If you’ve been waiting for the arrival of the female knight in shining armour to come and defend your empire, well all that waiting has finally come to an end as ‘Mulan’ finally debuts in cinemas nationwide.
The highly anticipated live-action film has got Disney fans excited, as their favourite animated film will be brought to life to the silver screens once more.
‘Mulan’ tells the story of Hua Mulan who secretly enlists in the emperor’s army, taking her father’s place in order to help defend the Emperor and the nation against the rogue Rouran tribe.
So, did the live-action actually bring honour to Disney fans and can it match the success of the 1998 animated film?
Here’s what we think of the live-action adaptation of ‘Mulan’.
#1 Stunning Scenery, Amazing Fighting Sequences
From the get-go, you’ll be treated with a lot of beautifully choreographed fighting scenes and some which will leave you gasping in awe. Mulan shows who’s the real badass in these scenes and demonstrates how powerful her chi is, something which may not have been achievable via an animated film. We were also pleasantly surprised that the Emperor is a leader with substance rather than sitting aloof on his throne all day, as he actually has some mad skills to fight off enemies (also because he’s Jet Li).
The amazing cinematography and scenic backdrop (which were mainly shot in New Zealand) also adds character to the scenes. From snowy mountains to lively green hills, and mountain terrains, it felt like we were also going on an adventure. So kudos for making it feel like we were watching an action film all the way.
#2 Has The Disney Magic Disappear?
Some of you may have heard that the live-action will not be a musical one like in the animated film and the iconic character – Mushu will cease to exist. This may come as a bummer to fans so many were hoping that Disney would compensate it with something better. However, this definitely fell short.
The 2020 ‘Mulan’ pales in comparison humour-wise to its predecessor and even has the audacity to replace Cricket’s character with a human of the same name who felt like he was there for some barely-there comic relief. The film as a whole felt like it was more of a serious tone, and lacks the Disney magic that you can usually find even in its live-action adaptations.
And instead of Mushu, Mulan got a phoenix as a companion, which does absolutely nothing for the whole film, basically just a useless mythical bird floating around her. Honestly, if it wasn’t there from the beginning, it wouldn't effect the movie at all. The phoenix may be metaphorical but if you’re going to introduce a new character, make sure it has the magic touch of Disney.
#3 Girl Power All The Way
If you’re looking for a film that wreaks girl-power all the way, then this is it. No-nonsense Mulan will take no for an answer and is willing to sacrifice her life in order to protect the Emperor and his kingdom. She stays true to her family’s virtues – loyal, brave, and true, which is also the new cool theme song, sang by Christina Aguilera. The badass warrior proves that although she’s a female in the battlefield, her skills are mightier than her comrades and she’s worthy to be there.
So the girl that initially will be married off because society deems her to do so to “bring honour to her family” will eventually be the person leading an army to save the kingdom and still bring honour to not just her family.
Disney did a great job in maintaining the same narrative from the animated film sans the male love interest.
It’s nice to see another Disney classic brought to life in a live-adaptation on the big screen, but there are definitely some notable misses in the film. While we thoroughly enjoyed the badass action scenes and beautiful scenery, it just lacks the Disney magic. The humour seems non-existent, making it feel like the film was intended for a much older audience whereas the animated film was a hit among all ages.
‘Mulan’ may have a star-studded cast with martial arts background and multi-million dollar production, but it still wasn’t enough to emulate the same feeling we had when watching the 1998 animated film.