Based on a true story as well as the Disney Animation smash hit which featured back in 1998.
The film begins with a young Chinese girl named Mulan. Mulan has been known for making mischievous trouble within her small community. Now an adult, Mulan continues to cause her family embarrassing moments even though Mulan’s actions were somewhat accidental with good intentions behind them. Her father is concerned about Mulan and generally does not know what lies within her future.
Soon Mulan’s community hear about a new threat in the lands. To take on this new threat, a male adult from each family is required to leave their home and fight in battle. Mulan’s father has already served previously and can barely fight anymore. To save his life, Mulan decides to take her father’s place by disguising herself as a heroic male warrior. Mulan is now hiding a big secret which could cost her life. She attempts to blend in as intense training begins, but little does Mulan know; she has a secret power within her which is yet to be unlocked.
The visuals of Mulan are quite stunning, which is no surprise as a Disney film. Action sequences were also enjoyable even if some moments seemed over the top or unrealistic. The film’s plot for the most part is also pleasing, and thankfully this feature attempts to be vastly different to the animation which originally featured in 1998. Lovers of the animation will find it hard not to compare this film to what they have grown up with (including myself). I feel performances were also great and even side performances also received a thumbs up. It was also great to see such legends on the screen, including Donnie Yen and Jet Li.
While I found this feature generally enjoyable, there were some elements I struggled to ignore. The final editing choices between some scenes and even during action scenes felt rather unusual to the point that it felt as though the film has missing parts or moved at a too rapid pace. The film’s opening, in which we see Mulan as a young girl, felt unnecessary. As for the main character, I also struggled with the transition from the Mulan who causes trouble at the start and later discovers extraordinary power. It just did not work for me as this concept felt rushed and vague.
Overall, I am surprised at how Disney attempted to create a remake that tries to be different from its original animation. Visuals are quite pleasing, and the film’s action sequences are also fun. Performances, for the most part, are also acceptable. If you are like me and loved the original animation, many will find it hard not to compare, especially when it comes to some of the changes or alterations in the film’s plot or characters. In the end, I am thankful that Disney attempted to make a film that was not a complete copy. When it comes to live-action remakes, the results were indeed positive to see.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden