By Jennifer Stuart
The live action Mulan movie has finally been released to the public after several months delay. Rather than a theatrical release Disney has chosen to make it a premium offering on Disney Plus. If you are willing to wait until December, however, you will be able to view it with a regular Disney Plus subscription for no additional fee. This post offers a spoiler-free review of the live action Mulan movie.
To be honest we have not always been fans of the recent trend to make live action remakes of popular Disney animated movies. Disney has been struggling with their live adaptations hitting the mark. Some have been almost frame by frame retellings of the animated versions. I'm looking at you Lion King. Or some go the opposite direction and change the story so much that it is virtually unrecognizable, like Dumbo. Mulan is neither of these. It finds a balance between keeping the spirit of the animated story while offering a fresh take that is closer to the traditional tale.
First lets talk about the visuals. Even from the trailers, it was obvious the filmmakers were going for an epic look. Mission accomplished. The cinematography is simply stunning. The wide vistas and scale of the battle shots and scenery of the Imperial City definitely fit the legendary scope of the story. The use of colour is also amazing. It is very deliberately used to invoke emotion or to draw attention. The whole is a visual feast that makes it such a shame that this film didn't get it's theatrical release as it really deserves to be watched on a big screen.
The casting for the movie was well done, and according to a Disney news release, focused on actors who had a knowledge of martial arts. This makes sense when you watch the fight or battle scenes that definitely focus on martial arts. There are plenty of slow motion parts in the battles to highlight the drama and what I would call a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" style of exaggerated fight scenes. The casting of Jet Li as the Emperor was a great touch.
Are you going to miss the singing? Maybe. This isn't a musical in the style of Beauty and the Beast where the characters break into song to express their feelings. You will find the songs still, but as part of the musical score rather than sung by characters. I liked that as it felt like a familiar and beloved part of the story. I didn't need anyone else to sing the words, I definitely had the words in my head when I heard the familiar music for "Reflection" or "Ill Make a Man Out of You".
I know lots of people were disappointed early on when it was revealed that Mushu wouldn't be in this movie. I loved his character in the animated version, but I can see how it just wouldn't work in this version. Mushu is one of the elements of comic relief and this is a more serious movie that doesn't have the same comic moments or characters.
This is a grittier version of Mulan. It is definitely aimed at a slightly older audience (rated PG-13 for violence) than the animated version. While not really a movie I think little kids would like, it is a great choice for slightly older family members who are OK with some violence but don't want any blood and gore.(Grade 3 and up depending on your kid IMO) There are a few things I would have like to see, for instance more emphasis on how Mulan didn't fit in as an adult, and I would have liked the main villain to be more menacing. Overall I have to say that I loved this version of Mulan. Did I cry at the end? Why, of course I did.
Insider Tip: Here is an Easter Egg for you. The opening sequence changed the usual Cinderella Castle in Disney World to the castle in Shanghai Disneyland.
If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in some of our other Disney posts.
All screenshots are property of Disney and used only for review purposes.
Comments? Questions? We would love to hear form you.
Find Us on YouTube
Follow us on Pinterest
Click to set custom HTML