Eh. This remake is like if Zack Snyder directed a Mulan remake but actually liked color.
I must’ve watched the 1998 Mulan at least a hundred times as a kid. If you don’t know, I’m half Chinese, half Caucasian. In spite of my ethnic background, this is just coming from my experience personally, I don’t think as a mixed-raced child I really thought or was aware that much about the whole “Asian significance” of Mulan or why my mom probably chose to buy it for us in the first place—kids don’t really notice these sort of cultural gaps. As a youth, I was just sheerly entertained by how good of a movie it is. Now as an adult however, it is neat to see that the “objectively” (haha, kidding) best Disney princess movie—although, I still have yet to see the animated Beauty and the Beast—happens to be the one that candidly showcased ancient Asian culture in America’s entertainment scene during the late 90s.
I think this remake we have here is more concerned with the power of ridiculously epic slow-mo camera angles, wide-gazing scope shots, and montage compiling more than it is with expanding on the past’s corrupt Chinese culture that the previous movie establishes elementarily. With live-action adaptations, there’s usually an automatic expectation for it to have added maturity considering the cartoon world has left and the physical world has arrived, however, the 2020 Mulan feels as if it has translated its predecessor almost beat by beat in terms of story, themes, and characters to create a cartoon that feels forcibly formatted into live-action. There’s an additional 30 minutes added here from the original and yet the musical numbers have been deducted, Eddie Murphy is nowhere to be seen, and I, indeed, was not able to get down to business. Imagine if this whole extravaganza had just been an R-rated war movie (I‘m allowed to dream you know?) then maybe I could see a justifiable reason for the musical numbers or the magical sidekicks to be torn out of the picture.
But it’s not necessarily this in which I am distraught by; it’s what replaces these assets: pointlessly over-the-top expositional conversations, awkward attempts to translate the goofy scenes from its source material into live-action, a lopsided structure of events which equates to an awfully slow pace, a perplexing new character who’s used solely as a plot device, and an unappealing construction of eccentrically edited action spectacles; these lackluster properties are what make this Mulan remake insanely uninviting. Nobody should accept this feeble magnitude of quality from Disney anymore when it comes to their greedy rehash expeditions.
It’s a much prettier-looking movie than I expected though, I must say. Minus the distracting CGI, of course. Again, it’s Snyder but with pleasing coloring.
“Mulan” is now available to purchase on Disney+.