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Section Header
1998 Regulars

1999 Promo

2001 Bootleg

Score Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Score Orchestrated by:
Alexander Courage

Songs Composed by:
Matthew Wilder

Song Lyrics by:
David Zippel

Labels and Dates:
Walt Disney Records (Commercial)
(June 2nd, 1998)

Walt Disney Records (Promo)
(February, 1999)


Also See:
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Air Force One
Star Trek: First Contact
First Knight
The 13th Warrior
The Mummy

Audio Clips:
Regular American Album:

6. Suite from "Mulan" (0:28):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (226K)
Real Audio (140K)

7. Attack at the Wall (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Promo Album:

9. Short Hair (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

33. The Pendant (0:25):
WMA (166K)  MP3 (201K)
Real Audio (131K)

The 1998 commercial CD was a regular U.S. release. An international variant, likely with a different cover depending on your country, often included two additional tracks equaling 5 minutes of music. The promotional release containing Goldsmith's complete score was a rare "For Your Consideration" pressing sent by Disney to voting Academy members in February, 1999. The promo sold in 1999 auctions at a range from $150 to $400, but has since declined in value. Bootleg albums followed a few years later, and these often differed in contents, arrangement, and track order.

  The score was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. The song "Reflection" was also nominated for a Golden Globe. The song "True to Your Heart" was nominated for a Grammy Award.

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Sales Rank: 20527

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Buy it... on the commercial albums if you seek an essentially competent collection of songs and score from the film.

Avoid it... on the commercial albums and seek the promos or bootlegs if you want the finer individual moments of choral beauty and electronic experimentation in Jerry Goldsmith's score.

Mulan: (Jerry Goldsmith/Matthew Wilder) With the freshly minted Pixar creeping up behind them and the glory days of their collaboration with composer Alen Menken concluding with a foul note for Hercules in 1997, Disney revisited the formula that gave them success with The Lion King. Putting Menken on ice until a failed attempt to resurrect his success in 2004's Home on the Range, Disney decided to approach a mainstream composer with whom the film could be scored with more serious music than Menken tended to provide. For the songs, Disney solicited the Broadway sound from Matthew Wilder and a touch of The Joy Luck Club sound from Rachel Portman, whose Oscar-won popularity was at its height. Because of Portman's pregnancy early in the process, however, Disney made an odd, but rewarding call to veteran Jerry Goldsmith, who had not scored an animated film since The Secret of N.I.M.H. in the early 1980's. He would provide an ethnically heroic and heart-pounding adventure score, rich with its own themes and creative use of percussion and synthetics. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Mulan from the perspective of a Disney collector is the complete disconnect between the themes of the songs and those of the score. While Goldsmith recorded a suite of music that combined a few of the song themes with his own, the actual underscore is completely unrelated to Wilder's tunes. Those songs are decent at best, generally considered functional if not unnecessary. Unlike the unbelievably bizarre gospel approach that Disney chose to take with the Greek themes in Hercules, Mulan's songs are appropriately dramatic and contain elements of Chinese influence in their instrumentation. Gone is the traditional prologue song, which will be a disappointment for some, and the commercial album therefore starts directly in with one of the film's weaker songs at its opening. The quantity has also shifted, with only five songs appearing in the film and none of them receiving the normal reprise that these musicals typically offer.

Especially when compared to Goldsmith's score, the Wilder songs are easily an afterthought in Mulan. But they are generally listenable; the employment of percussion and woodwinds in the songs are vital in portraying the Chinese setting, and the showtunes style of simplistic thematic progressions will appeal to the kids. At the forefront, "Reflection" is almost a mirror of the hero's song in Hercules (especially when you strip away the ethnic instrumentation), but it's performed here with better texture and sincerity, losing that sappy and now-corny Menken sound. The pop version of this song at the end is almost identical to the original in-film version, but with the usual electronically boosted base and synthetic chimes. "I'll Make a Man Out of You" breaks up the slower pace of the songs with a jazzy touch, though the comical piece performed by Harvey Fierstein ("A Girl Worth Fighting For") proves that people with annoying speaking voices don't sound any better when they sing. On the other hand, there are no wildly unrestrained comedy numbers in Mulan, and the lack of completely ridiculous dancing numbers performed by gargoyles, muses, etc, is welcomed. The only unforgivable blunder in the songs of Mulan is the Stevie Wonder performance of "True to Your Heart," a totally unnecessary rock piece that has no business in context with the other material. As a pure marketing and selling technique by Disney, the inclusion of such trash is very unfortunate. As previously mentioned, there is a disconnect between the songs and score. Two of the songs are prominently adapted by Goldsmith into his 7-minute suite of music from the film, along with the introduction of his own three primary ideas. Not often do the Disney albums feature sparkling, fully orchestral versions of its songs, but Goldsmith works wonders with Wilder's material for this short amount of time. One of the lingering debates about Goldsmith's career involves what would have happened if Disney had hired him to also write his own songs for one of their musicals. That one will never be answered.

Even if Wilder's songs are only adequate, Goldsmith's score is superb. He pours on the symphonic power, creative percussion, and electronic accompaniment for one of the most dramatically engaging scores of the final years of his career. Prominently bold throughout the film, the score is epic in scope and thematic development. His theme for the title character is an elegantly rising and falling seven-note structure easily identifiable in any situation. A love theme with a momentous performance at the end of the suite is rich with references to other Goldsmith scores. And a third, battle motif accompanies the numerous action sequences in the score. The theme for Mulan is remarkably simplistic but effective, receiving a controversial and defiant expression in the scene in which Mulan cuts her hair and goes to war. Often performed by bold mid-range brass, this theme is the glue holding the score together, and the variants with which Goldsmith expands upon it for extended performances are all enjoyable. The love theme is more sparsely heard, though it makes a grand impact late in the film, when it is given full choral treatment. It combines the nobility and drama of the Air Force One and Star Trek: First Contact themes with some of the drum-pounding bravado of First Knight, and less enthusiastic Goldsmith listeners may be bothered by those self-references. Compounding this situation is the use of the chorus in "The Pendant," which seems quite similar in tone and progression to Goldsmith's popular conclusion to Rudy. The battle music extends the use of brass and timpani to the same levels that shook the floors in the battle sequences for First Knight (and they foreshadow several parts of The 13th Warrior). Lighter moments are equally intelligent with delightful trumpet work at the outset of "The Master Plan" and a fantastic mix of high metallic percussion and synthetic tingling in "Bogus Letter." Goldsmith's synthesized sounds return to the days of Legend, though they serve as better accompaniment here in a secondary role.

Overall, Goldsmith's return to the genre of animation put Menken's music to shame at the time, and the score has aged well. Long after Wilder's songs have been forgotten, the massive orchestral score by Goldsmith sets this 1990's Disney musical apart from the rest. After starting 1998 with two generally poor scores, his music for Mulan could have been mistaken for a dramatic epic, and that alone is the best compliment anyone could give to any Disney musical's score. While most film music collectors predicted an easy Oscar win for Goldsmith (only his second overall), he was beaten by Stephen Warbeck's Shakespeare in Love as it swept through the awards. Sadly, Mulan would be Goldsmith's final Oscar nomination before his death in 2004. Also enormously frustrating for fans of the composer was the album situation for Mulan, a situation that remains confusing at best. Goldsmith wrote just over 50 minutes of score for Mulan, a lengthy effort for a Disney musical, but that material was cut an rearranged badly for the commercial albums. When subtracting the seven minute suite arranged for the album, only 25+ minutes of actual underscore from the film was present on the American album release. That material was also badly cut into pieces and placed together to form mini-suites of each type of music for the film, meaning that the music heard in "Attack at the Wall" or "The Huns Attack" will include material not relating to those scenes. The international commercial release of Mulan (mainly sold in Europe) contained an extra five minutes of material, including the most notable omission of score --albeit short-- from the American album. The minute-long "Haircut" cue was the most troubling for Goldsmith and the filmmakers to agree upon, and with several variants of the cue recorded, this album provides one of the variants (along with "Mulan's Decision," which is the same cue but without the rock rhythm and instrumentation). The other addition to the international album was the inclusion of yet another vocal performance the Wilder song "Reflection."

As you might expect, Goldsmith fans were not pleased with either of these albums. To both the delight and frustration of Goldsmith fans, a promotional release of Mulan was officially pressed by Disney Records and sent to Academy members in early 1999 for their consideration in the voting for Best Original Comedy/Musical Score nominees. Only a limited number of these were pressed, and an original copy has always been difficult to obtain; it is noteworthy as well for containing only a picture disc and no front cover to the jewel case (tracks are listed with limited information on the back). Goldsmith himself had no involvement with this promo. It contains the full 52 minutes of his score, minus the suite arrangement presented on the commercial releases, as well as the six songs that actually appear in the film. As a faithful representation of the music in the film, the promo is superior in the fact that it is unadulterated. Cues are understandably short and will jar some listeners accustomed to the suites of score cues on the commercial albums. Because the promo came directly from Disney, the sound quality is crisp and bold. For the majority of people familiar with only the commercial products, the most important additions on the promo (outside of "Short Hair," which you may have already heard if you bought a non-American product) will be the final three tracks, which include the choral climax of the score (the only section to contain any exclusive choral work in Mulan). Also more evident on the promo will be some of the lighter percussive sequences and solo woodwind performances likely deemed too uninteresting for the commercial products. On the other hand, the promo's major weakness was that it did not contain that 7-minute suite that Goldsmith recorded for the commercial CDs. Because that suite contains some of the best recorded music from the film (and forms the bridge between the score and songs), fans of the film will be best served by seeking both the commercial and promo albums.

American Album:
Only $11.99
The only difference in presentation quality between the various albums relates to the end credits pop song. Aguilera's performance seems to be mixed more poorly on the commercial product, with better balance at the end of the promo. Score fans shouldn't fuss about this difference, though. The promo was perhaps the last great collectible before the era of CDr's began making bootlegging an easy endeavor. The frustration regarding that promo often related to its market price. When it began floating in auctions and at specialty outlets, it fetched prices in the range of $150. By April, 1999, however, the promo was selling at online auctions for sums around $400, eclipsing the prices paid for any other Academy promo at the time (in fact, it was speculated that a price that high would never again be paid for an Academy promo given the debut of CDr's). The score probably wasn't worth that amount of money regardless of its strengths, and popular Academy promos have since regularly sold in the $50 range. Fans, of course, took it upon themselves to solve some of their own problems by once again rearranging the music into a Goldsmith-only product. In the following years, a bootleg claiming to be promotional emerged, and this product dumped the Wilder songs completely, arranged the score back into some of Goldsmith's formats for the commercial albums, and tacked on eight alternate recordings of various cues at the end. The sound quality of this product is once again very good, though the alternate performances are really the only reason to seek this bootleg. The most significant hype here surrounds the three overall performances of the cue played when Mulan cuts her hair. Alternately titled "Mulan's Decision," "Haircut," and "Short Hair," you can hear Goldsmith struggling with this cue to find the right sound of "coolness" for the scene of defiance. The bootleg contains the variants heard in the film and on commercial album, as well as another performance that exists in between them in their electronic emphasis. The majority of listeners won't be blown away by the alternate takes (much like the Star Trek: First Contact bootleg albums), and most will even be satisfied by the commercial albums. If you appreciate the film's version of the haircut sequence and the two primary choral performances at the end, though, the original promo will suffice. Joel McNeely's fine score for the straight-to-video Mulan II would include none of Goldsmith's thematic material. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Score: *****
    Songs: ***
    Commercial Albums: ****
    Promotional Album: ****
    Bootleg Albums: ****
    Overall: ****

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.26 (in 138,497 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.96 Stars
Smart Average: 3.7 Stars*
***** 4847 
**** 2426 
*** 1523 
** 832 
* 685 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
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   American Regular Release
  Colin Y. -- 1/22/07 (1:43 p.m.)
  Rende -- 10/14/06 (7:41 a.m.)
   Trade Mulan Promo for Yared's Troy
  Carlos -- 7/21/06 (9:57 a.m.)
   Re: lyrics to Reflection
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 Track Listings (1998 Commercial American Release): Total Time: 51:27

• 1. Honor to Us All - song (3:03)
• 2. Reflection - song (2:27)
• 3. I'll Make a Man Out of You - song (3:21)
• 4. A Girl Worth Fighting For - song (2:26)
• 5. True to Your Heart (Single) - performed by 98 Degrees and Stevie Wonder (4:16)
• 6. Suite from "Mulan"* (7:06)
• 7. Attack at the Wall** (4:59)
• 8. Mulan's Decision** (3:23)
• 9. Blossoms** (6:27)
• 10. The Huns Attack** (4:30)
• 11. The Burned-Out Village** (5:53)
• 12. Reflection (Pop Version) - performed by Christina Aguilera (3:36)

* Jerry Goldsmith score not used in film
** Jerry Goldsmith score

 Track Listings (1998 Commercial International Release): Total Time: 56:16

• 1. True to Your Heart (Single) - performed by 98 Degrees and Stevie Wonder (4:17)
• 2. Reflection - performed by Vanessa Mae (3:37)
• 3. Honor to Us All - song (3:03)
• 4. Reflection - song (2:26)
• 5. I'll Make a Man Out of You - song (3:22)
• 6. A Girl Worth Fighting For - song (2:26)
• 7. Haircut** (1:18)
• 8. Suite from Mulan* (7:05)
• 9. Attack at the Wall** (4:58)
• 10. Mulan's Decision** (3:22)
• 11. Blossoms** (6:27)
• 12. The Huns Attack** (4:28)
• 13. The Burned-Out Village** (5:52)
• 14. Reflection (Pop Version) - performed by Christina Aguilera (3:35)

* Jerry Goldsmith score not used in film
** Jerry Goldsmith score

 Track Listings (1999 Promotional Release): Total Time: 70:14

• 1. Honor to Us All - song (3:03)
• 2. Reflection - song (2:11)
• 3. Man Out of You - song (3:21)
• 4. A Girl Worth Fighting For - song (2:26)
• 5. True to your Heart - song (3:13)
• 6. Attack on the Wall (2:15)
• 7. Preparation (2:55)
• 8. The Matchmaker (1:54)
• 9. Short Hair (3:17)
• 10. One Chance (1:22)
• 11. The Master Plan (1:00)
• 12. Shan Yu (1:00)
• 13. Blossoms (3:05)
• 14. Shoulders Back (1:56)
• 15. Ping (0:58)
• 16. The Real Work (1:49)
• 17. Morning Assembly (1:10)
• 18. Deserted Village (1:07)
• 19. Bogus Letter (0:57)
• 20. Letter Delivered (0:39)
• 21. The Doll Survives (3:16)
• 22. Save the Cannons (1:20)
• 23. The Huns Attack (1:54)
• 24. Avalanche (2:38)
• 25. What's Wrong with Ping (2:44)
• 26. Truth all Around (3:25)
• 27. Imperial Palace (1:34)
• 28. The Imperial Palace (0:43)
• 29. Sword Snatcher (0:44)
• 30. Boo (2:31)
• 31. A Lucky Bug (2:41)
• 32. Gratitude (1:14)
• 33. The Pendant (0:45)
• 34. The Sword (1:17)
• 35. Reflection - song (3:34)

 Track Listings (2001 Bootlegs): Total Time: 76:50

• 1. Main Title (1:09)
• 2. Attack at the Wall (2:15)
• 3. Preparations (2:55)
• 4. The Matchmaker (1:54)
• 5. Blossoms (3:05)
• 6. Short Hair (3:17)
• 7. One Chance (1:22)
• 8. The Master Plan (1:00)
• 9. Shan Yu (1:00)
• 10. Shoulders Back (1:56)
• 11. Ping (0:58)
• 12. The Real Work (1:50)
• 13. Morning Assembly (1:10)
• 14. Deserted Village (1:06)
• 15. Bogus Letter (0:57)
• 16. Letter Delivered (0:38)
• 17. The Doll Survives (3:16)
• 18. Save the Cannons (1:20)
• 19. The Huns Attack (1:53)
• 20. Avalanche (2:38)
• 21. What's Wrong With Ping? (2:44)
• 22. Truth All Around (3:25)
• 23. Imperial Palace (1:34)
• 24. The Imperial Palace (0:44)
• 25. Sword Snatcher (0:43)
• 26. Boo (2:31)
• 27. A Lucky Bug (2:41)
• 28. Gratitude (1:14)
• 29. The Pendant (0:45)
• 30. The Sword (1:17)
• 31. The Matchmaker (Alternate) (1:56)
• 32. Short Hair (Alternate 1) (4:05)
• 33. Short Hair (Alternate 2) (3:17)
• 34. One Chance (Alternate) (1:27)
• 35. The Master Plan (Alternate) (1:01)
• 36. Ping (Alternate) (1:01)
• 37. Avalanche (Alternate) (2:31)
• 38. Mulan's Decision (1:12)
• 39. Suite from Mulan (7:03)

(contents, arrangement, and track order differ between the variants of this bootleg)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The commercial album inserts include extensive credits and lyrics to each song.

    Lyrics to "Reflection (Pop Version)":

    Look at me
    You may think you see
    who I really am
    But you'll never know me
    Every day
    It's as if I play a part
    Now I see
    If I wear a mask
    I can fool the world
    But I cannot fool
    my heart

    Who is that girl I see
    Staring straight back at me?
    When will my reflection show
    who I am inside?

    I am now in a world
    where I have to
    hide my heart
    And what I believe in
    But somehow
    I will show the world
    what's inside my heart
    And be loved for who I am

    Who is that girl I see
    staring straight back at me?
    Why is my reflection
    someone I don't know?
    Must I pretend that I'm
    someone else for all time?
    When will my reflection show
    who I am inside?

    There's a heart that must
    be free to fly
    That burns with a need
    to know the reason why
    Why must we all conceal
    What we think
    How we feel?
    Must there be a secret me
    I'm forced to hide?

    I won't pretend that I'm
    someone else
    For all time
    When will my reflection show
    who I am inside?
    When will my reflection show
    who I am inside?

  All artwork and sound clips from Mulan are Copyright © 1998, Walt Disney Records (Commercial), Walt Disney Records (Promo), Bootleg. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/2/98 and last updated 7/7/07. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.