Growing up, I was a huge fan of the original Disney adaptation Mulan and I still am to this day. Recently rewatching the animated classic on Disney+, the movie still holds up over two decades later with its remarkable characters that differed from the standard Disney fairy tale premise. It is no wonder with the recent phenomenon of Disney live remakes that Mulan was without a doubt guaranteed to be made. If the other Disney live remakes are any indication of what to expect, we will either get something that is similar to the original but takes certain liberties to be modernized. Here is what you need to know about the live action remake of Mulan (2020).
Not A Musical
It will not have the unforgettable original song ”Reflection”. This is probably hugely disappointing to most, but I don’t think long time fans should fret about this subtraction as worsening the experience. On the opposite side, this will give fans a new way to experience Disney’s Mulan in a serious tone yet still keeping to the nostalgia of the classic adaption. If the trailer is any indication there is still the possibility of an instrumental version. ”Reflection” powerfully soars during the latter half of Mulan’s trailer. However, if you are still craving for the synonymous song, Christina Aguilera and Yifei Liu will have two different variations of the song in the end credits. Aguilera’s version will be a new twist on her original take and Yifei Liu’s will have an orchestra accompany her performance in Mandarin Chinese.
No Mushu / Li Shang
If you ask a person to name a character other than Mulan from the Disney interaction classic, I bet they say either Mushu or Li Shang. Mushu was a wise-cracking and outcast dragon ancestor played by the legendary comedian Eddie Murphy. He was a fan favorite and even aided in the growth of Mulan. Li Shang was the commander of the Chinese army and eventual love interest to Mulan. He is the picture-perfect image of a soldier, strong, brave, and heroic. Although long time fans can become disappointed by this choice, the reasons the director Niki Caro gives is commendable. Niki Caro understands the love for the classic and doesn’t want to disrespect its lasting effect, but she wants this version of Mulan to be realistic and serious. For that to happen, the film has to eliminate characters like Mushu as the historic war going is devastating. However, the reason for Li Shang’s absence is a little suspect. The only reason is that they think the defining love story with Mulan and him would be unprofessional, especially in modern times. Interesting reasoning indeed, although I don’t think fans should be too mad as the amazing Donnie Yen will play a new character who is a fellow soldier of Mulan. They are still supposed to fall in love at the end, which creates similarities with the 2009 Chinese film Mulan: Rise of a warrior, which I would recommend watching.
There are no Huns army this go around, but there is a shifting witch, Xian Lang and an invading warrior, Bori Khan. Xian Lang is a new addition to the Mulan tale, she has never been seen before in any adaption. She is to confront Mulan with the most adversity, either through mental or physical confrontation. Bori Khan is also a new face, but follows similar motivations as the classic animated villain Shan Yu. The primary difference is Bori Khan is a captain of Northern Invaders.
The new Mulan is set to take the world by storm. It has some big changes which long-time fans of the animated legend might at first be against, but if they keep an open mind, fans should anticipate a rewarding experience.