By Ryan Murphy
Despite the love surrounding “Mulan,” Disney seemed to miss the mark with the 2020 live-action version. Anyone who goes into the new remake of “Mulan” should keep in mind that this movie is not like the other remakes that Disney has produced, as there are some major differences that viewers should know going in.
There were two major disappointments for me. The hit songs featured in the classic film were omitted completely, with nothing but background music to aid in the storytelling. Also, the film cut out the hit character Mushu.
In addition, there were many plot changes from the original animated version throughout that seemed unnecessary. As a remake, this movie is below average in comparison to the other remakes Disney has produced.
On a positive note, the movie is visually stunning. The scenes that were meant to be beautiful were just that, topped with stunning Chinese backdrops and architecture. In contrast, the battle scenes were gritty, intense, and flowed smoothly.
While Mulan’s backstory and journey were changed significantly, the important themes of the movie shined through, such as women empowerment and devotion to family. Society still tries to force Mulan into gender roles, and she manages to break the mould in many impressive ways. Liu Yifei nailed her lead role by bringing Mulan to life in a fresh, innovative way and by showing the character’s emotional and physical struggle.
Don’t go into “Mulan” expecting the light-hearted humor and fun songs of the animated classic. This is a reinvention of the story that is closer to the actual legend of Mulan and is directed towards a more mature audience. What it sacrifices in soundtrack and humor is made up for by fantastic visuals, vigorous battles, and powerful acting.
I don’t believe it is worth the $30 that Disney is forcing viewers to pay, but I do think “Mulan” is still worth the watch when it is released in December on Disney+.