(This is Mulan film review, which is a live-action adaptation of the classic 1998 animated film)
Ever since the classic cartoon from the 90s, many people have always wondered how it would like in a live-action medium. 20 years later, Disney presented us with its own version with Mulan, and with it comes various opinions about it.
It is directed by Niki Caro, who has the honour of being the 2nd female director that directed a film with a budget of over 100 million dollars. The starring casts are Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Ron Yuan, Gong Li, and Jet Li. Without further ado, let’s delve down into the Mulan film review below!
A yong and adventurous girl went to replace her father in an army conscript in secret and tried to hide her gender from the rest. However, it was taboo for a woman to join the army, but she did it because her dad was already sick and too frail to return to soldierhood. Along the way, she had to fight both the northern Rouran enemies and also her own people from finding out her secret. Will she survived both ordeals?
Mulan Film Review
The story is more or less according to the cartoon version, but it was only in the beginning. After she was conscripted into the army, things started to undergo huge changes with a Witch and some Phoenix that appear for almost no reasons, or even deep links to her or to the story. Many of the events depicted were portrayed from a fairy-tale eyes, where the war was shown to be fast, and filled with some comedies just like what you expect from a light Disney flick.
It tried to tread the fine line carefully but it fell flat to the ground
Truthfully, the premise changes were pretty disappointing to the point that I felt it lost focus halfway along the film, and trying to tell a morale but not doing it all the way as it should. It tried to tread the fine line carefully but it fell flat to the ground. So if you are expecting to see some good changes from the cartoon version, then you would be quite disappointed in this. Also, some of the events that happened seemed to be too heavily filled with plot armour, such that you don’t feel any tension, as the fight was pretty one-sided in the first place.
The Phoenix, oh god the Mighty bird, was rendered in some 720p stuff by students in some 3D studio
The pacing was pretty good and fast at the start, but then it became draggy and messy from the middle portion to the end. So many things that are not linked to the film are shown and also some of the event sequences did not make much sense at all.
Action scenes are pretty cool though, and it seemed like the majority of the budget was spent on the fighting scenes alone. Many of them bordered on exaggerated Kung-fu moments that showed people able to climb walls and fly, but yeah. CGI wise, it’s quite bad, and the Phoenix, oh god the Mighty bird, was rendered in some 720p stuff by students in some 3D studio. You can just tell it received one of the least budget in the department.
This is the part where things fell really flat and hit you with a wave of both nostalgia and also shame. Many of the characters were new and were not found in the original cartoon, except the parents, the king and the bad Mongolian guy. Otherwise, the Mushu dragon, and the 3 funny men were now replaced with several non-funny men, while General Shang became another normal soldier himself.
And the antagonists and characters’ decision making just didn’t make sense in the least. So we have a Witch that was enemy with Mulan in one second, and then willingly sacrificed herself to protect her because they are of the same gender. Then, we have Generals and Kings that seem to take a liking to Mulan even though they only just met, and they also willingly abandon their oath and rules to accommodate her existence without much conflict. It’s so Disney fairy tale like that the world of Mulan has not much conflicts in ideologies as well as the reality of war. Everything else only focused on Mulan and her action scenes and some horse-riding.
I could say I am glad it saved a bit of the day
Now we finally have a great section that I could say I am glad it saved a bit of the day. Many of the cartoon’s soundtracks are remastered in this film with some changes that actually are for the better. I like that they also include both the Chinese and English versions into it, as well as an original song sung by the original singer herself in the cartoon version.