"Do you believe they are actually picking a Chinese girl to play the role as Mulan in the new real-person Disney remake movie?" I can still remember the question from an ABC girl and the excitement on her face when she was asking the question back in 2017. And after all these years of waiting, it turns out to be a complete disappointment.
A 3-star is probably the best rating that I can give here. Yifei Liu is absolutely the ideal cast for the character of Mulan. It looks astonishing on that reflection of Mulan in the sword poster. And that wins the movie one of the stars. Some of the scenery in the movie are beautiful especially with IMAX 3D. Mountains and skyline of the capital city are breathtaking, which earns the second star. It is probably a half star if not with IMAX. As for the third, since IMDB won't allow me to give a ZERO star for the worst movie of all time, it is basically a buy-2-and-get-1-for-free star.
Mulan's story has been told to all the Chinese of their childhood for over a thousand years. And thanks for Disney, the story is told to all the world with their great cartoon movie in 1998. The spirit of Mulan has been encouraging generations of people, including her bravery, loyalty and most importantly her filial responsibility. (Well, that's true, Chinese people thinks highly of their filial duty.) However, all the spirits above are but of words engraved on the sword, and the director really wants to tell that little story about a girl seeking for her true-self, which could be any other story but Mulan's. Despite of that, the whole story line is not logical, well, at all. * Avoiding to face the true-self as a female? Is that true? * Hiding family Kungfu from the troop? Is that necessary? * Taking off all armor and helmet to run for a war fight? Cannot be more logical. * A troop of well trained soldiers counting the Emperor's life on and only on a little girl? Best strategy ever. * Such an easily provoked Emperor that would rather get himself into a one on one fight to a berserker? Trump wouldn't do that for sure.
If you want to make a good Chinese history based movie, the least thing you have to do is to do some real study on it. But all I can see from this movie is prejudice from westerners to Chinese traditional culture and a soulless Disney drama. * Praying to phoenix for safety and peace? We don't ever do that in China. * Concubines with pale white faces and bloody red cheek makeups? That's what Japanese Geishas do. * A mind-controlling or transforming witch? Okay, Valar Morghulis. * Phoenix Vs Eagle metaphor? What's that for? Basically, not a single culture is presented precisely from where they come in this movie. If you can read Chinese, you can learn more mistakes that are made about the culture, history timelines, etc, where the ratings goes all the way down to 4.9 after 3 days of the release. If you can't, don't bother, and just remember the mistakes are much more than you can even imagine. The director successfully made a contribution to alienate the understanding between the westerners and Chinese. Westerners may think this another movie that is made for Chinese in order to please the Chinese market, while Chinese people are actually feeling INSULTED by all these cultural bias. Niki Caro shows us a great example how to make a movie and offend both side of the audience.
In the original Mulan folklore, there are no characters like Mushu, the cricket, and all the funny souls of ancestors. But who would possibly complain about a cute funny dragon especially when it comes from Disney? But when a silent, helpless and do-not-know-what-to-do phoenix is taking Mushu's place, it just let people doubt if this 2020 remake is actually a Disney movie. Besides, Mulan is made a superhero with great talent when she was very young. And of course, a heroine cannot have a boyfriend, potential one, as a general or something. That adaption sounds not feminist at all.
All in all, this movie is simply a waste of a good legend, passion from Disney fans, 2 hours of your life probably, and above all, 200 million dollars. Good job Niki Caro!