I could say I’m a fan of Disney movies and I’ve seen its animated storytelling of Mulan decades ago. So it was only natural for me to want to catch its live action version and see how Mulan 2020 compares to the 1998 film.
So, okay, here are some thoughts while watching the live-action Mulan. Fair warning…
** THERE MAY BE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD **
- I liked how they didn’t really put songs in this film (except for the score with the song, “Honor To Us All” from the animated movie). While Crystal Liu, the actress playing Mulan, is a singer, I don’t think songs are really gonna work here. The vibe is less for kids, I think, but the lesson is still appropriate for all ages.
- I don’t get why some people are mad that Mushu isn’t in the film. “Dishonor on your cow,” LOL! Because if he was there, he won’t exactly fit in the storyline. Also, an interesting tidbit that I found on YouTube while reading the comments on the song, “Loyal Brave True,” the phoenix — Mulan’s spirit guide — represents the Yin (in the Chinese Yin/Yang symbol), which is a female (while the Yang, the dragon, is male). So I think that it’s just fitting that the phoenix was there with her all throughout her journey.
- I absolutely like “Loyal Brave True.” And it suits the Mulan 2020 version, more than “Reflection.” Well, Mulan DID look at her reflection but not in “important water” during her moment of realization (LOL at the reference, sorry).
- So Cricket here is not a cricket. But he sure is a lucky one.
- There’s a Donny in the animated and a Donnie in the live action. Interesting. And they both got down to business.
- Wait, that’s Jason Scott Lee? Dang, I’m old. He looks scary here but animated Shan Yu is much scarier, in my opinion.
- I think the live action was made to be more historically accurate (or close enough?) because they mentioned the antagonists as the nomadic Rourans and didn’t just generalize them as Huns.
- I liked how the movie showed two women who were seen as different (or weird?) by their people, and how they used their uniqueness for good or bad. Basically, what happens to their arc all boils down to the choices that they made.
- Aaaaaand there’s that *supposedly* love interest. Disney ain’t Disney without that angle, huh?
- I like the action scenes here, I think they’re well-choreographed.
- Acting here is pretty Hollywood. Before watching Mulan, I caught League of Gods on Netflix (because Jet Li and Tony Leung, OMG so babaw) and that was typical Chinese acting, if you know what I mean. This was kinda refreshing for a movie with a predominantly Asian cast.
- But somehow, Crystal Liu’s acting is just, I don’t know, lacking?
- In true Disney fashion, there is an Easter Egg waiting for viewers near the end of the film. Ha!
- I like the lesson in the movie, how it is important to be loyal, brave, and true (to your heart, char!). But yeah, the film showed how these values are significant on its own and more so together. True, Mulan was loyal and brave from the start. But when she became true to herself, she was able to overcome all challenges she faced, whether in battle or with the perception of her people.
After watching this film, I caught another movie version of Mulan starring Zhao Wei. I think it’s a good companion to this one. A caveat: there’s less magic or “chi” involved here and more of the titular character’s experiences in war. Twelve long years, man. And there’s also a love angle, yeah. Go check out Mulan: Rise of a Warrior if you have the time.
Can I just say: I watched Mulan 2020 by myself. My daughters weren’t in the mood to watch a movie when I caught it. Hubby, on the other hand, didn’t want to support it because of the Hong Kong-China situation. It’s a shame, though, that this movie has been politicized since the beginning. Not to mention that it has been heavily compared to the animated version. To its merit, the live-action Mulan is, overall, a pretty decent film. And the song “Loyal Brave True” has a beautiful melody and meaningful lyrics. I’d be listening to Christina Aguilera belting it out a few times more in the coming days.
So, would I watch Mulan again? Maybe, I don’t know. But if I do, I’ll make sure to leave the biases and issues out so it won’t affect my feelings towards it and I’d simply enjoy it for what it is.