Disney’s Newest Live-Action Remake

Disney Empowering Women Yet Again


Bayleigh Koch

Raw and Empowering: The newest live action remake offers empowerment towards women, action and beautiful pictures. Mulan is a great pick for movie night.

(Warning: Review contains spoilers to the Mulan, 2020 Remake.)
At the beginning of September, the live-action Mulan was released on Disney Plus with a charge of $29.99 for “Premier Access” to stream the movie. For users who do not wish to pay the charge, the film will be released to all members on December 4, 2020.
The Mulan remake had a 43.8 million dollar box office budget, while the 1998 animated version’s budget was 304.3 million dollars. Not only was the budget of the movies a drastic difference, but the storyline had quite a few changes.
The whole movie screamed girl power and it was nice to see her character portrayed as a strong, independent woman. The story of Mulan takes place in China during the war times in 386-534 B.C. when men from families are drafted to fight against a Hun invasion, which was called the Imperial Army in the newer version. Afraid that her father is not strong enough from a leg injury that happened in the war, Mulan disguises herself as a man to represent her family.
In the newer version, the movie opens with a scene of little Mulan running on the roof of her Siheyuan, or residence, chasing a chicken. The young girl is then scolded for acting like a boy and not a proper daughter, and she is also told she needs to hide her “chi”. Throughout the entire movie, the traits of bravery, honesty, and honor are drilled into Mulan’s head. These are also the traits that Mulan should represent when being a wife. The scene of Mulan going to the matchmaker was stunning. The makeup painted on Mulan and the decor within the matchmaker’s home was well-done and detailed
It then transitions to a scene showing the Imperial Army attacking a village in China and shows a witch named Xianniang. The witch was not a character in the original animated film. In the remake, the witch tries to form a connection with Mulan, saying that the two are similar because their “chi” is very powerful. The storyline revolves around Mulan fighting against Xianniang and the leader of the Imperial Army, Böri Khan, who is trying to murder the Emporer and take over the kingdom.
Another difference that upset me personally was the lack of talking characters. In the 1989 film, Mulan takes on the journey of fighting in the war with her two sidekicks: Cricket and Mushu, a talking dragon. In this version, Cricket is a male fighting alongside Mulan and the group of friends that she makes along the way. Mushu on the other hand is not a character at all. Like many Disney princesses, Mulan has a sidekick, but in the live-action film, we do not see that relationship. When Mulan’s father, Hua Zhou, wakes up to the realization of Mulan’s disappearance, he prays to the ancestors to keep her safe. As a result, a phoenix follows Mulan throughout the story. But we do not see a strong relationship between the two other than the phoenix protecting her.
Not only are the characters different, but the romantic aspect is almost nonexistent. In the 1998 animated film, Mulan falls in love with the handsome captain, Li Shang along her journey of being a soldier. In the remake, the character Li Shang is not there at all, but Mulan does form a bond with Chen Honghui, another soldier. At the end of the movie, Honghui makes a comment about seeing her again but other than that slight flirty moment, no romantic relationship is seen within the movie.
Aside from the drastic differences in films, the remake was astounding. The scenes were breathtaking, colorful, and looked realistic. I also thought that all of the actors and actresses were well cast. The whole movie screamed girl power and it was nice to see her character portrayed as a strong, independent woman. This film will definitely be making its way back onto my TV for a movie night with the family.