Written by Jose Pernalete on September 15, 2020
In the past few years, Disney has taken a lot of interest in remaking their classic animated movies and adapting them to a live-action film. Even the new Lion King is somewhat a half real and half animated movie with hyper-realistic characters. The most recent one to join this list is Mulan.
While there are countless controversies around this movie, we’ll do our best to keep most of them out so we can review the movie for what we see on our screens and not what’s behind it. There might be some small spoilers ahead though, but without further ado let’s get started.
A clear reflection?
While for the most part, other Disney remakes in live-action have been a literal copy of their original versions, Mulan opted to be something completely different. The plot, characters, and general setting of this new version are very different.
While the basic structure of the film is still present, it would be almost impossible to do a side by side comparison. What used to be some of the most dramatic scenes in the original film have been reduced to mere seconds on screen.
From the early stages of the film going public, it was announced that they would be removing all musical scenes and replacing them with pretty much nothing. And since they’ve changed most of the characters and added some new ones, interactions, as dull as they are, are completely different.
Poor character development
The original movie portrayed a Mulan character that had to be very brave and go into war knowing nothing about fighting or training. Animated Mulan had to learn discipline, strength, and how to be brave to protect her father and her country even.
In the 2020 remake, we get what they call a Mary Sue. Live-action Mulan has no flaws at all, she has been powerful basically since she was born as she was blessed with having a huge amount of Qi. By having so much Qi she was already destined to be an incredible warrior. Later on, we learn that Qi can also be used to do some magic, even though it’s forbidden for some reason.
The villains on this Mulan are bland and lack personality, they aren’t threatening even when rushing straight into the city they look dumb and even funny. There are no clear motivations behind their actions either, even the woman that uses Qi as black magic in there has weak motivations. She has no real reason to be there at all, and the way she quickly changes her mind proves it.
It’s hard to find anything positive to say about this movie. You’d think that while they’ve completely destroyed the plot of the animated movie and came out with a bland new one. All the heart and soul present in the original movie is completely gone and replaced with just another product.
You could argue that the special effects are the best thing in the movie, but even those are really subpar. The scenery looks bad and the action scenes, while they do resemble the style of classic Chinese action movies, are just ok. You’d think that with the budget of a Disney movie it would look amazing, but it’s just ok.
Overall the movie is much more traditionally Chinese than the original one, but it lacks all soul and spirit. The little to none character development is annoying and even the special effects are just ok. And considering that they are charging about 30$ USD to watch the movie on top of the membership cost of Disney+, it’s best if you skip this one.