Clearly, Disney has a whole host of amazing songs. From "Under the Sea" to "Circle of Life" to one of my favorites, "Aladdin's","One Jump." So what makes an amazing movie song? Well, a song in a musical has to do more than just a song in the background of a movie, or a song on the radio. A song in a musical needs to be good, catchy, and do everything a scene in a movie would do. It needs to advance the plot, and deepen our understanding of the characters.
So how does "I'll Make a Man Out of You" measure up? Well, "Let's get down to business." So I'll leave to you whether or not you find the song catchy, I am going to focus on how it impacts the story.
So for those of you who need a reminder, this song appears just shortly after Mulan joins the army, and they begin training. One of the main lessons of "Mulan" is that people of all genders should be treated equally. In this song we see the army as a whole failing until Li Shang tells Mulan to leave, she instead proves she belongs to be there, and this act turns the whole army around.
From here we see Mulan, and the rest of the army begin to succeed and pull together as a group. With this we see how Mulan is able to keep up with the rest of the army, the song acts as a microcosm of the whole movie, showing this message in the song, that is shown throughout the movie.
Not only does this song represent the lesson shown throughout the movie, but it also moves the plot, and characters forward.
Before the song, Mulan is an outcast, but with her act being what inspires the rest of the army she begins to be the leader she will be by the end of the movie. This is also where Mulan finds her confidence in herself, as well as some of the other members of the army who become more confident, and a more united group.
It is because the song does so much for the movie that I think it is the best Disney song, on top of being so incredibly memorable.
From getting to know so many of the characters, and seeing them grow, to also see the lesson of the movie play out over the course of the one song, this song manages to do a lot in a very small amount of time.
Finally, by the end of the song, the army is ready to confront the Huns! Now many songs are able to deepen our understanding of the character, like "Under the Sea" or set up the plot like "I Can't Wait to be King." But I feel you would be hard-pressed to find a song that does it all and is as memorable as "Mulan's" "I'll Make a Man Out of You."