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It's a glorious time to be a Disney fan. With live-action movies like Beauty and the Beast ultimately recapturing the magic of the animated Disney Renaissance, the studio has proven that modern technology and nostalgia can be a powerful combination. One of the next modern Disney updates on the horizon is a live-action version of Mulan, but the adaptation will apparently make a huge change to the original by not framing itself as a musical. Director Niki Caro explained:
I think it pretty much goes without saying that Niki Caro's recent comments to Moviefone will catch quite a few longtime Disney fans off guard. Instead of a musical, the 2018 version of Mulan will be a "girly martial arts epic" with a heavy emphasis placed on muscle over music. This change technically isn't a huge departure for Mulan, as the original 1998 animated film is one of the more violent and action-packed Disney movies, but removing the music from a classic musical is still likely something that few fans expected.
That said, I think that a Mulan movie that steers away from the music could be the right choice for Disney. After all, although Bill Condon's live-action Beauty and the Beast (which is currently in theaters) has garnered positive critical reviews, one of the most common criticisms of the adaptation is the fact that it feels fairly paint by numbers. It feels more like nostalgic "greatest hits" compilation than an original story. Avoiding the classic music from the original animated Mulan movie will allow the remake to carve out its own sense of originality, while also giving Niki Caro more time and energy to focus on framing some solid action sequences.
There's also already an important precedent for live-action Disney movies placing less emphasis on songs and more focus on action sequences. Although The Jungle Book featured a few musical numbers when it hit theaters last year, the fact of the matter is that they felt like an afterthought. Jon Favreau's Disney adaptation skirted most of the traditional music for a darker and more action-heavy approach to the classic source material, and the creative decision ultimately paid off in some serious box office returns -- not to mention an Oscar win.
Besides, it seems doubtful that another Mulan movie will ever top classic songs like "I'll Make a Man Out of You" anytime soon.
Mulan is currently set to hit theaters on November 2, 2018. Make sure to check out our movie premiere guide for more information related to the rest of 2017's most highly anticipated theatrical premieres.