Mulan SPOILERS are ahead.
It's always an uphill battle to bring back a classic to audiences after they have spent their childhoods living with these characters. Disney has been remaking a number of its animated treasures, most notably from the studio’s Renaissance era, which lasted from 1989 to 1999. After the success of Aladdin and The Lion King last year, Niki Caro’s Mulan is here, but this one is not like the others.
While the other recent remakes have heavily borrowed from their animated predecessors, Mulan seeks to defy the musical in quite a few ways Although if you follow along closely, there are a ton of nods to the 1998 version too. When speaking to Jimmy Wong, the live-action movie’s Ling, over a video call, I asked the actor about one scene from the original in particular: when Mulan’s soldier friends help her save China by masquerading as femme fatales in order to distract Shan Yu’s army. Here’s what Wong said regarding if it was ever going to make its way into the 2020 version:
So it was never in the cards for Ling, Yao and Chien Po to storm the castle with Mulan. While revisiting the original, Jimmy Wong told CinemaBlend he felt it was one of the more ridiculous moments in the original that he didn’t particularly miss in the live-action version. However, he did find himself missing Eddie Murphy’s Mushu and memorable songs like “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” or “Reflection.”
The new movie traded the comedy and musical elements that are tied to Disney’s animation genre for a more dramatic and epic retelling. When looking at 2020’s Mulan this way, it makes sense why elements such as Mushu or the more comedic moments with the other soldiers were left out. Though, Jimmy Wong has thought about pulling together a clever Halloween costume with this moment:
If handled with care, that moment from the 1998 version could have furthered the movie’s exploration of gender expression too. But when the movie hits the third act, Mulan is largely on her own taking on Jason Scott Lee’s Bori Khan, with the other soldiers elsewhere fighting off Khan's soldiers.
As far as Mushu goes, Niki Caro said the dragon was not part of the film because the filmmakers felt it was important for Mulan to cultivate relationships with her fellow soldiers and commit to “the realism of her journey.” And as you might imagine, having characters bust out into song wouldn’t exactly commit to the film’s realist vision either.
Mulan is currently available to view on Disney+ for $29.99 until November 2, and will join the streaming service this December. Check out more exclusive Mulan coverage here on CinemaBlend and our 2020 release schedule for what movies are coming later this year.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.