Mulan: Disney’s Superficial, Emotional Live-Action


Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Gong Li, … all of those Chinese stars gathered in Mulan, costing Disney 200 million dollars to produce. This also makes Mulan the most expensive live-action version of the Mouse House, also the female-directed film most invested in by Disney.

Despite such a huge investment, Mulan still suffers an upset fate when the release schedule was changed several times and ends up being unable to meet audiences in theaters in most markets. Ultimately, Disney had to show the movie to its online platform, earning an additional $ 29.99 per user, on a pre-paid platform of $7 a month.

A superficial story, lacking in emotion

The story of the female general Hoa Moc Lan from the fourth to the sixth centuries was handed down through the poem, then transformed into a movie many times, now has been trimmed in the 2020 version. However, these changes are unreasonable, even illogical.

Focusing on the main story, the most obvious change we see is the disappearance of the two characters Mushu and Cric-kee, replaced by the Hoa’s mascot, the phoenix, without a name, any linés, and function. While the two old characters not only added entertainment to the animated version, but also served as a companion to Mulan, and had a story development, as well as personalities, the phoenix now appears only as an ornament!

Or if you consider the smaller details, you can still find a lot of grit in the mixed hotpot named Mulan. Everyone knows the Chinese have levitating techniques, but why can chickens fly? Why is it that in the same avalanche, only the enemy dies, and her troops are still safe and sound?

Discrete character system

First, the main character Mulan from the 2020 version, different from what we have already known, had an additional ability, called ki, and she knew she was outstanding right at a young age. Instead of having to strive for herself, she was closer to the finish line than ordinary people, and she even had to hide her special power. The development of this character is also unclear, when she was just about to give up, then someone said 1-2 dogma, and she changed her mind.

Mulan’s opponent is the bird lady with a quite puzzling mentality. She knew how to turn from hawk to bat, hypnotize and fight, in short, she possessed an unbeaten strength, but her power of spirit was ironically weak. Continuously pleading with her rivals, constantly saying philosophies about women, this character who was not even given a name was just a tool for the film’s producer to over-cram about the feudal woman’s identity.

The lackluster performance also appeared in Mulan’s comrades. The relationship between these characters is not built thoroughly. Instead of getting through the hardships together, they developed in their own ways separately, so by the end of the training, the only person who could carry water up to the top of the mountain was the one with natural power, Mulan.

Dull acting

With such a large investment and a certain cast of stars, what will Mulan’s producer do? There are two cases: Either the actors have little space to act because of the script limit; or there are many, many opportunities for them, but they can perform one, and only one expression.

Which must be mentioned is obviously Liu Yifei’s acting. In the entire movie, we have only seen the “angle” smile about twice. For the rest of the time, whether being sad, happy, proud or even fighting with the opponent, flying over the opponent’s head, mourning for the opponent, this airhead beauty still has only one expression: no emotions.


 We won’t really know in what era Mulan lived. According to folklore, the story of Mulan replacing her father as enlistment is from about the fourth century to the sixth century. While the emperor’s attire and hair as well as the courtiers all look like the Tang dynasty, ie the seventh to the tenth centuries. The area where the Hoa family lived is called Hokkien Long, built from the twelfth century to the twentieth century.

In short, Mulan 2020, compared to the 1998 animated version, is definitely inferior, at least in terms of content and emotion. Or if ranked among the works in Disney’s live-action campaign like Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast, it is also much weaker in terms of music and acting. Even, without any comparisons, after watching the movie, I don’t understand which audience this movie is really for. Because it is too serious and lacks the entertainment to appeal to children, and also too naive and lack the logic to persuade adults.

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