Ever since 1998, “Mulan” has become a common household name with the release of Disney’s animated movie by the same name.
Premiering worldwide on Mar. 27, “Mulan” is getting a reboot as a live action movie. As someone who has always been a fan of “Mulan,” I was excited to hear this news.
After seeing the trailers and reading about the direction the movie is going to go, I am less thrilled about the film.
For the most part, the original animated movie is based on a play from ancient China, “The Legend of Mulan,” which follows Hua Mulan and her journey to disguise herself as a man and take her father's place in the Chinese military, an act that was punishable by death since women were not allowed in the military. The difference between the play and the animated movie, however, lies in the ending.
The play ends in tragedy, with Mulan committing suicide to escape the death penalty. Disney, of course, decided to make the play a little more “family-friendly” when they were adapting it. The animated movie ends with Mulan saving all of China, the emperor pardons her of her crimes, and she returns home a hero, where the commander who she served under in the military told her that he loved her. This is, of course, a much more family-friendly ending.
The animated movie has a few things that make it such a beloved movie. The characters, the music, and, of course, a heroine are a few reasons as to why it is loved.
Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy, is a small dragon with big aspirations and oversees Mulan’s journey into war. He advises her, although it’s not always good advice, and provides comic relief in even the most dire situations.
One of the biggest fan favorite characters, though, is Li Shang. Li Shang is Mulan’s love interest and commander in the military. He has the biggest story arc, going from disapproving of Mulan’s choice to respecting her and empowering her through the military.
Both of these characters, along with Lucky Cricket (a cricket who brings luck to Mulan on her journey), will not be featured in the movie at all, which is just one of the many changes the live action movie will bring in an attempt to make the movie more “realistic.”
Another thing changing in the live action movie is that the iconic music, featuring songs such as “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” and “Reflection” will not be in the movie at all. It will not be a movie musical and will feature none of the original songs from the animated movie. This means there will be no iconic training montage.
Before “Frozen” (a movie praised for having the main female characters not rely on men) was released, “Mulan” was one of the first Disney movies to have a woman who was not a damsel in distress, and actually ended up saving the male protagonist from harm rather than the other way around.
Mulan leads herself and three of her friends, who have to crossdress as women to get into the castle and save all of China (including Li Shang, who gets into a fight with the main villain and almost loses without Mulan’s help).
Instead of having Mulan fight against the main antagonist in the animated movie, Shan Yu, Mulan is going to fight a witch who fights for the Huns, which is somehow more realistic than Mushu.
The empowering scene where Mulan cuts her hair towards the beginning of the movie symbolizing her changing and disowning herself from her family to save them will also be cut from the live action movie.
Overall, I was once excited about this movie because “Mulan” was one of my favorite movies as a kid but upon seeing the changes they’re making, it will take a miracle to get me to see this movie at the movie theater.