Even though I’m aware of the legend of Mulan, I’m not a hundred percent sure I’ve seen the classic animated version, before watching the new live-action film. What I’ve always been aware of however is how popular the story is – and that, combined with the stunning trailer visuals of the Niki Caro directed remake are the reasons I was always going to watch it.
As a fan of stories about underestimated characters who end up going far beyond all expectations, I enjoyed this element of the Mulan story. The tale of a young Chinese maiden who disguises herself as a male warrior to save her father.
The stunning visuals, vibrant colours and Yifei Liu’s physical performance as Mulan are the things that stood out most about Caro’s movie. There’s also the well-scored scene where the triumphant stair climb takes place.
The things I wish were different about Mulan include some of the editing, which didn’t quite flow as seamlessly in parts as I expected. For example, the transition from Mulan thinking about taking her father’s place, to the moment she’s in his armour felt oddly abrupt.
My main issue with Mulan is how oddly soulless it felt. For me, Caro’s film didn’t dive deeply into anything. I say this of course, as someone who hasn’t seen the animated Mulan movie. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel as emotionally captured by the story. At least not in any way close to how Cinderella (2015), my favourite Disney live-action movie made me feel. I still cheered for Mulan, yes. I only wish the story didn’t feel as surface-level as it did.
Watch Mulan if you’re curious and certainly for the visuals and gorgeous rich colours.
Happy Film Loving