I really want to like the live action movies but they are not living up to the expectations that have been set. And I don’t want to set my expectations lower because…Disney. So, here goes…
I guess I’ll start with that was good. The cinematography was PHENOMENAL. The setting was beautiful and the shift of focus on the Chinese culture was needed in this day in time. It was the backdrop to the original, much like all of the other Disney princess movies. So the basis of the movie is what I liked….and now I have to go into what was wrong.
I don’t like when things don’t make sense because it will annoy me for the ENTIRE MOVIE and the chi did. First, I was mad they introduced the chi and didn’t explain what it was and then, they did explain the chi but didn’t really explain it well enough for me. Riddle me this, and there will be spoilers ahead, how did Xian Lang’s chi give her the ability to turn into a hawk and a man but Hua Mulan’s allowed her to fight better than the men? What level of chi was Xian Lang on? Did they explain that? NO. That was an issue for me and while we’re on things that don’t make sense, explain to me how Bori Khan fell from scaffolding onto, what looked like, concrete and DIDN’T DIE? Make it make sense! We had to go back and kill him with an arrow? No sir/ma’am!
A major theme in Chinese culture is honoring your elders. In the original, Mulan had a grandmother. In the live action, she has a sister and I thought the sister would be important somehow and (surprise, surprise) she was not. The grandmother would have made more sense in the live action since they went the Chinese tradition route. It kind of seemed like they merged the grandmother with the dad in this movie and added the sister to be the opposite of Mulan. The only problem with the latter is the movie didn’t really show her and her sister long enough for us to catch the difference between a tradition Chinese girl and Mulan so I didn’t understand the switch.
And another thing (LOL), unlike Captain Marvel where the “girl power” theme was in our face, Mulan downplayed it a little bit. It was more inferred that girls can do anything but what would have reinforced that would have been a scene where Mulan is training female warriors like herself. Or her sister decided that she wanted to be a warrior instead of housewife. I just wanted to see where Mulan made a difference.
And last but not least, my favorite Disney song growing up was “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, which I just learned is performed by Donny Osmond (shouts out to him), and since it was not a musical, we did not get that song. Cool. I get it. The movie was supposed to be more serious. Completely understand but you played the melody to “Reflections”! You had time! You could have played my song and I know what some of you are saying. “Playing a song about making a man out of a woman is demeaning.” I understand…I don’t care. I wanted the song, the instrumental, someone to hum it or SOMETHING!
I lied. Lastly, Hua Mulan looked like a woman even as a man so I was wondering how she was supposed to be disguised if we could see it as a viewer. I was literally waiting for someone to look at her sideways. That’s all.