Director: Niki Caro
Writer: Rich Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek (Screenplay)
Starring: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Li Gong, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Tzi Ma
Plot: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. A live-action feature film based on Disney’s ‘Mulan.’
Tagline – Loyal, Brave, True.
Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Mulan starts as Bori Khan (Lee) looks to start a new war on the Emperor (Li), which sees the Emperor demand one male from every family to come forward and fight for China. Mulan (Liu) the eldest daughter of Zhou (Ma) disguises herself as a male soldier to represent her family in battle.
Mulan joins the forces under Commander Tung (Yen) who looks to bring out the best in her abilities, the abilities which could well be the difference in the war.
Thoughts on Mulan
Characters – Mulan grew up with a sense of adventure, she never wanted to follow the traditions of village, she wanted to become a warrior like her father, being a woman meant she wasn’t allowed to enter this world, but when it came to her family needing to send a male to war, she pretends to be a man to fight for the honour of her family, for her country, proving to be one of the deadliest warriors in the war. Commander Tung is assigned to lead the honour of China’s imperial army putting together the troops, following the rules of creating the fiercest male soldiers. Xianniang is the witch fighting against the Emperor, she sees the power in Mulan and wants to help her become the warrior she was destine to become, even if it meant they would fight on opposite sides of the battle. The Emperor is the leader of China, he needs to put together an army to protect the people from a vengeful threat. Bori Khan saw his father killed in the hands the Emperor, now he has built an army to take control of China at any price, bringing together other fallen soldiers to make his army feared and dangerous, with a witch leading their moves.
Performances – Yifei Liu in the leading role is great to watch, the handling of the conflict scenes, the undercover scenes and fighting against outdated traditions comes strong from her performance. Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee and Tzi Ma bring the male leads to life with their own style you would have come to expect to see in them. Li Gong brings us the colourful witch who wanted change to life.
Story – The story here follows a young Chinese woman Mulan that defies the rules of her homeland to become a warrior that will look to fight for the dynasty to save the Emperor. This is a remake that does bring the animated favourite to life, losing a lot of the fantasy elements, focusing on the Mulan, a woman looking to defy the traditions to defend her homeland and family honour. This does show that traditions can be broken to make something big happen in life, break traditions to start new ones. While this does show the change happening, it still comes off very safe, with the villainous character not looking like a truly terrifying figure, not showing enough of what they are trying to fight for in their battles.
Action/Adventure – The action scenes are big, while they do have a couple of strange camera angles, while the massive battle scenes don’t bring anything new to the game.
Settings – The film looks visually beautiful landscapes for the scenes, with discovery location that Mulan visits to be alone being a place of true beauty.
Scene of the Movie – Avalanche attack.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – Bori Khan doesn’t feel like the threat he is implied to be.
Final Thoughts – This is a beautiful Disney Live Action Remake that brings to life the characters in a way that feel most natural from the animated one.