Latest “Mulan” movie is the talk of the town

Between new adaptations and political controversy, “Mulan” is making national headlines

Emma Bartlett, Arts and Culture Editor

Let’s get down to business and talk about Disney’s new, live adaptation of “Mulan.” The feature film was drastically modified from the original 1998 animated version and has left fans unsure of how to feel. While the costume design, fight scenes and landscape shots were intriguing, the movie mostly fell flat in all other aspects.

For starters, the film focused most of its attention on developing Mulan’s character, enough so that the audience didn’t get a sense of other characters’ backgrounds or personalities. Basically, all secondary characters seemed to blend together and not stand out individually. It was also hard to like the new movie if you loved the original. Mushu, the beloved, back-talking dragon, didn’t make the cut for the live film and singing was a no go. Although the audience heard the melody of “Reflection” and “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” the desire to hear the main character belt out a song was never fulfilled.

The new “Mulan” movie is definitely more serious than the original, which had light-hearted comedy spread throughout. However, the new film did have new, interesting plot twists. Movie directors incorporated a witch named Xian Lang who used her chi (warrior spirit) for evil but ultimately had a change of heart and sacrificed herself to save Mulan. Lang’s redemption sent a powerful message that anyone could turn against the evil that defined their lives.

Aside from the contents of the movie, “Mulan” has also received negative attention since its release. In the end credits of the film, Disney thanked eight Chinese government agencies located in Xinjiang for letting them use landscape shots from the Xinjiang region of China. This area of China has been accused of violating human rights since Uighur Muslims have been detained in internment camps nearby. Because of this aspect, activists on social media began the #BoycottMulan campaign. The unexpected obstacle for Disney has left them searching for a response to the public.

Before the movie was released, controversy arose when Liu Yifei, the actress who plays Mulan, spoke out in support of Hong Kong police who were accused of using excessive violence against protesters. Since then, pro-democratic Chinese have decided to boycott the film because of the actress’ statement. China is Disney’s second largest viewer, so if the film isn’t a hit in China, it could be detrimental for sales.

Depending on how much you like Disney movies, you may or may not want to watch “Mulan.” The movie is expensive and costs $30 on Disney Plus. However, it is fun to compare the differences between the new movie and the original animated film.