Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Gong Li
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father.
Mulan was possibly the most talked about film released in 2020. Whether it was the political issues, the direct to Disney+ release or simply the analysis of the film itself in comparison to the 1998 animated version - there have been many opinions thrown about.
For those who are unaware of the story - we follow a young Chinese woman, Mulan, who illegally passes herself off as a male in order to take her father's place in the conscripted army.
The first thing to address is the fact that this live action version of Mulan does 'not' contain a fraction of the comic relief found in the 1998 version, nor is it a musical. It is next to impossible not to compare a remake with its predecessor(s), however we do think a lot of the criticism the film received in relation to the changes were very harsh. The core of the story was very similar to the 1998 version, with Mulan taking her father's place in the army - simultaneously saving his life and bringing dishonour to the family name. There were many minor alterations such as the lack of singing, no Mushu and a spattering of character/story changes. We found many of these changes a necessary byproduct of turning a family-friendly animated film into a live action version which is (presumably) targeted at a slightly older audience. The tone is slightly darker, which was actually a pleasant surprise to us. The only change we found detracted from our enjoyment was the inclusion of a slight supernatural/energy element which was somewhat in opposition to the 'its the strength of the heart that matters' message of the film.
Trying to forget the 1998 version existed, this is an excellent story and a very good film with a few minor flaws. We did enjoy the animated instalment more but not by much. This is a different experience which will be more suited to teens and older, rather than the whole family. There is no doubt Mulan (2020) is well worth the watch.
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