I Watched The Live-Action Mulan So You Don’t Have To- A Review


Paige Palent, News and Editorials Editor

Disney’s 1998 Mulan has been considered a classic for years, and there is sincerely no doubt why. Disney as a company is one of the masters of creating bodies of work with easy-to-follow plots, smooth animation, and likable characters, but Disney hasn’t hit the mark quite yet with the live-action takes of their classic movies. 22 years later, Disney’s 2020 Mulan remake is frustratingly disappointing.

Mulan is the story many know and love. It is originally based on the poem “The Ballad of Mulan” regarding the Northern Wei dynasty, which lasted from the fourth to the sixth early centuries. From there, the poem was reworked many times until it was made into Disney’s 1998 version. This version was shortened to Mulan, which tells the story of the only daughter, Mulan (Liu Yifei), in a family where her father is called to war, but he is not in the state to do so, with her taking the opportunity to go herself in his place.

One thing I applaud the new movie for is mostly sticking to the original plot, except for the fact they gave Mulan a sister (Xana Tang) in the new adaptation. It didn’t affect the movie dramatically, however, as she was only in a few scenes. This new dynamic we are presented with made the movie a bit more relatable.

The original Mulan was not as lackluster, even though they’re almost the same product; the original Mulan had things that made the movie shine, with its iconic songs and memorable characters like Mushu and Li Shang, who were both replaced in the new movie with less memorable counterparts (Mushu being taken out entirely).

With the budget that this new movie got (swelling towards 200 million), I was hopefully expecting a balanced movie, a good movie (not a great movie, but good), but I didn’t receive any of those things. I tried to like it. I watched it multiple times, took notes, and turned closed captions on and off. Of course, this movie isn’t inherently terrible, but one of the only words I can use to describe it is corny.

If you want to spend your money on this movie, go for it! However, this movie doesn’t live up to what I was expecting from a company that has pushed out good movies in recent years — I’m not sure if it’s just me, but the work Disney has been making is slowly declining, even though the demand for newer, more diverse stories people know  Disney can create is going up.