Mulan (2020) Review

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The live action movie adapted from the animated movie, of the same name, was just released on September 4 on Disney Plus with premier access. A $29.99 fee and you have the movie for as long as you have Disney plus – you cancel Disney plus, you lose the movie.

Directed by Niki Caro, screen play by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Elizabeth Martin & Lauren Hynek. Staring Yifei Liu as the titular character Mulan.

trailer from Walt Disney Studios

A brief synopsis: A young woman takes the place of her ailing father in a call to arms by the Emperor of China to battle an invading force. She must hide her true identity or risk bringing dishonor to her family.

The movie is a blend of a Chinese film style and an American film style, with a more heavy inspiration on the Chinese style of filming.

The film brings to life the animated world of Mulan and really shows Chinese art, architecture, and beauty.

The main focus is truly on Mulan and her own struggle with protecting her father and finding who own self. She is faced countless times where she is plagued by the guilt of lying and impersonating a man. Her duty to her father and her family supersedes her fear and pushes forward one step at a time at the invading force.

The conflicts that Mulan faced made her reevaluate three virtues that continuously popped up in the movie: bravery, loyalty, and truth.

Throughout the movie, there were many differences from the animated to the live action from the new enemies to the excluding of main characters.

A witch that serves as the advisor to the enemy leader, Bori Khan, acts as the direct opposite of Mulan as well as a glimpse into Mulan’s future a person. Mushu, who acted as Mulan’s guardian, is missing and replaced with a phoenix, representing Mulan’s character rebirth as she discovers her true self and her courage to fight. Shang, who was the commander of Mulan’s regiment and love interest, was split into two characters, Commander Tung and Honghui.

The movie not only represented Chinese culture, but also represented a strong independent female warrior stacking up equally to other men and then surpassing them to become a great leader and legend.

Tony Bancroft, the director of the 1998 animated Mulan movie was pleased with the direction and writing of the live action version.

“All the things that a lot of fans are upset about are the things that I was happiest about because I really want them to go off and make a new version of ‘Mulan.’ I love the character. I love who she is.”

I love what she represents and I love seeing more Chinese culture portrayed in a new different way.

Tony Bancroft

Though there were differences, there were many similarities to the animated movie regarding characters, the music, and even the scenes.

The three sidekicks that followed Mulan in the animated movie do appear in the live action in a similar way but in a reduced way. They act more as fellow soldiers and comrades, and like in the animated movie defend Mulan and put their trust in her when she warns the Commander of the threat to the Emperor.

Though not singing scenes in the live action, a lot of the words that were sung in the animated movie make it in the live action as dialogue between the characters. Some of the key songs that were song also make it in the live action as background movie.

The live action movie feels like a movie that grew up with the original audience that watched the animated movie when they were kids.

The live action movie does not take anything away from the animated movie, but instead adds its own take to a wonderful animated movie to become its own wonderful movie.

4.5 our of 5.


Thank you for reading.

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