I am someone who remembers watching the animated Mulan movie growing up. For me, there are many treasured memories of the movie, such as Mushu, Cri-kee’s humorous banter, and the ever classic song “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.” To this day, I continue to re-watch the animated version time and time again.
This remake appears to be set in ancient China, which is great, but there’s something about it that bugs me. Maybe it’s the blatant re-writing of the story to include magic, maybe it’s the way they talk about Chi as though it is responsible for all of Mulan’s abilities instead of undergoing rigorous training, maybe it’s the lack of musical numbers, or maybe it’s because they got rid of Mushu and replaced him with a phoenix. I honestly don’t know. I also found it highly distasteful that there were no options to watch this movie with Mandarin subtitles, despite it literally being about a Chinese warrior of legend.
While this movie lacked the original musical numbers, the orchestral tributes to the original songs were nice to hear and helped me keep track of where we were in the plot. Despite my rather negative opinion of this movie, I do think they got at least one thing right: the emotional tone. As I watched Mulan, I found myself almost emotionally invested in everything from the music to the emotion displayed on the screen.
Overall, I do not believe this movie deserves the name Mulan, but if it were simply a Chinese martial arts film, it would be alright. If you go into this movie expecting to see the original, I’m sorry to say that you’ll probably be disappointed. While the film keeps true to Mulan being a woman warrior in a man’s world based in ancient China, there were a lot of liberties taken with this movie, especially when compared to Disney’s first adaptation of the Chinese legend. A lot was changed, despite seemingly trying to keep to Disney’s original animated version of Mulan.
Story – 2.5/5
Music – 4/5
Special effects – 2/5
Compared to the original – 1/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
Image via rawpixel.