“Mulan” is yet another Disney live-action adaptation, this time from a cartoon the company produced back in 1998, and yet another movie whose release was postponed due to the coronavirus.
It is based on the Ballad of Mulan, an old Chinese folk tale about a brave woman who risks her life and “honor” by secretly joining the army to protect her father. Mulan is not just another Disney princess —instead of needing saving, she herself plays the savior. She is also a rare Asian princess, as Jasmine’s origin remains open to debate.
The live adaptation has changed a lot of details from the original cartoon, some of which were essential to tell her story of courage and selflessness.
The live-action Mulan does not care about romance or men, unlike the original version, and does not develop a strong romantic connection with anyone. The story does show a spark and some heated exchanges between her and another soldier named Yoson An, but there is no development of their story on screen.
Apart from shattering gender stereotypes, Mulan 2020 has also portrayed Disney in a different light. Unlike their usual films, this live-action is not a musical — none of the characters throughout the movie perform any songs. For some it might be disheartening, but I think it supports the powerful message behind the story.
However, some parts of the movie still feel cartoonish, probably due to the below-average special effects. When the characters performed physically impossible moves, such as extremely high jumps, it felt like they were soaring through the air on puppet rather than propelling themselves upwards with any real force - this could be an ode to the surreal mastery of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" but it didn't have the same effect.
All in all, it is a good movie to watch for some fine scenery and an easy-to-follow story. It may not blow your mind or change your life, but it will definitely inspire women and girls around the world.
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