Director: Niki Caro
A new live-action remake of Mulan proves to be a better movie than the original.
What Happens in Mulan?
Mulan follows Mulan’s journey to becoming a strong young woman. Living in a time when men were sent to war and women stayed home and acted like a lady, Mulan struggles to find her place. Her wild Chi proves to be more than she can control, and many view her as rambunctious and a poor daughter.
The straw that breaks the camel’s back is when Mulan is deemed a poor daughter by the village matchmaker and dishonour is brought to her family. Mulan feels she needs to redeem herself and her family, and when the Emperor sends an order that every family must provide one man, she gets her opportunity.
Who Are The Characters in Mulan?
Mulan is a young woman who has had strong chi though she is told to hide it from a young age as it is meant for warriors. Mulan is told that as a daughter she is meant to bring honour to her family through marriage, but Mulan does not fit what her society believes to be a good woman or bride as she has many of the traits of a warrior and is told that she brings dishonour to her family.
Chen Honghui is a fellow soldier with Mulan and her closest equal as a warrior. He develops a relationship with Mulan as a friend but upon discovery that she is female his emotions change. Commander Tung is the commander of the army and he proves to be somewhat of a mentor to Mulan as he notices her chi and her strength as a warrior.
A quick side note before the official review begins. This review is written based on the movie itself and does align itself with any of the decisions made behind the screen.
This version of Mulan is way different from the traditional, animated one. For one, the whole plot was remade for this movie, as this movie follows more of a bildungsroman style. In this movie, more characters were added while some other key characters were removed. Overall, I found this movie entertaining to watch, with good fight choreography.
Now, for those familiar with Chinese dramas, they will find that the whole movie is pretty much a Chinese drama set in that era. There are many movies that I have seen before that feature similar fight choreography, such as the flipping, slow motion and impossible jumps, and giant wars waged between two armies.
As I have grown up watching these shows, the fight choreography is impressive, but also very predictable. There were many moves that I have seen in past shows featured in this film. It was very interesting to see this style of fighting represented in this movie, as it is not typically the scenes shown in a Disney movie.
As a whole, the movie felt more like a Chinese drama than a Disney movie. It missed that happy spark usually present in other Disney movies. Although I appreciate the changes and the references, they didn’t capture my attention as much.
Most of the changes made to the plot and characters were pretty good. Overall, it made the tone of the story more mature and gave more weight to all the action on screen. For example, the war scene when the enemy soldiers were firing catapults carried more weight since you knew that soldiers were going to die and that it won’t be censored like in other kids’ movies. The addition of new characters also helped develop Mulan’s character. Her development seemed more natural and it flowed much better.
Overall, this was a fun movie to watch. It is nowhere similar to the traditional Mulan, however, there were a few musical cameos from past songs. From just the movie itself, it was an enjoyable movie to watch and gives a fresh taste to the old classic.