Mulan 2020 Review
Disney is back with yet another one of their live action adaptations of a beloved animated classic. Next out of the factory is Mulan, adapted from the 1998 film that was definitely a bonafide hit.
Now, all of these recent Disney remakes are pretty hit or miss for me. I liked Cinderella, Jungle Book, and Aladdin. Wasn’t quite the biggest fan of Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King. For some reason those last two stories mentioned did not receive any additional benefits when turned into live action movies, unless you were a huge fan of the originals, and needed to see how they compared to each other.
This Mulan movie faced a unique challenge because it’s clearly an American film that HAS to appeal to the “all important” Chinese marketplace, while not disrespecting their original folklore, while simultaneously appealing to fans of a cartoon that took EXTREME measures with that same folklore.
I do believe that the filmmakers found their way to accomplishing that. More liberties have been made, but it’s done to accomplish the lofty that this film sets for itself. That involves taking influences from a wide variety of established stories, mainly Star Wars and recent superhero movies, and I WAS THERE FOR IT! I do believe that Director Niki Caro finds her balance in crafting a film that holds a strong narrative for young girls, has some entertaining battle scenes, some tributes to the style of old school Wushu movies that have come before, and a few moments “a girl disguised as a boy” hijinks.
It also manages to put in place some of the visual cues from the animated version that really impressed me. The film works just fine without big musical numbers. There are a few character changes that I felt matched with this narrative a little better, including the addition of another female character that worked as an “Evil Reflection” of Mulan.
The performances are all good with the actors bringing just slightly more depth than the animated version. A few story beats felt rushed, but that may have been due to keeping the runtime under control. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me.
4 out of 5 stars.
Mulan is premiering on Disney Plus in their new “Premium Access” for $29.99 OR you can wait until December 4th, where it will be available on Disney Plus for no extra charge.
“Marquee Mark” Markellus