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note_NN
:_:
some_DT
may_MD
consider_VB
portions_NNS
of_IN
the_DT
following_JJ
text_NN
to_IN
be_BE
spoilers_FW
._.
be_BE
forewarned_JJ
._.
east_NP
meets_VBZ
west_NN
in_IN
mulan_NP
,_,
the_DT
latest_JJS
installment_NN
in_IN
disney_NP
's_POS
parade_NN
of_IN
annual_JJ
animated_JJ
feature_NN
films_NNS
._.
an_DT
odd_JJ
fusion_NN
of_IN
ancient_JJ
asian_JJ
traditions_NNS
and_CC
disconcerting_JJ
elements_NNS
which_WDT
betray_NP
obvious_JJ
mass-market_NN
commercial_JJ
sensibilities_NNS
,_,
this_DT
confident_JJ
entry_NN
is_BEZ
easily_RB
the_DT
most_DT
engaging_JJ
and_CC
satisfying_JJ
hollywood_NP
animated_JJ
feature_NN
in_IN
years_NNS
,_,
but_CC
falls_VBZ
short_JJ
of_IN
actualizing_VBG
its_PP$
potential_NN
._.
though_CS
not_XNOT
for_IN
lack_NN
of_IN
trying_VBG
._.
in_IN
many_DT
respects_NNS
,_,
mulan_NP
is_BEZ
among_IN
disney_NP
's_POS
most_RBS
mature_JJ
efforts_NNS
,_,
skirting_NN
the_DT
surface_NN
of_IN
adult_NN
themes_NNS
and_CC
daring_JJ
to_IN
sneak_VB
glimpses_NNS
into_IN
the_DT
messier_NN
side_NN
of_IN
combat_NN
._.
the_DT
violence_NN
of_IN
the_DT
battles_NNS
in_IN
the_DT
film_NN
are_BER
admittedly_RB
sanitized_JJ
--_???
the_DT
imagery_NN
of_IN
a_DT
pillaged_JJ
village_NN
,_,
neatly_RB
encapsulated_JJ
in_IN
the_DT
form_NN
of_IN
a_DT
child_NN
's_POS
discarded_JJ
doll_NN
,_,
is_BEZ
in_IN
itself_PPX
no_DT
more_DT
harrowing_NN
than_CS
luke_NP
discovering_VBG
his_PP$
fallen_JJ
guardians_NNS
in_IN
star_NN
wars_NNS
,_,
and_CC
mulan_NP
's_POS
later_RBR
heroics_JJ
in_IN
dispatching_VBG
of_IN
the_DT
ruthless_JJ
invaders_NNS
is_BEZ
done_DON
so_CS
in_CD
the_DT
most_RBS
tidy_JJ
,_,
bloodless_JJ
method_NN
imaginable_JJ
--_???
yet_RB
how_WRB
often_RB
does_DOZ
a_DT
hollywood_NP
animated_JJ
film_NN
,_,
long_JJ
considered_VBD
as_CS
the_DT
last_OD
safe_JJ
refuge_NN
for_IN
the_DT
innocent_JJ
,_,
dare_MD
touch_VB
upon_IN
the_DT
consequential_JJ
horrors_NNS
of_IN
war_NN
in_IN
such_DT
a_DT
provocative_JJ
manner_NN
?_?
in_IN
an_DT
instant_NN
,_,
idealistic_JJ
mulan_NP
's_POS
innocence_NN
is_BEZ
lost_VBN
,_,
and_CC
her_PP$
jovial_JJ
squadron_NN
are_BER
reminded_VBN
of_IN
what_WDT
their_PP$
efforts_NNS
are_BER
spent_VBN
defending_VBG
._.
the_DT
film_NN
,_,
based_VBN
upon_IN
an_DT
ancient_JJ
chinese_JJ
fable_NN
,_,
centers_NNS
on_IN
a_DT
spirited_JJ
young_JJ
woman_NN
who_WP
disguises_VBZ
herself_PPX
as_IN
a_DT
man_NN
in_IN
order_NN
to_IN
serve_VB
as_IN
her_PP$
family_NN
's_POS
obligatory_NN
conscript_NN
when_CS
china_NP
finds_VBZ
itself_PPX
under_IN
attack_NN
by_IN
huns_???
(_)
cartoonishly_JJ
depicted_JJ
by_IN
easy_JJ
demonic_JJ
overtones_NNS
,_,
replete_JJ
with_IN
glowing_JJ
yellow_JJ
eyes_NNS
and_CC
dagger-edged_JJ
teeth_NNS
,_,
although_CS
lent_VBN
a_DT
surprisingly_RB
genuine_JJ
sense_NN
of_IN
menace_NN
)_)
._.
dipping_JJ
into_IN
the_DT
mythology_NN
of_IN
other_JJ
cultures_NNS
for_IN
the_DT
first_OD
time_NN
after_IN
cavorting_VBG
in_IN
animated_JJ
revisitings_NNS
of_IN
familiar_JJ
western_JJ
/_SYM
european_NN
fables_NNS
and_CC
literature_NN
for_IN
decades_NNS
,_,
disney_NP
's_POS
new_JJ
film_NN
is_BEZ
boldly_RB
set_VBN
in_IN
ancient_JJ
china_NP
rather_RB
than_CS
relocated_VBN
elsewhere_RB
,_,
story_NN
intact_JJ
,_,
to_IN
some_DT
neutral_JJ
territory_NN
,_,
and_CC
revels_NNS
in_IN
its_PP$
east_NN
asian_JJ
roots_NNS
;_;
aside_RB
from_IN
a_DT
predominantly_RB
asian-american_JJ
cast_NN
providing_VBG
the_DT
film_NN
's_POS
vocal_JJ
work_NN
,_,
there_EX
's_BEZ
liberal_JJ
usage_NN
of_IN
oriental_JJ
iconography_NN
throughout_IN
,_,
and_CC
the_DT
artwork_NN
reveal_VB
hints_NNS
of_IN
japanese_JJ
anime_NN
influence_NN
._.
while_CS
the_DT
film_NN
does_DOZ
occasionally_RB
reach_VB
its_PP$
limits_NNS
and_CC
starts_VBZ
to_TO
tread_VB
upon_IN
old_JJ
stereotypes_NNS
--_???
invoking_CS
pseudo-asian_JJ
references_NNS
to_IN
items_NNS
like_IN
beancurd_JJ
and_CC
rice_NN
in_IN
every_DT
third_OD
sentence_NN
grows_VBZ
rather_RB
hoary_JJ
,_,
and_CC
i_PP
can't_MD
imagine_VB
that_DT
the_DT
regiment_NN
for_IN
ancient_JJ
chinese_JJ
warriors_NNS
*_???
really_RB
*_???
included_JJ
karate-chopping_NN
blocks_NNS
of_IN
stone_NN
in_IN
two_CD
--_???
it_NN
's_HVZ
rather_RB
remarkable_JJ
that_CS
a_DT
movie_NN
primarily_RB
positioned_VBN
for_IN
american_JJ
and_CC
european_JJ
audiences_NNS
delves_VBZ
so_RB
wholeheartedly_RB
into_IN
new_JJ
foreign_JJ
territory_NN
._.
the_DT
film_NN
also_RB
freely_RB
touches_VBZ
upon_IN
cultural_JJ
idiosyncrasies_NNS
from_IN
its_PP$
outset_NN
;_;
although_CS
savvy_???
viewers_NNS
should_MD
easily_RB
pick_VB
up_RP
on_IN
the_DT
intrinsics_NN
immediately_RB
,_,
it_PP
's_BEZ
startlingly_RB
assertive_JJ
in_IN
providing_VBG
as_IN
little_DT
shorthand_NN
as_IN
it_PP
does_DOZ
to_IN
unfamiliar_JJ
youngsters_NNS
with_IN
regards_NNS
to_IN
the_DT
customs_NNS
and_CC
traditions_NNS
of_IN
mulan_NP
's_POS
land_NN
._.
at_IN
its_PP$
core_NN
,_,
the_DT
film_NN
is_BEZ
a_DT
tale_NN
of_IN
heroic_JJ
adventure_NN
,_,
and_CC
as_CS
such_DT
paints_NNS
its_PP$
story_NN
in_IN
bold_JJ
strokes_NNS
of_IN
honour_NN
,_,
perseverance_NN
,_,
nobility_NN
and_CC
courage_NN
._.
as_CS
such_DT
,_,
animation_NN
is_BEZ
the_DT
perfect_JJ
vehicle_NN
for_IN
this_DT
flavour_NN
of_IN
epic_JJ
,_,
where_CS
stark_JJ
emotional_JJ
simplicity_NN
is_BEZ
able_JJ
to_TO
effectively_RB
work_VB
hand-in-hand_NP
with_IN
visual_JJ
purity_NN
._.
scenes_NNS
which_WDT
would_MD
play_VB
out_RP
as_IN
unbearably_RB
hokey_NN
in_IN
live_JJ
action_NN
,_,
such_DT
as_IN
mulan_NP
's_POS
venerable_JJ
father_NN
pridefully_RB
tossing_VBG
aside_RB
his_PP$
cane_NN
when_CS
accepting_VBG
his_PP$
draft_NN
notice_NN
,_,
are_BER
lent_VBN
a_DT
sense_NN
of_IN
strength_NN
and_CC
conveyed_VBN
with_IN
greater_JJR
emotional_JJ
clarity_NN
in_IN
animation_NN
._.
mulan_NP
capitalizes_VBZ
on_IN
this_DT
during_IN
its_PP$
strongest_JJS
moments_NNS
,_,
particularly_RB
during_IN
our_PP$
heroine_NN
's_POS
character-defining_NN
opening_NN
half-hour_NN
._.
it_PP
's_BEZ
when_CS
the_DT
film_NN
attempts_NNS
to_IN
integrate_VB
the_DT
traditional_JJ
mainstays_NNS
of_IN
recent_JJ
hollywood_NP
animation_NN
--_???
the_DT
friendly_JJ
animal_NN
sidekick_NN
,_,
the_DT
colourful_JJ
array_NN
of_IN
supporting_JJ
characters_NNS
--_???
into_IN
the_DT
mix_NN
where_CS
it_PP
goes_VBZ
slightly_RB
awry_RB
._.
off_IN
to_IN
battle_NN
,_,
mulan_NP
finds_VBZ
herself_PPX
being_BEG
trailed_VBN
by_IN
a_DT
jive-talking_NN
diminutive_NN
dragon_NN
called_VBN
mushu_???
and_CC
an_DT
agreeable_JJ
little_JJ
"_"
lucky_JJ
"_"
cricket_NN
,_,
who_WP
ostensibly_RB
appear_VB
to_IN
assist_VB
in_IN
her_PP$
subterfuge_NN
and_CC
realistically_RB
serve_VB
as_CS
audience-friendly_RB
comic_JJ
relief_NN
._.
they're_???
affable_JJ
presences_NNS
,_,
and_CC
not_XNOT
precisely_RB
ineffective_JJ
--_???
reasonable_JJ
amounts_NNS
of_IN
humour_NN
are_BER
elicited_VBN
,_,
and_CC
eddie_NP
murphy_NP
(_(
who_WP
voices_NNS
mushu_???
)_(
is_BEZ
amusingly_JJ
earnest_JJ
--_???
but_CC
amidst_IN
all_PDT
the_DT
high_JJ
melodrama_NN
,_,
the_DT
effect_NN
is_BEZ
mildly_RB
jarring_VBG
and_CC
,_,
from_IN
a_DT
storytelling_NN
perspective_NN
,_,
questionable_JJ
in_IN
its_PP$
necessity_NN
._.
at_IN
training_NN
camp_NN
,_,
mulan_NP
antagonizes_NNS
and_CC
eventually_RB
wins_VBZ
over_IN
a_DT
trio_NN
of_IN
fumbling_VBG
recruits_NNS
(_(
easily_RB
characterized_VBN
simply_RB
as_IN
the_DT
short_JJ
clown_NN
,_,
the_DT
skinny_JJ
clown_NN
,_,
and_CC
the_DT
big_JJ
clown_NN
)_)
,_,
who_WP
provide_VB
more_DT
levity_NN
into_IN
the_DT
film_NN
with_IN
decidedly_RB
less_DT
effectiveness_NN
,_,
and_CC
,_,
in_IN
a_DT
familiar_JJ
retread_NN
of_IN
traditional_JJ
disney_NP
patterns_NNS
,_,
she_PP
grows_VBZ
a_DT
certain_JJ
fondness_NN
for_IN
a_DT
handsome_JJ
,_,
square-jawed_VBD
young_JJ
captain_NN
,_,
shang_NP
._.
everybody_PN
needs_VBZ
love_NN
,_,
even_RB
ancient_JJ
chinese_JJ
warrior_NN
princesses_NNS
,_,
but_CC
not_XNOT
necessarily_RB
in_IN
*_???
this_DT
*_???
film_NN
._.
the_DT
romantic_JJ
angle_NN
,_,
which_WDT
lets_VBZ
the_DT
air_NN
out_RP
of_IN
the_DT
sails_NNS
of_IN
the_DT
story_NN
's_POS
neo-feminist_NN
underpinnings_NNS
,_,
lacks_VBZ
any_DT
genuine_JJ
spark_NN
and_CC
plays_VBZ
out_RP
like_IN
a_DT
contractual_JJ
obligation_NN
._.
another_DT
staple_NN
of_IN
recent_JJ
disney_NP
animated_JJ
films_NNS
,_,
a_DT
cache_NN
of_IN
hummable_JJ
little_JJ
ditties_NNS
,_,
has_HVZ
also_RB
obligingly_RB
been_BEN
carried_VBN
over_IN
to_IN
mulan_NP
but_CC
proves_VBZ
to_TO
be_BE
a_DT
decided_VBN
weakness_NN
._.
composed_VBN
by_IN
matthew_NP
wilder_JJR
,_,
none_PN
of_IN
the_DT
handful_NN
of_IN
tunes_NNS
are_BER
particularly_RB
distinguishing_VBG
,_,
and_CC
one_CD
--_???
"_"
i'll_???
make_NN
a_DT
man_NN
out_RP
of_IN
you_PP
"_"
(_(
unimaginatively_RB
accompanying_JJ
a_DT
tired_JJ
montage_NN
featuring_VBG
our_PP$
crew_NN
of_IN
characters_NNS
transforming_VBG
into_IN
lean_JJ
fighting_NN
machines_NNS
)_)
--_???
becomes_VBZ
so_RB
grating_JJ
and_CC
hackneyed_JJ
that_CS
it_PP
seems_VBZ
almost_RB
interminable_JJ
._.
only_RB
"_"
reflections_NNS
"_"
,_,
an_DT
early_JJ
ballad_NN
of_IN
lament_VB
,_,
proves_VBZ
to_IN
be_BE
a_DT
song_NN
of_IN
any_DT
consequence_NN
,_,
serving_VBG
as_IN
an_DT
effective_JJ
showcase_NN
for_IN
lea_NP
salonga_NP
,_,
one_CD
of_IN
musical_JJ
theatre_NN
's_POS
most_DT
wondrously_RB
pure_JJ
voices_NNS
._.
nonetheless_RB
,_,
mulan_NP
is_BEZ
an_DT
especially_RB
appealing_JJ
piece_NN
of_IN
work_NN
from_IN
the_DT
disney_NP
factory_NN
,_,
with_IN
a_DT
strong_JJ
narrative_NN
arc_NN
and_CC
pleasant_JJ
artwork_NN
;_;
the_DT
computer-generated_JJ
stampede_NN
of_IN
hun_???
warriors_NNS
charging_JJ
down_IN
a_DT
snow_NN
mountain_NN
is_BEZ
wholly_RB
impressive_JJ
._.
while_CS
the_DT
blatantly_RB
child-friendly_JJ
elements_NNS
at_IN
times_NNS
seem_VB
incongruous_JJ
with_IN
the_DT
remainder_NN
of_IN
the_DT
film_NN
,_,
they're_???
not_XNOT
dissuasive_CD
and_CC
remain_VB
fairly_RB
enjoyable_JJ
._.
briskly_RB
paced_VBD
with_IN
a_DT
smart_JJ
,_,
energetic_JJ
heroine_NN
and_CC
filled_VBN
with_IN
high_JJ
adventure_NN
,_,
the_DT
film_NN
is_BEZ
ultimately_RB
most_DT
satisfying_JJ
on_IN
the_DT
intimate_JJ
scale_NN
of_IN
father_NN
and_CC
daughter_NN
._.