Deanna Wright

Mulan will make a man out of you in the new live-action film. 

The company has been releasing live-action adaptations of the favorite princess classics since 2014. The Hollywood premiere was almost six months prior to the actual release date due to the pandemic. After the long six months, Walt Disney Pictures decided to release it to their streaming service, Disney+. 

Many Disney fans love the classics like “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Fox and the Hound,” and even “Mulan.” However, fans have not been thrilled with Disney charging them for the film when they already pay for the streaming service each month. With fans boycotting Mulan, Disney made the executive call to make the film free once December comes around. 

“Mulan” follows the exact same storyline as the original animated movie from 1998. Mulan is the only child in her family in the original, but in this film, she has a younger sister. 

Unlike her younger sister, Mulan is a very adventurous and outgoing girl and does not understand why she has to wed to a good husband. Senior Healthcare Admin major Noah Valletutti gave the director and writers praise for choosing to add a sibling to the adaptation.

“The addition of a sister that was a proper Chinese girl provided a parallel for Mulan’s defiant, tomboy attitude. It showed the audience what her family wanted her to be, and helped establish her a rebel,” Valletutti said. 

Even though Mulan did not want to be a proper Chinese girl like her family wanted her to be, she still wanted to stay loyal to her family in every way she could. 

“I enjoyed the message Mulan had and focused on being loyal to your family, brave to stand for what you believe, and true,” junior Elisa Clarke said. 

Throughout the movie, there are many parts the director and writers decided to change from the original. From taking out Grandma Fa and Mushu, the talking dragon who was a fan favorite, to getting rid of the amazing soundtrack from the original. Clarke was not a fan of these aspects. 

“There seemed to be a missing piece. It did not carry the same nostalgia and it was missing the heart that the first Mulan had with Mushu, Cricket, and her grandma Fa,”  Clarke said. 

Even though they made the decision to take out all of the singing in the movie, they had Christina Aguilera record a rendition of the original “Reflection.” The lyrics of the song weren’t used until the credits, but throughout the movie it was used as a background sound. 

The popular song “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” was also referenced when Sergeant Qiang told the whole training camp that they will make a man out of every single one of them. 

The film also gave tribute to some of the original’s popular characters. They had Sergeant Qiang quote one of Mushu’s popular lines in the original by stating, “Disgrace for you, disgrace for your family…” A tribute to Cricket was also included by giving the name to one of Mulan’s fellow soldiers. 

However, the writers’ and directors’ designs of the sets on this film were beautiful, taking them from animation and bringing them to life.  

“Cinematically, it was beautiful with all the complex sword fighting,” Clarke said. “The more I was thinking about it, the more I came to understand what the film was missing. The Mulan in 1998 had to have determination and use her creativity and strength that she gained through training to defeat the enemy. On the other hand, the new Mulan was already powerful and we did get to see her work to gain respect- she just had this super random Chi ability which wasn’t ever really explained.”

This Chi ability played a key role in the new Mulan and was shown in the first ten minutes of the movie. This Chi ability shows up again during a training camp scene when she starts a fight with Honghui and she uses it to send a spear towards him. This was a major change, since traditionally, this is a man’s ability and Mulan had it from a young age. She uses this ability to defeat Böri Khan and save the emperor. 

Even though there are changes from the 1998 version, this film still follows the storyline of Mulan and gives a fresh perspective. Unlike critics and Disney fans giving the movie backlash, Tony Bancroft, the director of the 1998 version, praised the adaptation. 

“I want these remakes to be as unique and original as possible… It should feel reminiscent of what it’s based on, but not be ‘The Lion King’ in CG animation that is like shot for shot,” Bancroft said. 

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