The latest Disney classic animated movie to be remade in live action. The first product to be released on Disney Plus premium due to COVID-19 restricting its planned cinema release. Having not watched the 1998 animated version since its release I will not be comparing the two movies but will review Mulan on its own merit as a stand alone movie.
PLOT AND STORY
Mulan is a young woman who is told she must grow up and bring honor to her family by getting married and being a good wife. With a thirst for adventure and to save her father from death in the army, Mulan secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process. There are a lot of political statements being made with this movie regarding sexismn and a lot of it is very relevant to today even though it’s a story set a long time ago.
The story has a serious and adult tone which focuses heavily on action and martial arts. There are some like hearted and funny moments which do a great job in breaking the atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed moments when Mulan is in close quarters with male recruits and her quick responses to deflecting away from the fact she is a woman.
The writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver who also wrote Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Jurassic World have done a great job of creating a story which promotes feminism messages in a strong female lead without making its statements political and forced. This is a story blessed with fun, action and thertrics which will entertain a younger audience as any good Disney movie should but also had a serious enough tone to engage the adult audience too.
PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION
I think Mulan looked incredible with lots of big sweeping landscapes and beautiful, tranquil settings in the mountains or around lakes. The battles take place on big open dusty battlefields which I know a lot would be CGI but looked very impressive. Comparable to other movies which have similar battles like Lord of the Rings, The Last Samurai and Troy.
Mulan is a very skilled fighter, especially with a sword and she has some very technical choreography which are quite impressive to watch. There is a lot of time, practice and training gone into this movie which delivers an entertaining outcome. I don’t know who was in charge of creating the fight scenes but they deserve much of the credit as these are some of the stand out moments of the movie. With a cast which includes Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee and Jet Li you know the standard will be high.
The flow to Mulan had a great pace as it blends its dialogue scenes with its high tempo action scenes well. There was always something happening to keep the audience entertained and you get enough story to give substance to the movie while then quickly shifting pace and being amazed at the action.
Mulan is cast perfectly by Yifei Liu (The Forbidden Kingdom, Once upon A Time) who brings class, beauty and style to the character. As her mentor in the army Donnie Yen (IP Man, Rouge One) brings his years of existence and martial arts ability to the role of Commander Tung. Playing the Emperor of China was the legendary Jet Li (The One, The Expendables) and his adversary Bori Khan was played by the always intimidating Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Hawaii 5 0). Assisting Bori Khan was the witch Xianniang who produced a stand out performance from Li Gong (Memoirs of a Giesha, Miami Vice).
I found Mulan to be an enjoyable and entertaining movie. Yes I admit there is a cheesy ending but it’s what you come to expect from a Disney movie. A great cast who performed some impressive fighting against a beautiful backdrop. Mulan is an enjoyable movie for all the family. Some other reviews may say it doesn’t have the heart of the original but watching this as a stand alone movie without comparisons and I struggle to find anything bad about Mulan.
I watched this via Disney plus Premier and received no incentive to review this movie.