Will these needless live-action remakes of Disney animated films ever end? That depends on if they stop making money, and so far, they haven’t. The next one in the pipe, Mulan, is trying a different approach than the weak ones we got this year, though. Rather than directly trying to copy what worked better in animation, this one is telling its own version of the story.
Liu Yifei plays the main character, who as anyone alive in 1998 knows, disguised herself as male to take the place of her father in the Chinese army when he was summoned to battle. Shan Yu and the Huns are, however, gone. In their place are Bori Khan, a Shan Yu-ish character played by Jason Scott Lee, and most interestingly, a nameless WITCH, played by Gong Li. How’s Mulan supposed to fight magic? Maybe she can borrow the Will Smith Gene from another remake.
Another thing the new Mulan doesn’t have are all the 90s-era crowd-pleasing gimmicks that were crammed into the original, such as Mulan’s ancestors literally appearing as ghosts, or the wisecracking dragon with Eddie Murphy’s voice. More controversially, they’ve also omitted all musical interludes, which means the movie never makes A Man Out Of You at any point…though as some kind of apology, they’ve inserted allusions into the script. Mulan says “I’ll bring honor to us all” at some point.
In short, Mulan: it’s a thing. You can either choose to see it, or not, but it doesn’t matter since all those families who will pay for anything familiar will make Disney money anyway. The film comes out March 27.