If you’re not familiar with the tale of Mulan, here’s what you need to know. Mulan is a fearless young woman, who risks everything out of love for her family and her country to become one of the greatest warriors China has ever known. When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.
Mulan Review: What I Liked and Didn’t Like
I’m thrilled with the evolution of the last decade with the female role models we have on the big screen. Girls are no longer the damsel in distress, but instead – they are actively outsmarting their male counterparts and quite literally saving their lives. But sometimes Disney has a way of trying to go over the top in this area…. like they want to punch you in the face with it, and then they expect a pat on the back for their contribution to gender equality. This aspect was one of the most painful parts of Aladdin for me.
However, with Mulan, female empowerment isn’t force-fed, and that – I appreciated. It’s natural and celebrated – as it should be. But when it comes to my overall feelings on the film, the best word to describe them is just “meh.” The acting was fine (and kudos to Disney for having an international cast), the action scenes were average, and the script was just okay. While this version of Mulan is definitely more mature than its animated predecessor of 1998, the nostalgia for that animated film is missing here. I’m not sure how Disney could have best captured that for this movie without making it feel like a kids movie… but that’s what Disney is supposed to do – make things magical. There’s not much magic here.
Overall, if you’re new to Mulan’s story, you probably won’t have the problems with this film that I did. But if you’re new to it, why not just watch the animated version? It has way more charm – even though it is a kid’s film.
Disney’s live-action Mulan isn’t a bad film. It simply missed the target of being nostalgic, which is the motivation that this Disney geek had for seeing it.
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