“Mulan”- Not Up to the Mark


Ashlesha Mishra, Staff Writer

“Mulan,” the remake of the original Disney movie from 1998, was recently released in the United States on Sept. 4, 2020. The movie was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro and starred Yifei Liu as Mulan. The film depicts the story of a young girl named Mulan who goes against her family’s desire for her to settle with a suitable husband. When the emperor of China issues a decree that one man from each family must join the Imperial Army, Mulan discreetly takes the place of her father disguised as a man, Hua Jun. Mulan sets out on a quest to prove her strength, full potential, and bring honor to her family. Although this movie was a good attempt at remaking a classic movie, it did not stand out as much as I had originally anticipated it to be.

Critic reviews for this movie have mixed responses to the film. One review states, “This 2020 Mulan is a brave attempt at retelling the original folktale. Essentially, it removes everything the Western audience has known and loved about Mulan and dares them to find something new to appreciate, and it works.” Another critic review states, “Disney keeps making these shot-for-shot remakes and expecting everyone not to care or notice that the magic, themes, and character development that made the animated Mulan iconic are completely missing here.” The remake of the movie did not include the character of Mushu, who bought the comedic element in the original version. Instead, this movie included a phoenix, which symbolizes gender fluidity. This is an extremely important point to highlight as Mulan takes up a manly-considered task. However, as this is a movie that kids tend to watch, I missed the factor of laughter that Mushu’s character brought out throughout the movie. Also, another major difference is that the original film described Mulan to be the only child in her family, however, the new version gives her a sister. As an audience member, this lowered the overall takeaway of the only girl in her family to go forth and help her father against societal norms at the time, which was in the original movie. Although it cannot be concluded that this movie exceeds the performance of the Disney version, it definitely leans more towards the better remakes of Disney movies that have been released in recent years. There was a lot of hype around this film as it was recreating a classic movie; however, the final turnout was not as impressive as expected. Yet, this is a delightful watch to enjoy after a tiring day.

While this movie tries its best to follow the original story of Mulan, due to differences in the plot and assembling of the storyline, I was not able to connect with the film enough. Nevertheless, during the COVID-19 pandemic, social interaction with friends and relatives has mostly decreased. Thus, this movie is a wonderful pass-time with family and most children as it retells a classic Disney movie.

All in all, “Mulan” is a fantastic way to spend the spare time during quarantine with family, in spite of dissimilarities between the original and most recent version of the movie.