I recently got Dinsey+ and I decided to watch Mulan today. The live action remake, that is, and it was so bad. The best thing I can say about it is that it was very visually beautiful. There will be spoilers ahead.
Okay, so they turned this funny animated film about a girl who goes to war disguised as a boy in her father’s place. Took 98% of the comedic value of that story and replaced with some weird, pseudo-Chinese magic plot line. Where instead of having a girl who overcomes the challenges of being physically smaller and weaker than the other soldiers through cunning and hard work, you have a girl whose “chi” is strong. Except apparently girls can’t have chi (even though the film also defines it as something that everyone has but I mean okay) because… it gives them magic powers?? I’m really confused about this bit cause we have another woman with “strong chi” who’s been exiled as a witch? And she can turn into a hawk? Or a flock of birds. Yeah… anyway. Mulan is magic now.
And that’s honestly all there is to the film. That, and a phoenix metaphor. It was boring, man. It was boring and it made no sense. They got rid of Mushu, first and biggest mistake they made. Then there was a bunch of talk about honor this and honor that and then she decides it’s not honourable to lie so she lets her hair loose (literally) and gets rid of her armour (because I guess armour is not feminine enough and was restraining her chi???) which are the two least logical things to do when you’re about to head into battle but girl power amirite?
Anyway, then she saves the day and goes back to her family to make amends and then the emperor gives her a sword and she becomes a legend. The end. It was just such a disappointment. It didn’t do anything right except cinematography. It was pretty. I’m not Chinese, so I’m only saying what I think, I may be wrong, but I thought even the rep was awful even though the cast was all Asian. And I’ve read some own-voices reviews that concurred. So, in the words of the great Mushu himself…