HRadford

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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    Mulan - What sets the 1998 classic apart from its fellows?

    Analyse and discuss what makes Mulan different from (and arguably better/richer than) other Disney movies. Factors to discuss include the incredible historical story (based off a real Chinese legend), the fantastic music and most importantly, the heroine. Mulan is brave, smart and selfless. This is a girl who risks her life to save her father, serves her country and even saves her male love interest (rather than the other way around). She fights well physically but combines this stereotypically male approach with creative smarts and subtle tactics which represent a more feminine approach. Her character is not reduced to a basic caricature such as tomboy, sassy cynic, ladylike woman, or silly gushing girl. Mulan is a fantastic, multifaceted personality and the movie celebrates this by showing that Mulan succeeds ultimately because she embraces her whole self and brings a unique perspective and approach situations. It is arguable that no other Disney movie has quite lived up to quality of Mulan, whether by story, music or heroine standards.

    • Love the topic! It might also be beneficial to compare/contrast Mulan to other Disney women. For example, Ariel saves Eric's life--but she's also whiny, headstrong, and spoiled, unlike Mulan. Belle selflessly sacrifices her freedom for her dad, but doesn't stand up to the Beast or fight physically, the way Mulan does in serving/saving her country. Esmeralda also saves her male love interest but is arguably "reduced to...a sassy cynic" in a lot of her scenes. Additionally, discuss the facets of Mulan's personality--compare when she's more traditionally feminine vs. when she's trying to pass herself off as a man, and how/if her personality changes. – Stephanie M. 3 years ago
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    • Interesting, but for the person who picks this up, just remember that there are A LOT of articles on this site about Disney women. I suggest you read all of them and figure out how this one stands out from the rest. – Christen Mandracchia 3 years ago
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    • The fact that it's a war movie makes her character stand out most. She's socially awkward and clumsy, but she still joins the army to save her father. That takes sacrifice and courage on its own, but she later grows more confidant and takes more risks. She even taking leadership in the final battle. Like you said, her character isn't based on some trope, she's just doing what needs to be done. Her humility is another admirable trait, as seen when she turns down a position in the palace to return home. What makes her realistic is how she reflects real-life soldiers. They know the sacrifice they're making, but they would give anything to see their families again. We didn't have a character arc like Mulan's until Moana came out eighteen years later. – MaryJane 3 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    Love this article, I am a chronic re-reader. In terms of David Galef’s gain-loss phenomenon, for me that is the clinching consideration in deciding whether to re-read. Some adrenaline-fuelled books full of plot twists I have not re-read because I know the experience would be less than full. In contrast, I am always dawn back to re-reading whole books or certain sequences that I am sure will never lose their potency. I was just re-reading a chapter about a mid-war bush hike from one of the Tomorrow When the War Began books. I return to things like that because something about the vivid nature of the world and characters means that every time you cast your net back into the story, the catch is always the same (or better!). The integrity of those kinds of works will never be in danger. Thanks for the great article, it really makes you think about why we do return so often to the books we love!

    Why Reread Books? The Pros and Cons of Rereading

    This is a fantastic article! I think this is one of the reasons I loved Sherlock Holmes so much – the central relationship was a friendship between two men that was purely platonic. So true today that romantic relationships often take centre stage leading to a dearth of deep, healthy and loving friendships on television.

    Relationship Entertainment: Navigating the Struggle between Romance and Friendship on TV

    I was actually discussing this the other day with a group while watching the old Hornblower series. It’s incredible because the first episode was made in 1998 but there’s something so real in the depictions of the boats and the sea battles. I looked it up and they used actual replica ships and a range of models including a 1.4 tonne model with working cannons fired by remote control! It’s funny that I’m so much more impressed by the look and feel of Hornblower, made in 1998, than the new Jungle Book with it’s colourful collection of CGI characters. Thanks for the great article, it’s interesting to know so many others also see today’s reliance on CGI as something of a step-down in film making.

    Does CGI Benefit Special Effects or Detract From Them?