The ongoing pandemic has made Disney to make an unfortunate decision to premiere Mulan on Disney+ on September 4th. Mulan has been highly anticipated ever since the reveal trailer has been released last year and I was also looking forward to the film as well since I am a fan of the original animated film. I knew going into this version of Mulan that it would be more adapted from the novel. Here are my thoughts of Mulan and whether if it is worth the $30 purchase, or to wait until December of this year to watch it without premium access.
The scenery and cinematrography of Mulan is breathtaking. I love how the locations were brought to life from the animated film. The battle scenes made me feel like I was watching an episode of Game of Thrones especially the avalanche scene. The tone and setting of the live action version of Mulan feels more of a war movie this time around. I also want to praise the music too and there were tunes that I reconized from the animated film during the sequences of Mulan and I think that this worked better and made this version of Mulan flow better as I feel that I was not interrupted when I wanted to digest a scene that I was looking at while I heard the music in the background.
For what I praised, there are also rough points and critiques I had in my head as the transition from animation to live action was not handled as good as I thought it would be. On the animated film, all of the characters had personality and their own characteristics that made them all stand out. On 2020’s Mulan, I did not feel the same way as I was watching how they all interracted with eachother. I also feel that the character Mulan should have not been seen in the public as a person born with all of these superpowers and abilities and rather be seen as this person who is smart, strong, and also bright.
Mulan’s father was not convincing enough for me to believe that he was very strick towards Mulan and her lover Chen Honghui barely had enough screentime for me to think that him and Mulan could build chemistry even after the reveal. In fact, there were many moments in Mulan that felt like it was over way to soon as they started that that was my issue with the rushed pacing of this film. As wonderful as Mulan looks, there is no denying that the story is way too fast.
Xian Lang is the best character developed in Mulan and she is a new character that is specifically made for the live action version of Mulan. It pains me to write this, but watching Xian on screen made me feel that she is a complex character that is also broken, hopeful, and fragile. Everything that I felt for Xian, I should have felt for Mulan and I did not during the entire time I watched her on screen. And I love the costume design of Xian Lang! But when you break it down, Xian was not needed for the overall story as Xian was a storybuild just for that final scene at the end of the movie.
The film’s villain Bori Khan is too one dimensional for me as his story is that he wanted revenge on The Emperor for killing his father. Just like Mulan’s father, I just could not buy him as a threat as Mulan was just too overpowered by the time they had their fight towards the end. I also did not feel engaged at all when his presence was known and I did not care to see him defeated. Jason Scott Lee tried, but there was little to no substance of the character.
In my eyes, I think it is worth watching Mulan when it is free for Disney+ in December. I totally understand why it is priced and I feel for the entire marketing team, script writers, and production crew members that poured their time, effort, and money to make this film possible. There has been an outrage over this when it was first announced and if you think that price is too much, think of how much Black Widow will be if it heads the same direction of availability that Mulan did. Of the Disney remakes, I rank this higher than all of the other Disney remakes so far. Especially since this follows the original story. Mulan felt like a brand new movie, but it falls flat more than it shines and I wish it could have been better.