Okay. So there’s a theory out there about this movie that I’m going to throw out to you all. I’m not sure I agree with it, but at the same time, I’m not sure I don’t. It really makes a lot of sense if you think about it, but I fairly confident it was not a planned story by the creators of the movie. But it certainly fits. So here goes.
The Great Stone Dragon is featured three times in the movie: First, Mulan stands beside the statue when she sings about how she wishes her outside would match her inside, and that her actions and appearances were in line with her inner character. Second, Mulan sits on the base of the statue watching her father pass his final night before going off to war, it is here that she makes her decision to take his place. And the third time is when the ancestors attempt – and fail – to awaken the spirit.
So why does the statue crumble? Because it’s empty. Because the spirit of the Great Stone Dragon has already awakened and given Mulan the strength she needed to make her decision and go to war in her father’s stead. Mulan woke the dragon (calm down, Viserys) when she sang ‘Reflection’ beside him, and he gave her his spirit when she sat in the rain watching her father, passing to her all of the strength of the Great Stone Dragon. So when the ancestors try to wake him, he’s already gone.
Anyway that’s the theory. As I said, I don’t know that I buy into it, but it certainly makes a lot of sense.