Movie Review: Mulan

Directed by Niki Caro

2 Stars

After the Emperor of China issued an edict that one man from every family is obligated to serve in the Imperial Army, the courageous Hua Mulan assumes her debilitated father's place by disguising herself as a man – serving the Imperial Army, fending off formidable foes while embracing her true potential to defend her country and to make her father proud. 

Prior to watching the 2020 live-action adaptation of Mulan, I revisited its 90s animated counterpart and strongly believe that the animated classic is far superior to this live-action epic. The side characters were lukewarm/underdeveloped in the live-action Mulan, making them forgettable, with minimal emotional attachment to any of them. The training montage in the animated version showed Mulan’s hard work and her gradual progression into one of the greatest warriors out of all the trainees. However, the introduction of chi in the live-action adaptation ruined the whole point of this montage. The film was dragging at times. The removal of Mushu and his lively personality was also a big disappointment, although that’s just a personal critique.   

 Don’t get me wrong, I still think that Disney’s live-action adaptation of the fearless heroine Mulan had a lot going for it. Impressive cinematography and great fight choreography, which kept viewers engaged throughout. And my personal favourite, switched from the lighthearted tone that the 90s movie accentuated and moved towards a more serious, dramatic style, removing the musical aspect the last film adaptation possessed. I might just be biased and loyal to the original, but if you are looking for a values-infused movie, by all means, but if you want a movie faithful to the original, this movie might fall short. 

Reviewed by Aaron S. 

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