No, it’s not entirely as easy as that, and your editrix has just suffered through, like, four hours of her not-too-valuable time, on Mulan “Skywalker” flicks, so I expect you to honour my sacrifice and read this review thingie. 😉
Let the shitshow begin:
This retelling of the old Chinese folktale is about the story of a young Chinese maiden who learns that her weakened and lame father is to be called up into the army in order to fight the invading Huns. Knowing that he would never survive the rigours of war in his state, she decides to disguise herself and join in his place. Unknown to her, her ancestors are aware of this and to prevent it, they order a tiny disgraced dragon, Mushu to join her in order to force her to abandon her plan. He agrees, but when he meets Mulan, he learns that she cannot be dissuaded and so decides to help her in the perilous times ahead.
I watched the “original” Mulan cartoon without many expectations but in preparation for the upcoming live action movie. I guess we can keep this part of the review short. Even shorter than part 2.
What Mulan gives you is the old routine, song and dance musical version of an old folk tale, where usually inanimate objects or animals develop characters of their own and often end up stealing the show. Unfortunately in Mulan this didn’t work out properly. I’m sure Eddie Murphy did his best but was let down by an unfunny screenplay. It became evident pretty clearly that Disney’s script writers didn’t get the concept of dragons in Chinese tales and sagas and made a funny figure out of Eddie Murphy’s pokémon-style pocket dragon Mushu. And the musical numbers were absolutely average, no hits coming out of this movie.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m too old to get enchanted by pokémon dragons and cartoon warrior girls. Naaaw, I’m told often enough I’m too childish for my biblical age so I guess it’s all Disney’s fault. And that’s also the reason why Mulan bombed pretty badly at the Chinese box-office.
What this drawn version of Mulan did better – much much better – than its live-action successor, was showing us a good story, convincingly told. Not great but at least a well-rounded, coherent movie.
Okayyyy, parte deux coming up …
A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father.
And immediately it becomes evident why the Mulan live-action adaptation is such a shitflick. The storyline fits into one sentence. When not even the makers have more to say about their work it’s a tell-tale sign something is wrong with the product.
Ok, let’s see:
Everything that usually makes Disney movies so loveable, is gone from this flick. We have no musical numbers, and no talking animals. And the way the story is told is clearly made by committee and decided upon in democratic votes. The whole flow of the plot is ripped apart and presented to the poor suffering audience in much too short scenes. Disney tried to make everything right, and in no way enrage the Chinese audiences … and consequently produced a plonker.
Will they ever learn? Making films is supposed to be an artform. It only works as a singular vision. Once you present your vision to the world you’ll see if the audience agrees with you … or not. Too bad. But it can happen sometimes. But when you try to eliminate a bad backlash by avoiding any risks you’re guaranteed to fail! The audiences – west and east – will notice how sterile and cowardish and un-entertaining your 200.000.000 woolong flick truly is.
Having a fairly un-experienced female director stemming such a monster project was the first big whoopsie by Disney. Or maybe they (Disney accountants) needed a soft little, pushable director with no voice so they could put their own vision on her. And Mulan is exactly what you can expect from a movie made by stone cold, unimaginative accountants.
No magic, no enchantment, no charme, no epicness! Just a lot of meh … or even worse.
Y’all know my fave example of a trainwreck movie, right? Oliver Stone’s 2004 Alexander. A regular trainwreck with many many flaws, directional mistakes and all sorts of annoying nuisances. But! Alexander had a single vision, it showed great potential and signs of greatness. It featured fantastic battle scenes and a coherent storyline. In the end it didn’t turn out great but it failed on a very very high level. I guess what killed Alexander in the end was an overhyped cast of scenery eaters, trying to out-act each other but never really delivering. But we’ve been entertained all throughout Alexander’s runtime.
It seems with Mulan they didn’t even try to give us something good. Why did they omit the few little parts that were cool in the 1998 cartoon? Why didn ‘t they show Mulan’s hard training to become a master warrior but just saying it’s her Chi, and Mulan’s greatest achievement is to just not hide her superiority anymore. 😦 People, didn’t you notice your audience doesn’t accept such Mary Sue characters?
And then there’s the cinematography: Not too bad, no too shabby. But in the end it falls flat by a much too hectic editing pace. Oooh, that looks ni… CUT! 😦
And allow me one last remark about Yifei Liu, the hapless protagonist of this much too big, much too ambitious movie project. She’s averagely pretty, physically fit, and contrary to many other Chinese greats she speaks fluent English … so we can understand it. That’s good and dandy but unfortunately the good Liu radiates the charisma and chi of a grain of rice. 😐
The fukn heroine of a 200 mio blockbuster movie ffs!!!
I’m not at all into star power but I know many, if not most, ppl do care about big names and go to the cinema because of the big names and familiar faces of the stars.
*** Those idiots are your audience, Disney! Cater to them you must! ***
DISNEY! What were you unholy fux thinking by giving the Mulan role to such a block of wood?
I guess Disney knows exactly what a stinker they have on offer here. Despite cinema audiences worldwide, after the locky downy, are hungry for new theatrical releases, and are ready to watch every last shitflick at the local bioscope, the house of Mouse prefered to hide Mulan on their Disney+ streaming service.