good stereo imaging for the score as well as a nice sense of delineation for effects. The various elements were accurately placed and moved across the channels well.
The surrounds contributed reinforcement most of the time but contributed a bit of unique information on occasion. The smattering of action sequences worked best, although they never became too active. They did enough to help create a moderately involving setting.
Across the board, audio quality remained positive. Speech blended with the animation and sounded natural. No problems with edginess or intelligibility occurred. The score sounded lively and dynamic, with tight lows and vivid highs. Effects also demonstrated nice dimensionality, as they appeared clean and appropriately powerful. This wasn’t a terribly impressive soundtrack, but it did what it needed to do.
A smattering of supplements rounds out the set. We get a collection of four deleted scenes. Via the “Play All” function, these run a total of 11 minutes and 48 seconds. Producer Jennifer Blohm and directors Darrell Rooney and Lynne Southerland offer introductions for these clips. They give us some notes about the scenes and let us know why the snippets didn’t make the cut.
All of the deleted scenes come in the form of story reels; none of them present even rough animation. To my surprise, these clips offer some interesting sequences. The first one could have added some much-needed action to the affair and might’ve been a good addition. The others help develop relationships a little more, though they probably would seem redundant. In any case, it’s good to get a look at all of them here.
An interactive feature comes to us with The World of Mulan. You learn about concepts like yin and yang, arranged marriages, the legend of Mulan, fireworks, kung fu, dragons, and Chinese food. In addition to the Mushu narration and movie clips, we get some comments from Rooney, Southerland, Blohm, and singer Lea Salonga. When you get through all three pieces, you get a reward: a calendar that lets you figure out the animal the Chinese use to represent your birth year. (Ambitiously, it goes all the way to 2011, so I guess they figure kids will watch this DVD for the next decade plus.) It’s a basic piece meant for the kiddies and it lacks much depth, but it explores the topics in an entertaining way.
A short featurette looks at The Voices of Mulan. In this two-minute and 53-second clip, we hear from Southerland, Rooney, Blohm, and actors Ming-Na, Pat Morita, Jerry Tondo, Gedde Watanabe, Lauren Tom, and Michelle Kwan. They offer some quick notes about the characters but don’t tell us much in this brief and puffy program.
Next we find a music video for “(I Wanna Be) Like Other Girls” by Atomic Kitten. This simply presents a montage of movie clips accompanied by the rocking version of this song. It’s dull.
Most Disney animated DVDs include some form of game, and Mulan II follows suit with Mushu’s Guess Who. Based on a scene from the movie, Mushu creates shadow puppets and we have to figure out what character he plays. It’s pretty easy but it offers a minor element of fun, even if it doesn’t give us a real reward for completion.
Mulan II opens with a collection of ads. These include promos for Bambi and Pooh’s Heffalump Movie. Both of these also appear in the Sneak Peeks domain along with trailers for Lilo & Stitch 2, The Incredibles, and various “Disney Princess” products.
Will fans of the original movie find a comparably strong experience with Mulan II? No, but it stands as one of the better Disney direct-to-video sequels. Granted, it doesn’t have much competition, since most of its siblings stink. Nonetheless, I think it works pretty well and offers a mostly enjoyable way to pass the time.
As for the DVD, it presents very strong picture quality along with good but unexceptional audio. Only a minor roster of extras fills out the set. Can I heartily endorse Mulan II? No, as the movie lacks enough spark and flair to become anything particularly creative or endearing. However, it works better than most direct-to-video sequels and will probably prove entertaining for fans of the original movie. It’s not a classic, but it offers some fun.