A remake of a Disney classic: Mulan movie review


Courtesy of Disney Movies

Mulan is an exciting and interesting movie to watch as it has a deeper meaning to it.

Disney movies will forever remain iconic in the entertainment industry. From the first movie they ever produced, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to their recent releases, Disney seems to uphold the trust and avid interest of their viewers. Will one of Disney’s latest releases, Mulan, continue the legacy? Mulan is an action-packed film that was released on September 4, 2020 and is considered a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated film.
The plot surrounds Hua Mulan, an adventurous girl, who lives in a conservative town in Imperial China. Her parents are quite disappointed in her as they wish to follow traditions and wed her to a good husband, who expects his spouse to be lady-like. When Imperial soldiers arrive in Mulan’s village to recruit soldiers for the upcoming war, her frail father, Hua Zhou, is forced to pledge his service because he has no sons. Realizing that her father had no chance of survival, Mulan secretly steals all his armor and leaves for battle in hopes to defeat the Rouran Army.
This movie was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and was directed by Niki Caro, a New Zealand film director and screenwriter. The film stars Liu Yifei in the title role, who is a Chinese-American actress and model. She has also been named as one of the New Four Dan Actresses of China. Gong Li was casted for the role of Xianniang, a female witch forced to aid the Rouran Army. Tzi Ma was cast as Hua Zhou, the father of Mulan. Yoson An was casted as Chen Honghui, a recruit in the Imperial Army who quickly becomes Mulan’s love interest.
A scene that distinctly stood out from the rest of the movie to me was the conversation between Mulan and Xianniang where Mulan encourages Xianniang to follow her own path in life rather than succumb to toxic, male authority. Although it is evident that Xianniang hesitates to do so, she still manages to positively change throughout the plot. This scene advocates for women’s empowerment and subverting the norms of misogyny and sexism. Mulan continuously fought against the suppressive traditions and ideas of those who believed that a woman’s role in this world was inferior to a man’s. In addition, she was able to extend this confidence to other women, such as Xianniang, who successfully changed her life.
The movie was originally scheduled to be a world-wide release in the US, but was unfortunately cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although the film received positive reviews at first, the screenplay was disliked by many audiences who criticized the character development and mishandling of cultural elements. The film also is in the face of numerous other controversies, including changes to the source material and the decision to film in Xinjiang, China with the ongoing Uyghur genocide and Xinjiang re-education camps.
Although this movie was an entertaining live remake of a classic that promotes women empowerment, which I greatly enjoyed, I do not recommend this movie to others due to the misrepresentation of the culture and customs. In addition, I disagree with the decision of the production crew to film in Xianniang, where a genocide is ongoing. If these aspects were to be fixed, I would definitely recommend this movie to others.