Or How I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the remake.
Mulan was no exception.
The original animated version of Mulan from 1998 is such a beloved Disney classic, with great characters, memorable songs and the perfect way to introduce children to Chinese culture (outside of maybe Kung Fu Panda, but that's something else entirely). It definitely brought honor to us all.
It was inevitable, when it would sooner or later get the chance to join the live-action medium. Disney has been updating their animated classics, and grounding them in realism with plenty of success here and there. So, it was only a matter of time.
While it had chances of success, it was unfairly sabotaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, which was something that Former President Donald Trump never took seriously, thanks ti his rallies and lies that it was a "hoax used by the democrats to prevent him from being reelected". Thankfully, our new president as of this time, Joe Biden will make this end a whole lot quicker.
It received positive reviews from professional film critics, who praised it for capturing the spirit of the original film, while adding some more new stuff in it, along with the visual style and the performances of the all-Asian cast, but had mixed feelings over it's screenplay.
However, it also divided internet "fans" who used the absense of the Mushu character and the lack of songs and even the decision to pay $30 on Disney+ to see it as excuses to review-bomb the film. My best guess is these "toxic trolls" don't know anything about Chinese culture. The backlash mostly came from American audiences. Said backlash in question, along with any controversy over the movie is unforgivable.
For this article, I am going to take a more objective look at this film from the perspective of someone who came into watching this version with no expectations, other than for it to be better than The Lion King reboot, not that that one was bad, it's just-- you know what? Let's just get this over with.
There may be some spoilers here so be prepared.
This film stars an all-Chinese cast consisting of Yifei Liu as the title role, along with Donnie Yen and Jet Li in supporting roles. Early on in Disney's announcement of the film, they said that they would be doing a worldwide search for a Chinese actress, with star power who speaks clear English to play Mulan. And I gotta say, they did such a good job with their performances, especially from the lead, she even looks just like Mulan.
Also, let me explain why this version of Mulan is more grounded in reality. For one thing, the reason for the lack of songs is because it would not be realistic enough for soldiers to break into song, while going into battle. However, the idea of splitting the Li Shang into 2 different characters, because of the #MeToo movement or anything like that is the only major flaw in this movie. Now granted, in my honest opinion, I feel that fanbases (especially on the internet) say inexecusable things about "unpopular changes" to established properties, because they've been ignoring the #MeToo movement.
Granted, I actually am a #MeToo supporter myself. I think, it would hard for someone to be the captain and fall in love at the same time in real life. Just get it over, guys.
Also, the absence of the character of Mushu is warranted, because Disney wanted this version to be a whole lot less American than the original. I have nothing against the character, just the complaint that it isn't culturally appropriate bugs me the most.
Honestly, I like that this version was more grounded in realism, because the story of Mulan has cultural significance to it. Now, the reason why this film went for something completely new in details is the same reason why The Passion of the Christ has no English-language dialogue. In other words, the original is so well known, that it would be hard to modernize such context. Maybe, I'm just getting carried away, but it's true.
Besides, in my honest personal opinion, I thinks it's fine that Disney took the sticks out their butts, to avoid going the shot-by-shot route and go with something that does it's own thing, while still capturing the essence of the original, much like the 2009 movie version of Where the Wild Things Are.
This movie's visual style is amazing, like one review I read of this film, compared the visuals in the action scenes to be similar to the Kill Bill movies from director Quentin Tarintino. I could see that I guess. However, I compare this more, to movies like 300 and Gladiator, both of which had amazing visuals. Sure, there are some green screen work in some areas, but most of the time, they shot the film on location in China and some areas of New Zealand. No wonder, the budget was $200 million. Yikes.
I think, it's great that Christina Agulera returned to do the soundtrack.
Oh, and one more thing before I finish this. So, because this is Mulan and that this is Disney, you have to have that scene. And what's funny about this scene is that it looked like the movie forgot it had to have that scene. It seemed like, this movie was going all full on Mulan movie mode and then suddenly at the last moment was like, "Oh, wait. We gotta do this, for nostalgic reasons. Hey, would you like to do a cameo for us, please?" And then this one person was like, "Sure thing." And then suddenly, she shows up is like, "Hi. How you doin'. You know, I've done this before, right. Ok, gotta go, now." And then, back to the movie. Guess who that person was. Yes, it was Ming-Na Wen, the original voice actress for Mulan in the original animated version.
So, I think, this was a well-made movie. And I hope someday, sometime in the next few years, people would stop complaining and enjoy the Mulan remake for the excellent cinematic achievement that it really is. However, is it the best of Disney's remakes? Obviously, no, but it is still so much better than the Lion King reboot, at least in my personal honest opinion.
Just ignore those review-bombers and enjoy it. Watch it for free on Disney+ first, then go out on buy it. Just see it for yourself. If not, then DISHONOR! DISHONOR ON YOU! DISHONOR OF YOUR DECISIONS! DISHONOR! YOU'RE A DISGRACE! YOU MAY LOOK LIKE A FAN, BUT YOU'LL NEVER BRING ANYONE AROUND YOU, HONOR! In other words, YOU'RE ALSO BEING RIPPED OFF!
Whew! Ok, I'm going to calm down, now! But just, well, I'm going to give Mulan (2020) a 9.5 out of 10.