In Ancient China, a woman disguises herself as a man
in order to join the Chinese army in her father's place.
Directed by Niki Caro
Written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver,
Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek
Starring Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Li Gong, Jason Scott Lee,
Jet Li, Tzi Ma, Yoson An, Rosalind Chao
Remake of 1998's Mulan
Based on the Chinese legend
The anticipation surrounding Mulan was insane. The trailers were exciting and it looked like Disney was pulling out all the stops. Then the pandemic hit, and the film was shelved. Then, it was announced that it would be released on Disney+, but for a modest fee of $29.99. Being a stubborn pragmatist, I blatantly refused to pay an additional thirty bucks for a service I was already paying for. Plus, the reviews were not kind. So I played the waiting game, and here it is for all the Disney+ subscribers to see free of charge. And frankly, it wasn't worth the wait.
Mulan lacks the heart and soul of the original movie, instead opting for a dry, dull war movie with none of the memorable secondary characters, impressive visuals, or heartfelt messages. The decision to give Mulan inexplicable superpowers completely destroys the point of the character. Mulan, in the original, represents the idea that anybody can be strong if they choose to do the right thing for the right reasons. The new message boils down to "You can only be strong if you're born with special powers and zero flaws." It's the same thing Disney did with Rey in the new Star Wars trilogy. It's a terrible way to write characters.
Mulan has some impressive production design and a gorgeous score. The fight choreography is well done, and it has potential. But it never embraces the heart of the legend. It looks and feels like a watered-down adaptation of a much better movie. This will definitely go down as a disappointment for me.