By James Davidson
Disney’s “Mulan” is the latest live action remake of a classic animated film. It was released on September 4th 2020 on the Disney+ streaming platform. It is available on Disney+ for an additional $29.99 and is now available to own on DVD, digital, and Blu-ray. It is a live action retelling of the 1998 classic of a young woman in Imperial China who pretends to be a man in order to fight for her family in a war against invading forces and bring her family honor. It stars Yifei Liu as Mulan and includes international superstars Donnie Yen and Jet Li as Commander Tung and the Emperor respectively.
I knew the challenge in this film was going to be to try not to compare this iteration to the original. I knew from watching trailers and reading about it that this movie was going to show a more serious take on the story without any of the songs and comedic relief that the original had. I was looking forward to seeing how the film would accomplish this and thought that this movie would be more like a kung fu action flick. I was especially looking forward to seeing Donnie Yen and Jet Li in action. Unfortunately, this movie was inconsistent with its writing and action scenes and did little to stand out and make me forget about the original.
I did find the scenic locations very beautiful and visually pleasing. The locations where the movie was shot was full of beautiful mountain ranges and breathtaking scenery. The scenery provided an incredible backdrop for the film, and was the thing that most stood out to me about this movie.
The acting was fantastic with Yifei Liu doing a wonderful job at portraying Mulan and her struggle to find a way to bring her family honor in a male dominated society. It was illegal for women to fight as warriors in Imperial China and Mulan faced many challenges in hiding who she really was. I thought that the movie did a great job at showing the struggle of Mulan trying to find herself while trying to hide herself at the same time. Liu portrayed this role to perfection.
Unfortunately, I thought that some of the writing was a bit inconsistent. There were several scenes where the dialogue seemed a bit clunky and repetitive. However there were other scenes where the dialogue was fine. The action also followed this trend. I was expecting some terrific action scenes with action stars such as Donnie Yen and Jet Li, while the scenes that featured those two, along with most of the action scenes featuring Liu were quite excited and well shot and choreographed, the rest of the action sequences felt a bit pedestrian. Some of the fight scenes were heavily edited and digitally altered and it really showed in the finished product and in my opinion, took away from some of those scenes.
While I enjoyed most of the writing in the plot. I really liked some of the changes that the writers made from the original, such as adding a supernatural element to the evil forces as well as a female bad guy. I thought that the plot was missing something to bring it to the next level of a good movie to a great one.
This movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence. There is quite a bit of violence and war scenes but hardly any blood or gore. I almost think that they should have added a little bit of blood just to make the movie more realistic. I mean, when someone gets slashed with a sword or shot with an arrow you expect a little blood. Instead the swords remained shiny and pristine throughout the entire movie. I do understand that it is difficult to make a family action film and this does make this movie more appropriate for children, and it is a wonderful family film that everyone in the family will enjoy.
“Mulan” is a fun family action movie that the entire family should find entertaining. It does have a few inconsistencies, but has as few fun action sequences and a good story with some breathtaking scenery. It doesn’t quite live up to the original in my opinion, but it is a fine retelling of a classic film. I think that this film is worth seeing, however, I don’t think that I would spend $29.99 on it. If you can find it for cheaper on DVD like I did, or if you can wait until December when it is freely available on DIsney+ i highly recommend that you make this a movie for family night. “Mulan” earns 3 out of 5 stars.