Let’s get down to business and discuss the new live-action Mulan.
Disney’s latest crack at a live-action version of an animated classic was released for premiere access on Sept. 4, 2020 on their streaming site, Disney+. The adaptation was first announced back in 2015, but due to other movies in the company’s lineup and the COVID-19 pandemic, it was ultimately pushed back.
The movie had beautiful scenery, action-packed fights and centered around a female war hero storyline proving to be one of Disney’s better live-action remakes. Although there were major differences in the storyline from the original movie and some mistakes on the writer’s part and it wasn’t as amazing as the original movie, Hua Mulan still proved to be the embodiment of what a true hero is.
In the beginning, she is a girl being forced by her family into an arranged marriage. When China is invaded by the Huns, the emperor declares one man from each family must serve in the Imperial Army, so she takes her father’s place by pretending to be a man.
While on this journey, Mulan proves to every misogynistic male out there that her gender does not equal how good you are at fighting, all that matters is her ability to fight and protect her country. The actress who plays Mulan, Liu Yifei, does a tremendous job as the character. Liu’s background in martial arts and previous action movie experience gave her the power to execute this role perfectly.
Standing alongside Liu as Mulan’s potential love interest Chen Honghui is Yoson An.
Niki Caro, the director, took a huge risk not including Mushu and other original characters. He was a spunky, sarcastic dragon who aided Mulan on her journey in the original 1998 movie. Although he was one of the main comedic reliefs in the original, if he was in this movie it would’ve thrown off the entire movie’s vibe.
It was a similar case with the music and romance as well. Having little to no romance in this version was a smart choice, because it felt more inspiring to see a woman protecting herself instead of a man doing it for her. If the characters sang half the movie it would’ve thrown off the vibe too, but a little singing here and there would’ve been nice to remind people that it’s still a Disney film, despite its darker storyline.
Because of that storyline, it’s no surprise it’s rated PG-13, a first for a Disney live-action remake. Another thing worth noting, the budget for this film was $200 million, the most expensive movie directed by a female to date.
Caro did an excellent job making the movie come to life. She focused on the original tale of Mulan, which paid off in the end, despite the backlash and anger from many fans across the world.
Each version of the movie is amazing in its own rights, but something major this one failed in was hiring the right people. While yes, Caro did an amazing job directing the film, she was also white. And so was almost every other person working for the movie. None of the writers, producers or even the costume designers are Chinese or even Asian, which is strange considering this movie takes place in historical China.
While the remake was not as horrible as everyone said it would be, it’s not quite on the same level as the original. But despite all the intense backlash, incorrect hiring choices and changes to the story, this movie brought to life an empowering female warrior who inspires girls and women everywhere. It’s currently available on Disney+ for $30, on top of the subscription to the streaming service, but will become available to everyone free of charge Dec. 4.