There's a lot of late-90s savvy in this enormously refreshing animated musical, in which a young woman in China puts on armor, does her hair like a guy, and shows up for boot camp in place of her ailing father, who's been drafted to fight the Huns because he's the only male in the family. Though male characters freak out about effeminacy, are threatened by a powerful female, and nearly cue the audience to be horrified when a man's attracted to the cross-dressed warrior, these tropes are fervently debunked one after another. It's also surprising to see confident characters who refrain from behaving like Jell-O when they fall in love. The fast-paced narrative culminates in a killer battle scene—a major thrill largely because the filmmakers have painstakingly made believable the idea that a woman could save the day with her ingenuity and fearlessness. Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft directed a screenplay by Rita Hsiao, Christopher Sanders, Philip LaZebnik, Raymond Singer, and Eugenia Bostwick-Singer (1998).
Director: Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft
Producer: Pam Coats
Cast: Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, B.D. Wong, Miguel Ferrer, Harvey Fierstein, Beth Fowler, George Takei, Lea Salonga, Donny Osmond, Jerry Tondo, Gedde Watanabe, Matthew Wilder, James Hong, Soon-Tek Oh, Freda Shen, Pat Morita and June Foray