I know I know. I’m about three months out of date with this one, but I decided to create some random principle where I wasn’t going to pay any money, other than the subscription, to Disney+. Even though it’s Disney and I love them almost as much as I love my family. Then I pissed about during the beginning of December (ok, pissed about = watched Christmas films), rather than watching Mulan on 3rd December when it became available for free.
Alas, I have now watched it and am about to divulge my thoughts to you.
When they initially announced that Disney were remaking Mulan as a Live Action, my daughter and I were super excited. We could not wait to see what they were going to do with ‘Reflection’ and ‘I’ll Make A Man Out of You’, as they are two of our favourite Disney songs (the latter in particular). However, it became apparent by about 20 minutes in, and a lack of ‘Honor To Us All’, that this was a non-musical remake. Heartbroken! It has always been my opinion that the 1998 version has the most underrated songs of the Disney films and I could not believe that they had removed them all!
So that was the first down point for me. The second? There is no Mushu! He has essentially been replaced by a phoenix, that occasionally crops up to give Mulan a bit of confidence and general direction.
Third down point. No ‘Mulan’s Grandmother’ and the ‘lucky’ cricket. Instead, we have Mulan’s sister (who doesn’t really add much, to be honest).
If you were expecting a remake of the animated Mulan, this is not what you will get. Instead, more of a film adaptation of the Chinese folk tale of the same name. It’s a lot more ‘straight’ than the original (which I would certainly say was a comedy). Rather than the guidance of her ancestors, through Mushu, Mulan seems to have magical powers, referred to as Chi (which I always thought was what the Chinese called ‘energy force’… I could be wrong… I’m probably wrong). There is a lot of combat in this film, of which a large amount seems to be strongly aided by CGI and other special effects. We also get a sorceress, who is assisting the antagonist at the start, but is on Mulan’s side by the second half.
I appreciate that I seem to be focussing on the negative, but I did enjoy this film, as did my daughter and, when he had decided to join us on the sofa during the second half, my son (and he doesn’t like films… except for Moana). So, it does the job with entertaining various age groups. It has some lovely cinematography, stunning scenery and, based on songs from the original 1998 version, a beautiful score (even if it doesn’t have that awesome bit of music when she takes her fathers sword and chops her hair off in the original).
Give it watch. You can’t sing along and you’re unlikely to laugh, but I’d recommend it otherwise.
Happy New Year! We send you all our best wishes for a much better 2021, to you and your families and remember:
“Stay Safe, Stay Home. Stay Disney”.