It's no secret that for the past few years Disney has been making live action versions of their greatest animated classics, the ones we all sat down and watched as kids. Some of these include “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.” The next movie on the docket is “Mulan.”
Now the thing about these Disney live action movies is a lot of them are hit or miss and, in all honesty, a lot of them were a miss. Movies like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Jungle Book” were good, but the rest just don’t really stick to the ribs like the original ones did.
Unfortunately, this new “Mulan” movie is no different. In some parts of the movie it had its moments but it does not deliver the same kind of feeling and emotion as the original.
For those who don’t know about “Mulan,” it’s a story about a female warrior of the name Fa Mulan who, when hearing that the emperor has demanded a man from each family fight in the war, takes her father's place and passes herself off as a man to fight. She goes on to become one of the greatest warriors in all of China. One of the things the movie gets right is the tomboyish nature of Mulan. Similar to the original movie, there was this theme of challenging gender roles and how women were expected to act. Mulan wasn’t like that; she was different from the people in her village, she wasn’t a girlie girl and she wasn’t bound by gender roles.
That’s what the movie gets mostly right is the spirit of Mulan. Deep down inside she is a fighter and the movie doesn't forget that. She is doing what she does out of honor and love.
It's also kind of cool that they added the fact that she has this sort of inner power to her that she has to conceal. The reason that was cool was because it shows that she can’t master it until she is true to herself. This prompts her to finally fight as herself.
One of the things that I didn’t like about the movie, however, is the fact that they got rid of some fan favorite characters. There's no Li Shang and more importantly there's no Mushu.
The characters Ling, Yao and Chein Po are in it but they are not portrayed anywhere close to how they were in the original. In the original, they added some much needed comic relief but in this version they just simply exist.
Excluding these characters from the live action take was a mistake because they added a lot of emotionality to the story. They allow us to see how her relationships with them kind of build and they were made a big part of the story. Especially her relationship with Mushu. We see that unique dynamic in the original that carried a lot of heart.
So in summation I think this movie does a good job portraying what it's like being a woman in a man's world and showing a young girl rising to the occasion for her people. However, at the same time, like several other of the live action remakes it lacks quite a few elements from the originals that makes it a very likeable experience.
The movie is available on Disney+ for $30 and will begin streaming for free just in time for the holidays. If it’s a movie you might want to watch, then it might just be worth the chance.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.