Mulan Review (2020): A Disney Adaptation That Should Be Just As It Was


 After waiting for almost 1.5 years, the live-action adaptation of Mulan was finally released on September 4, 2020 through Disney Plus . And here is a review of Mulan .

Anyway , because we have waited a long time, for those of us who saw the original animation format (1998) as a child, high expectations immediately grew. Or yes at least, as cool/exactly as the animated version.

Unfortunately, those hopes were immediately dashed, even before the film was released. Because from a long time ago we have heard a lot of news of changes here and there that will occur in this live-action adaptation .

But of the many changes, it is the lack of a chatty little dragon character, Mushu (Eddie Murphy) that makes us immediately skeptical of the coolness of this adaptation.

As we know, it was this companion character who actually played the original film first. But never mind. Maybe it's still going to be good, isn't this adaptation? Hmm, better find out right away through the following Mulan review .

Most Disappointing Live-Action Adaptation

Just go ahead without further ado. Honestly, I like the original animated film. Yes, I'll admit it.

Even though I was born in the mid 80's and since I was little, I grew up with Mickey Mouse cs cartoons, I was "magical" when I was little, I never watched Mulan properly . In fact, he knows more about the soundtrack , Christina Aguilera's “Reflection” .

Oh yeah by the way "Reflection" , the classic soundtrack is in this adaptation again. And the one who sings is still Ms. Christina.

Although the arrangement feels much more "colossal", but somehow this new arrangement for me, is much better. But yes, the original version is still the same.

Anyway back to the starting point. I've never watched the original Mulan at all. So yes, because for the purpose of this Mulan review , as a result, yesterday I watched the animated film directed by Barry Cook & Tony Bancroft.

Even though it's the first time, man to be honest. I like the animated film. Mulan is really, unique, funny, adorable , and inspiring. Based on that opinion, it's not surprising if I feel mixed emotions when I finally want to watch this adaptation.

But at the same time, I just hope that at least it will show the original spirit/feel . Anyway, it's like I'm watching an animated film. But yeah , my expectations are really "high".

Mulan the SJW Warrior

Yeah right guys . Mulan's live-action adaptation , very disappointing. There are so many changes in the elements that made us love the film first, which as a result makes us frown and even get mad at ourselves.

As if changing Mushu to a CGI Phoenix bird wasn't enough to offend fans a bit, this film modifies the two main elements that make the film so adored.

The first is an element that in the last 2-4 years we have often seen in films and even Hollywood series. Yep, especially if it's not a transition or an all-out focus on the very strong SJW / women empowerment element.

Indeed, technically for the Mulan case , the application is still appropriate. Because the animated story, even the legend, is like that. But in this live-action adaptation and also through the discussion of this Mulan review , I'll sign it once again, if the application is too overdone .

So, making other male characters look really like very supportive. We can also see for example in this film, the love-interest character , Chen Honghui (Yoson An), really looks dominated by Mulan (Yifei Liu).

Indeed, once again in the animated film, Honghui is also saved by Mulan. But from the start he also appeared as a real male war captain. Firm, authoritative, tough.

Even when Mulan saw it, she immediately fell in love. Well, in this adaptation, it's the other way around. In fact, the one who looks like he has a lot of crush and "lust" is the Honghui. Not to mention that An's face does look like a member of the cute boyband .

Super Since Birth

Maybe this is a bit of a spoiler ? But it's directly explained in the opening of the film. Yes , anyway , the next main element change that really makes it offensive is the background of Mulan being the badass figure we know so far.

Unlike in the animated film, which Mulan has to train hard before going to war with the Shan Yu gang, this adaptation in which Mulan has to fight against the gang of Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee), actually shows that she has been "super" since birth.

Wait a minute. It's not like he can fly or be invisible . But his figure from birth already has the ability to produce a very powerful Chi energy.

As we see in Chinese martial arts films, indeed if a person is able to produce his chi energy very properly , he will have strong martial arts abilities or self-defense. It's more flexible.

Well, there's nothing wrong with that and it's also not something that is fantasy or fun. But still for its implementation in Mulan , it's not good, right?

It is precisely when the original animated film shows that he is an ordinary human like us. He also has to train really hard so he can be much stronger and cooler during the war. This is what makes us as an audience very relatable .

Loh most of us are like this right? In order to reach our maximum potential or want to achieve something, we have to train hard, right? It's not like we already have super powers or Chi is strong from within.

Actually there are a few more changes that make the adaptation not really. But yes, those are the most significant.

Amazing Cinematography and Direction

Then, are there any positive elements that we can write about in this Mulan review ? Luckily there are guys . It's crazy if you don't have one.

Yes, despite these shortcomings, fortunately, this film still displays a very beautiful cinematography. The blending between CGI and the shooting locations in China and New Zealand, is really smooth and very beautiful.

Quite like watching a beautiful painting created by the almighty everyday. 

The direction from director Niki Caro was also cool and indeed this director from New Zealand was indeed the right choice for an adaptation that puts the element of women 's empowerment first.

It was really obvious when he handled the film with the same theme that Charlize Theron ( Mad Max Fury Road ) starred in so coolly, North Country (2005). Anyway, he's really cool directing. Not really wrong.

Liu Yifei the One Dimensional Mulan

Apart from this aspect, another cool aspect that I want to emphasize in this Mulan review is the performance of the actors. Starting from Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Jason Scott Lee, even the martial arts legend , Jet Li, they are already cool & maximal.

But unfortunately, it is precisely the one who plays the main character who has a problem. Actually Yifei is not bad at acting and it's okay. It's only because of the modification of the two main elements that I said, that it has a really big impact on Mulan's appearance.

If you remember, Ming-Na Wen's voice acting performance ( Street Fighter, Agents of SHIELD ) sounds very "live" and the range of emotions is more varied / three-dimensional.

So, why did Mulan look like that? Yes, because the characterization of Mulan applies the two main elements that I have mentioned.

So once again, because the two main elements are missing, Yifei doesn't have any room for improvisation. So, Mulan's figure looks too serious and stiff. So we also feel "sour" and not "sweet" when we look at its performance.

Watch The Original Animated Film Only

So with all the positives and negatives that I've mentioned through this Mulan review , it's good for those of you who really plan to watch the film, especially through Disney Plus, which as we know, the subscription fee is up to 200 thousand / month, it's best to save money.

In general, it's still worth watching. It doesn't make us excited to slam our remote or mouse on the screen. Especially for those who are still at home like this, it can still be entertaining.

But for those of us who are fans of the original animation, it's better not to. Or if you want, just lower your expectations completely. Try it if you don't change the two elements, aka just follow the shot by shot of the animated film, this adaptation will be cooler.

I do. I understand this modification decision because the mouse house is still traumatized by the negative reception they received from the live action adaptation of The Lion King (2019) which is, indeed, 100% shot by shot, copy-pasting from the animated film.

But yes, the fact is, it can't be hit flat either. There are indeed adaptations that really have to look exactly like the original animated version, but there are also those that if you go through the modification process it looks much cooler or yes it doesn't matter.

Now for the Mulan case, it should be shot by shot like The Lion King . Or even if it's a mod, just get rid of the extreme SJW element. But yeah, that's how Hollywood works right now, right? What do you expect ?

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