The Huns In Disney's Mulan

Decent Essays

1.1 The Huns

From the very beginning the Huns in Disney's Mulan are portrayed as evil incarnate. In the opening scenes, they are associated with an eerie atmosphere heightened by ominous sounds. The Huns do not appear immediately; they are introduced by suspense, preceded by the appearance of a bird of prey. A Chinese soldier, standing guard on the Great Wall of China is not even attacked by the falcon, he is caught by its wing, almost as if the Huns were trying to warn their enemies of their arrival, showing that they do not fear the resistance.

Fig. 1. Hayabusa the falcon. Walt Disney Animation Studios, 1998. Author’s screenshot.

The picture that emerges is either that of the incompetent Chinese soldiers or an unknown danger, sneaking around, undetectable even by trained eyes. As the falcon, which the audience later learns belongs to the main antagonist, is the primary signal of an impending threat, the first climbing hook thrown over the wall is supposed to draw attention towards the place from where the enemy comes. The multitude of hooks that follows is just meant to build up the atmosphere and intimidate both, the audience and the Chines soldiers in the cartoon. For one moment they look like a swarm, ready to attack. It is clear now that the threat is extremely deadly, as the Huns come out of nowhere, in the …show more content…

Interestingly, the hierarchy of the army coincides with the fact that the audience does not see the majority of the Hun soldiers as individual characters. Only Shan Yu and his elite warriors are shown in more detail, depicted as worthy of the attention. This major lack of specificity brings the association with a swarm of insects; the Hun soldiers are not only deprived of their humanity, but also their status as primates is uncertain. As a group they are no longer animal-like, but they create a giant entity, like a colony in a

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