the switch from ‘a girl worth fighting for’ to coming upon the decimated village in mulan is THE MOST kick-in-the-teeth mood change IN ALL OF CINEMA
That scene shift did more for our generation’s understanding of the horror of war in ten seconds than Game of Thrones did in eight seasons, and it did it without showing us a single dead body.
OKAY BUT HOLD ON THOUGH.
I’ve spent the past… five? Let’s say five – the past five years analyzing the structure of Disney Musicals as part of the process to write my own/a parody of them, and the thing is that all the modern ones have roughly the same number of songs – except Mulan.
Mulan has about half, because after AGWFF ends with that unresolved final phrase, there are no more songs until the end credits, which isn’t even sung in-universe.
Mulan wasn’t even the REALM of fucking around – when they arrive at that village, when the true horrors of war are brought into the story, not only does it interrupt THAT song, it breaks the entire fucking mold – the movie’s damn genre changes; it is no longer a musical.
And the Huns represent this from the start – Jafar and Hades are notable for not having proper villain songs, but Jafar does get his Prince Ali refrain and Hades and his plan get sung ABOUT by the muses. No scene with the Huns has any singing, they are mentioned once in song (the second line of Man, natch), and they of all Disney Villains are probably the most serious – no jokes, no witty asides, no sassy delivery of dry humor. The Huns are an invading army who plan to straight up kill a fuckton of people, including children, and AGWFF’s sudden end is the moment when our happy go lucky MUSICAL protagonists finally come in contact with them and their work directly – and it breaks them. Because shit like the Huns cannot exist in happy go lucky musical world. They just exist in our world. The real world. And you can’t sing your problems away here.
The end of A Girl Worth Fighting For is a brilliant use of metanarrative sensibilities to convey a message. It is utterly perfect.
Daaaamn, Tony. That’s fucking deep, my guy
I didn’t spend two years and thousands of dollars on a Master’s Degree in literature to NOT over analyze every text I engage with.