Movie Review: ‘Mulan’ (2020)

Following the 1998 version of ‘Mulan,’ one of their best animated movies, Disney brings a new live-action version

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By Ally Sul

Despite not going straight to theatres, “Mulan” still grossed $66.8 million when send to Disney Plus.

Ally Sul, JAG reporter/photographer

When Disney released the 1998 film, “Mulan” it gave little girls like me a main character in the Disney franchise that looked like them. When Disney decided to remake one of my favorite Disney movies in live–action, I could hardly wait. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, the new “Mulan” was taken out of theatres and went straight to Disney+.

By already having a Disney+ subscription, it seemed that watching this new movie would be easy and painless right? Boy, was I wrong. 

Since “Mulan” could not go to theaters, and people would not be able to buy tickets, watching this new movie came at a price. A very hefty price too, at $29.99. Although $29.99 seems like a lot, if that number was broken down to a family of four, that amount comes to around $7.50 per person, which is around the same price of one ticket to the movie theaters. However, if subscribers are not willing to pay this price of $29.99, “Mulan” will be available to all Disney+ subscribers on December 4th. Or, subscribers can buy “Mulan” right when it hits Disney+ on Sept. 4.

When September 4th rolled around I could hardly wait. My family and I spent $29.99 and watched the movie later that night. However, my excitement and great expectations for this movie got the best of me; and I was deeply disappointed with the movie’s results.

This new redone version of “Mulan” had an array of differences from the 1998 version. For starters, Mulan’s name was changed from Fa Mulan to Hua Mulan. Mulan’s surname was changed to be historically and culturally correct. The original story of Hua Mulan was first written in a Chinese record; and was written under the title of “The Ballad of Mulan.” However, a change like this makes sense, but there were some changes that did not sit well with me.

Unlike the 1998 version, no songs were included. Instead, music played in the background of scenes as an instrumental version of the song. Along with this change to the 2020 version, Mulan’s love interest was changed from Li Shang to a new character named Chen Honghui. Who was just simply another soldier Mulan met at the training camp; and worst of all, Mushu isn’t even included or mentioned.

Many key characters or ideas of the 1998 version were either just simply not included or replaced with new ones in this brand new 2020 version. Despite the many disappointments I had with this movie, the stunts, CGI, and fight scenes made up for the rest of the key elements missing from this new version of “Mulan.”

Mulan’s actress Yifei Liu did around 90% of her own stunts, which resulted in raw and amazing shots in a movie filled with up-close fight scenes. Fight scenes in this movie were shot with complete execution, and showed that women are a force to be reckoned with. “Mulan” was also shot in various different places. Such as over 20 places in China, and even in New Zealand. When not being shot in real-life settings, the CGI in this movie was done with excellence and gave the movie’s scenes more life.

Perhaps I had my expectations set too high for this movie. Despite the clear changes done to the 2020 version, “Mulan” was still a good movie. However, I would advise others to just simply wait until December 4th to watch this version. Use those 30 bucks for something else.

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