Review by Dan Skip Allen
Mulan is the latest Disney live-action reboot based on their animated films from the 1990s and further back in the Disney catalog of films. A couple of these big-screen adaptations have garnered critical acclaim but not all of them. Like some of the others, Mulan has been changed some from its original incarnation, specifically no songs or talking dragons this time around.
Mulan has a lot of great films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, and Hero to live up to. It has a lot of the same qualities as these films, such as bright colors and gorgeous costumes. The fight choreography is on par with these great films. The cinematography from Mandy Walker is absolutely beautiful. With the great Chinese films such as those comes great wirework that makes for incredible fight scenes. This film possesses vast and sprawling battle scenes just like the previous iteration from Disney. These are the strengths of this new version of this story.
Just like the animated film this version also has great actors portraying some of the roles in the film. Donnie Yen, famous for Ip Man, plays Commander Ting, Jet Li plays the Emperor and Li Gong plays Xianniang, a fierce warrior witch. Mulan on the other hand is played by newcomer Yifei Liu. Unlike the other Disney live-action films, Niki Caro went with an unknown for her starring role. She does a serviceable job carrying the weight of this enormous film on her shoulders. The supporting cast helps her make this remake that much better.
The budget of Mulan was 200 million dollars, and it shows in all aspects of the film. From the cinematography to the sets and the costumes the scale of this Disney epic is prevalent throughout. This famous Chinese legend has come to life in all its glory. The only flaw this film has is its script. It's a more bare-bones adaptation of the original Disney animated film. Where that one had a little bit more flair and pomp and circumstance this one is more straightforward.
Fans of the original will be pleased with this new version and fans of a new generation will be created for this updated adaptation of this classic tale. In an era of the #MeToo movement, women of all ages will be able to get behind this incredible tale of one woman's journey to defend her family's honor and fight for what she believes in. This story is one people from all walks of life can relate to. Women are everywhere and so they all can relate to this story of one woman's empowerment and journey to overcome stereotypes and preconceived notions of what is a women's place in society. Caro and Disney have done a great job with Mulan.
Mulan is now streaming on Disney+.