Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mulan – Movie Review; A Relevant Spin from Disney

“Mulan” the anticipated live-action adaptation to the beloved animated Disney production from animated the ‘90s.

Director Niki Caro’s take on the classic storyline has received mixed reviews. Like many remakes, the new “Mulan” has not lived up to the flair of its predecessor. It is just altogether an OKAY affair. The movie appears to take on gender more boldly than it handles warfare. This indicates that the spin-off is all about being relevant to the times.

There are however gravity-defying, and elaborately choreographed martial arts battles and horse stunts! With an impressive ensemble of veteran actors like Tzi Ma, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, and Gong Li. This is perhaps the most impressive thing about the new “Mulan“.

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At the center is Yifei Liu, who plays as Mulan. She transforms from a brazen, impetuous, and rebellious girl to a mature, inspirational, and commanding leader. She finds her voice over the course of this journey. This resonates with women of different ages world over.

We first see Mulan the character as a playful, acrobatic young girl, climbing up and leaping across rooftops in her village to chase a chicken. This is a foreshadow of the action to come. Her father (Ma) appears impressed by his daughter’s quirky nature. Her mother (Rosalind Chao) reminds her that “a daughter brings honor to the family through marriage.” A meeting with a matchmaker goes comically wrong! This is one of the many indicators that Mulan cannot fit in the set societal box.

When Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee) coupled with a bunch of villains threatens the emperor (Jet Li), the imperial army amasses soldiers from across China. Their intent is to protect the palace, gathering one man from each family. Mulan’s family has no sons. In addition, her father—a wounded warrior—must join to keep honor. Mulan runs off with his sword and rides her horse instead. Reporting for duty with her hair tucked hidden in a cap. She does her best to keep a low profile.

Mulan leads a group of men to victory and earns her place as a phenomenal woman. She is as a matter fact welcomed home and received by her family upon return from the war.

Mulan

Rated PG-13 for largely bloodless warfare death and scenes of peril. Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes. The new “Mulan” is just an OKAY movie that could have been better.

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