Mulan 2020: Does it live up to the original?

Libby Johnson, Newspaper Writer

The live-action Disney remake of Mulan debuted on Disney+ on September 4 and didn’t arrive with the audacity that was anticipated. Although viewers had mixed feelings about the movie, most critics agreed it was mediocre. Mulan starred Liu Yifei as the movie’s main protagonist, Mulan, and Niki Caro directed the film. 

Set jointly in the 

Old World and in that newer mythic realm of happily-ever-after female empowerment, this live-action ‘Mulan,’ directed by Niki Caro, is pretty much what happens when a legend meets Disney’s global bottom-line. It’s lightly funny and a little sad, filled with ravishing landscapes and juiced up with kinetic fights,” said RollingStones reporter K. Austen Collins.

The plot of the movie is relatively similar to the original Mulan movie: Fa Mulan is a woman who lives during the time of the ancient Chinese dynasty. Traditionally, women were not allowed a role in society outside of the family. Mulan breaks this mold; she is a fierce and fearless warrior, although she is not accepted by her community and family. She must disguise herself to fight in the war and save her father’s life and honor.

Originally, Mulan’s release date in theaters was March 9, but due to COVID-19, it started streaming on Disney+ this September. The budget for Mulan was over 2 million dollars. To watch the film, viewers have to pay an additional 30 dollar in-app purchase. It received a 75 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but many people were not impressed with the remake. 

Rotten Tomatoes critic Brooke Daughtery said, “Mulan on Disney+ is not a musical and characters have been changed from the 1998 film, but it still honored the spirit of Ballad of Mulan as well as the animated feature.”

Unlike the first live-action Disney Princess musical, this remake is more intense and action-packed. Mulan 2020 differs from the original because Mulan herself is a powerful character with legendary military skills. Additionally, her commanding officer’s role was changed. In the first Disney princess movie, Mulan’s commanding officer was also her love interest- which is problematic. The #MeToo movement brought awareness to some of the issues in Hollywood, and the creators of this movie wanted to be sensitive about this.

“I think particularly in the time of the #MeToo movement, having a commanding officer that is also the love interest was very uncomfortable and we didn’t think it was appropriate,” said John Reed, the movie’s producer.