And so marches the Disney Empire, unyielding and laying waste to all around it. Mulan is the latest of their animated classics updated to live-action, and in my humble opinion one of the very best of said classics. A wonderful coming-of-age story about a young Chinese girl struggling to fit into the society’s expectations for her who, in hopes of saving her aging, ailing father’s life by taking his place when the Chinese army comes recruiting in the face of an existential Hun threat. It’s a terrific version of a Chinese legend, one touching on family, gender, romance, and duty.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t found the news about this live-action remake particularly promising. The classic songs, easily among the best of any Disney movie, will not be included. Captain Li Shang has also been replaced with a new love interest, threatening the amazing, um, less than straight romance iconic to the animated version. It’s been hard to remain optimistic knowing probably the two best parts of Mulan have been cut.
I’ve regained a bit of my optimism now that we have a live trailer. Whatever the changes, this still looks like Mulan. You can recognize important scenes such as the avalanche, the training scenes, and the montage of women gussying Mulan up. There also looks like the sequence where you’d expect the song “Reflections,” though I guess we aren’t getting that. It’s still recognizably a remake of the animated movie.
Although it does look like Mulan will kick a lot more ass in this movie. There’s a lot of pretty action in this teaser, and scenes of Mulan flipping around stabbing the hell out of people. I was surprised to see her straight up murdering fools here. Surprised, but delighted. Generally, everything looks fantastic, as you’d expect. These live-action remakes have all looked absolutely gorgeous.
And in general, people have wanted these remakes to try something new with these stories, to actually be worth remaking rather than an easy money grab. Mulan looks to actually want to try something new here. Color me intrigued. I’m hoping for the best and feeling a lot better now than I was beforehand.
Mulan hits theaters in spring 2020.