Movie: Mulan (2020)

September 07, 2020

 


This movie has been so hyped! And released so LATE! I feel like it has been delayed many times. Despite a lot of disappointment (from my feeds) expressed over the movie, I'm still glad I caught it!


Liu Yifei plays Mulan! I like her face and her portrayal. Her political stance is inviting a lot of trouble and boycotting though. Feel like her acting might even be more powerful if this movie was in Chinese.

The main plot remains the same, though key characters like Mushu and Shang are missing. In their place are characters like The Witch played by Gong Li.


People complain about the loss of these major characters, but it's called a movie adaptation for a reason! Shaking things up creates something new for audiences. I found that the decision to trim the cast by removing the sidekick and the love interest, helps to keep the focus on Mulan. However, Gong li's character, the witch, sometimes steals the limelight, and I'm not sure what to feel about it. Would the movie be better without this character? I wonder. It's not like they were really alike because of their 'magic' chi... Do we really need this other tragic female character as a foil? Hmm.

Guess the witch element adds some kind of intrigue. Read online that there were many deleted scenes about the Witch x Mulan dynamic, so it'll be interesting to see how they wanted to treat it initially. 




There's no singing, but you can hear some motifs from the original Mulan soundtrack throughout the movie. The theme song, 'Loyal Brave True' is sang by Christina Aguilera, which I thought was a nice touch since she sang Reflection in the Disney animated movie. There's also a Chinese version of reflection by Mulan actress Liu Yifei.

I like how sometimes the Chinese actors just say Hua1 Mu4lan2 in its proper way with its inflections, and not the monotone English way. Lolz. Maybe it just slipped out, or maybe it was done consciously! (Maybe they were thinking, dude this movie is about a Chinese folk hero, why can't I pronounce her name properly? Haha.)

I like all the Chinese cast! And how the sounds of crowds are made up of actual murmuring in the language.


Jason Scott Lee as Khan is a great casting choice too!

There are some picturesque scenes of fields and mountains, but nothing especially striking that will take your breath away. /shrugs

The action sequences were quite decent! Stirring and does the job. We see a little of 'qing gong' where people 'fly' around walls, a standard of Chinese wuxia. 

Some scenes were very 'westernised' to me, for example... when Mulan was receiving support from her soldiers, or dialogue like 'You are my equal'. Ok...

(Trying to keep things vague and as non-spoilery as possible.)

More trivia from Wikipedia, as Mulan is based on a Chinese folk story. Guess every culture appropriates, and every legend changes to suit the needs of each generation. 

As the Ballad of Mulan is set in the Northern Wei dynasty when northern China was ruled by ethnic Xianbei, ancestors of the Mongols, there is some belief that Mulan was not ethnic Han Chinese but Xianbei, who had exclusively compound surnames.[8] Mulan may have been the sinified version of the Xianbei word, "umran" which means prosperous.[8]

Overall I would give this movie a solid 7.5/10. Entertaining enough if you can accept that it's not going to be true to the Disney animation. I'm cool with the changes because Mulan is based on a historical folk tale, which means there is a lot of ambiguity and space to speculate about how the story really went down. Anything goes for me. Disney is not gospel.

Enjoy!

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