Review: Mulan (2020)
Be a man.
When her ailing father is called to war in China to fight invaders, Mulan (Yifei Liu) disguises herself as a man to fight in his place in the Imperial Army. Lucky for Mulan, her Chi has always been strong, but she's also been told to hide it because she is a woman.
Mulan is the only Disney live action movie I was looking forward to. I even welcomed the change in story from the Disney cartoon. I knew they were going to stick closer to the true story, and when Disney+ announced that you could buy Mulan for $30.00 to stream at home, I *almost* did it. I would've paid more for my family of three to go to the theater anyways. Then the reviews came out so I held off. Now, it's available for free on the platform, and I can say with 100% certainty that I am glad I didn't pay that fee to watch.
I wanted to like this so badly, and there are parts that I do. The costumes are beautiful, there's something wonderful about seeing a young woman be so badass, but I felt like this movie had no heart. Mulan (1998) I'd argue is one of the best Disney movies ever made. She works hard, she has a group of friends that learn to respect her and in a moment of truly poetic cinema, they disguise themselves as women to infiltrate the Emperor's castle like Mulan had to disguise herself to join the army. I loved that. But Mulan 2020 has none of those moments.
OP Chi Mulan is a strange choice. It removes half of the struggles she had joining the army, and really became more about her hiding her identity, and deciding when to show her comrades that she is in fact a super hero. Another baffling choice is a witch (Li Gong) who fights in the enemy camp. Because of her extraordinary powers, which include doing nearly all the hard work, she's shunned. She at one point tells the main villain, Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee) she could kill him instantly, then when she's given the opportunity and motive to do so, she sacrifices herself instead. I know the answer to all of these "why's" is "the patriarchy" but it makes for slightly frustrating storytelling.
I don't think this is a terrible movie by any means, I think my expectations were just too high considering how much I loved the animated version.
Recommended: Only if you already have Disney+
Memorable Quote: "I believe Hua Mulan" - Honghui (Yoson An)