Grab a seat… If you haven’t seen Disney’s Mulan and don’t want spoilers do not proceed
The new live-action Mulan released at the beginning of September. It was originally slated to be released in theaters but due to world events Disney decided to release it to Disney+, but it would cost subscribers an extra $29.99 to watch it. From the start, it seemed like it was a toss-up as to who would watch it. There were those who were mad because some characters from the original animated Mulan were removed from or adapted to fit the live-action remake. (Mushu, Li Shang, Cricket, etc.) Then those who didn’t care about these changes.
I always felt a mix between the two, but mostly I was excited. (You can read my trailer review post HERE.) I am from the generation where the original animated Mulan was a big part of my life. I know the songs and most of the movie dialog by heart. As more information about the movie released and the songs came out I personally got even more excited for Mulan to release. (You can read my music review post HERE.)
After waiting for what seemed like forever, and avoiding other people’s reviews, I finally got a chance to watch Mulan and I have to say I am disappointed. Why? Continue reading for my full review.
*Sighs while holding her head in her hands.* I may be in the minority in my view of the new live-action Mulan movie. Oh well. I went into Mulan with an open mind and heart, and I came out disappointed. In my view, the new live-action Mulan is at the bottom of all of the live-action remakes that Disney has done so far. Even the live-action Aladdin I feel is better than the new live-action Mulan. I want though to focus on three areas where I really felt the movie missed the mark.
From the start, I was confused as to the kind of Mulan Disney was going for in their live-action remake. In the animated version, Mulan was just a girl/woman who struggled and strived to protect and honor her family, and China. In the new live-action remake Mulan seemed to be a girl/woman with superpowers that she had to hide away because she was female. I got a lot of Star Wars Midriclorian vibes from it actually, and that is not what Qi is. Because of this, the character of Mulan lost half of her struggle and growth making her less of the regular women that so many girls/women relate too.
The movie also introduced, got rid of, or changed some of the characters from the animated movie. This I totally understand since some characters from animated movies do not translate well to live-action. I can understand changing Cricket, and I feel Disney did a good job switching his animal character to an actual human character. While I love Mushu from the animated Mulan he doesn’t really translate very well to live-action, but I feel the replacement of the phoenix could have been done better. In truth, I feel the movie would not have been affected in the least if the phoenix wasn’t in the movie.
My biggest issue though came in the character Xian Lang. She is a completely new character and I guess they felt she was necessary for helping to develop Mulan’s character and to help Mulan finally accept who she really is. (I guess an outward representation of Mulan’s inner struggle.) But they made Xian Lang a “witch” or a woman who has strong Qi. She has the power to morph into other people, animals, and has phenomenal fighting skills. Again, this is not what Qi is or does, and her character really doesn’t add anything to the movie. She could have been left out, and the movie would have been fine. I feel in changing/removing some of the characters the live-action Mulan lost some of its heart.
In the animated movie, Mulan fell in love with her superior officer Li Shang. Shang’s character helped Mulan to strive for more and be better. Yes, it might have been because she wanted to impress him or prove herself to him, but that happens in real life! Shang’s character also mirrored Mulan’s and showed Mulan that even men struggled and strived to bring honor to their families. In the live-action version, they got rid of Li Shang and replaced him with Chen Honghui a regular soldier alongside Mulan. Besides the fact that the “romance” seemed like a stretch on-screen again, the relationship did nothing to further Mulan’s character or the story.
But it’s not all bad/my rating
Disney’s Mulan is a visually stunning movie, and some of the fight scenes are beautifully choreographed. But even though Mulan is visually stunning a movie cannot rely on its visuals alone. I have to rate Disney’s Mulan a C+. On the flip side, I will say the individuals who put together the movie trailer did a fantastic job. Haha! The trailer, while showing you a little of the movie, is completely different from the actual movie. They made sure to make it close to the original animated movie, leaving out a lot of the changes they made, to draw you in.
Have you seen Disney’s Mulan yet? What did you think?
When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.