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Mulan /Mulan II (blu ray): two features in one set, with average non-striking transfer and audio, worst with Mulan II!
on March 13, 2013
Mulan (blu ray):
'Mulan' arrives on blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.68:1 encode. The transfer is perfectly pleasant and wonderfully filmic. The disarming watercolour palette evokes ancient Chinese art, yet still allows more vibrant sequences (the third-act celebration and kidnapping for example) to showcase rich primaries, vivid hues and deep, inky blacks. Detail is excellent as well, with crisp line art, gorgeous painted backgrounds. Disney did not boost its contrast and is faithful to its original design. (4.5/5)
Mulan II (blu ray):
'Mulan II' is a direct-to-video animation on a low budget, and comes with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.78:1 encode. 'Mulan II' is a bit more washed out, with duller contrast and dustier colours than 'Mulan.' Disney again did not crank up the contrasts and embolden the colours. It simply presents the film as is, flaws and all. Line art and other subtleties in the animation have been preserved without fault, black levels are reasonably deep. Overall, it is an average non-striking transfer. (3.5/5)
'Mulan' comes with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio lossless track, which is refined and rewarding. Dialogue is clean, notably grounded and perfectly intelligible, precisely prioritized and, above all, unwavering, even in the face of roaring avalanches and chaotic battles. Directional effects are convincing and accurate, while pans are silky smooth and the soundfield is enveloping. (4/5)
'Mulan II' can't compete, no matter how technically proficient its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track may be. Dialogue is clear. The sound is not enveloping like Mulan. I feel this is also a low budget audio. (3/5)
I do not appreciate that both 'Mulan' and 'Mulan II' are combined into one BD-50 disc. I also do not appreciate that the two DVDs (one for each movie) are stacked one on top of the other. Poor (and cheap) packaging!
For collectors, it was nice of Disney to put the 2 volumes of 'Mulan' into one set. Since I was going to buy 'Mulan' no matter of what, the addition of 'Mulan II' now feels like a bonus. I bought this when the price has dropped to $29.99, and there was a $8 off when I bundled it with 'Wreck-It Ralph 3D' blu ray (my review elsewhere)(its price also dropped to $27.99). 'Mulan' was not the top-tiered feature in the Disney vault and did not get the proper restoration, and was presented as it was. OK but not outstanding. This set is still recommended.