Mulan review: Live-action Disney Plus remake is a timely, moving take

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Mulan’s fearlessness and dedication to the family has special significance in today’s troubled world. Disney

While the release of Disney remake the Mulan and direct a faces several delays Due to Coronavirus pandemic, its long awaited debut on Disney Plus feels perfectly timed. The film’s messages of empowering women, bravery, and dedication to family are all particularly moving as we navigate a changing and uncertain world.

Like in the beloved 1998 animated film, Mulan (Yifei Liu) struggles to find a balance between embracing her abilities and honoring her family in China. As a woman centuries ago she said it was her duty to give honor through marriage. But from an early age, Mulanher father sees that she is blessed with a special energy, or “chi”. As she gets older, it’s not just Mulan who has to face the struggle to hide her abilities; her father also experiences the heartbreaking pain of having to neglect his daughter’s skills just because she is a girl.

“Chi is for warriors, not for girls,” her infant father told her. “Soon you’ll be a young woman, and it’s time for you to hide your gift.” ”

This oft-repeated narrative leads Mulan to feel that she does not belong to either the male or female world. His family told him to “learn your place”, but it turns out to be quite difficult when this place apparently does not exist.

The remake, which is punctuated by jaw-dropping stunts of sword-wielding warriors twisting in the air, takes on a more serious and dramatic tone than its animated predecessor. This is evident in the absence of songs like I’ll Make a Man Out of You and Honor to Us All. While the eye-catching tunes are a big part of the appeal of many Disney movies, their inclusion here would have felt forced, and Mulan’s compelling storyline is enough to carry the film forward. There’s a powerful instrumental rendition of Reflection playing with a touching montage of Mulan embracing her skills later in the movie, which seems like a smug nod to the beloved music of the animated version.

The heavier tone also means that the humor is reduced. We don’t see Mulan’s spiritual grandmother in the remake, and Mushu is notably missing. Instead, Mulan’s father summons the power of a phoenix – a symbol mentioned throughout the film – to watch over Mulan. The lack of humor is also evident in an adult Mulan who is less courageous and boisterous than her lively counterpart, which takes away some of the charm that makes her so likable and lovable. But it’s ultimately a minor loss that gives way to a fearless, focused character.

With the elimination of some old characters, we are also introducing new ones. The remake gives Mulan a sister, possibly as a way to juxtapose the main character’s frenzied demeanor with that of a “well-behaved” girl. The Lucky Cricket from the animated version is reimagined as a soldier named Cricket, and there are a few attempts to squeeze some mild humor into his role, but none of the jokes really stick to the landing.

We are also introduced to Xianniang (Gong Li), a witch who often takes the form of the bird of the antagonist Böri Khan. She also takes on the appearance of male victims when she needs to lead a project. Like Mulan, Xianniang struggles to be accepted, and therefore is pressured into serving Khan in return for his promise to provide “a place where your powers will not be vilified.”

New character Xianniang brings depth to Mulan’s story.

Disney

Xianniang’s introduction brings a greater dimension to the story as we get to see the parallels between her life and that of Mulan. They are both outcasts who choose to disguise themselves in order to fit in. The main difference, of course, is that Mulan uses her appearance to fight for good, while Xianniang defends evil, and we are presented with the possibility of what Mulan could become if she were to let the bitterness of her exclusion go. invade his heart.

One of the film’s most striking attributes is Xianniang’s character development and the evolution of the relationship with Mulan. Seeing two women fight for a place in the world while elevating each other is refreshing and inspiring, especially at a time when the issues highlighted by the MeToo movement continue to impact women. women from all sectors and from all walks of life.

The end of the film offers a beautiful resolution to the struggle between the balance between personal needs and the desire to serve the family. We are often told, especially through movies and television shows, that these two priorities are mutually exclusive. It’s refreshing that Mulan can finally find her place and purpose while showing devotion to her family.

This kind of dedication to family and helping others takes on special significance today. As daily life is turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have found ourselves thinking about the relationships that matter most. Uncertainty gives us the opportunity to appreciate all that we have right now and a chance to support those who need it. Mulan’s acts of love and dedication to her family are a touching reminder that we can use our own skills and abilities to help others.

The film is also a testament to the power of bravery. As Mulan’s father told her, “There is no courage without fear.” It is natural to be afraid of the state of the world, our purpose and our destiny. But having the courage to go on and be the best, most authentic version of ourselves despite this uncertainty is one of the bravest things we can do. To continue to fight, against all odds, for ourselves and for those around us is truly the feat of a modern day warrior.

Mulan is available to stream on Disney Plus starting Friday for $ 30 in the US, in addition to the regular Disney Plus subscription fee. It will become free for anyone with a standard Disney Plus membership on December 4th. Mulan is also available in international markets including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several Western European countries.

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