Written by Pony Princess.
After being besieged by never ending delays, the live action MULAN is finally making its way to the big screen.
That is for countries without access to the Disney+ streaming platform. On the 4th September, Malaysians are fortunate to be able to watch Mulan in cinemas. For other parts of the world with Disney+, Mulan will be available to subscribers for an additional charge of USD30 / RM124. But if subscribers are willing to wait, the movie will be available for free on the streaming platform on 4th December this year... whew! As complicated as that sounds, the production of Mulan itself has been a battlefield with obstacles ranging from production to its shifting release date amidst political drama and to top it off the current Covid-19 pandemic.
|Mulan the animation released in 1998.|
It is a well-known fact that the Disney Princesses are gems to the Disney universe. They represented strength, courage, determination and other qualities for a little girl's ideal role model. However this was not the case in the 1950s. The princesses were portrayed in a more stereotypical light who played damsel-in-distress type of roles. But the age of the Disney Renaissance saw the studio introducing stronger female leads that better reflect the beliefs and attitudes of women in modern times. This includes characters like Belle, Pocahontas and Ariel. However, the one that truly broke grounds for Disney was not a girl of royal descent who gets a romantic conclusion for her heroic efforts. Instead she is from Asian descent who went against the social norms at the time to save her country and bring honour to her family. That heroine is none other than Hua Mulan.
|Not your typical damsel-in-distress.|
Image source: http://www.animationsource.org/sites_content/mulan/img_screenshot/98717.jpg
Based on the Chinese 360 word poem called the Ballad of Mulan, Mulan the animation was released in 1998 to cinemas worldwide. Unlike other Disney animated films, Mulan explores themes about loyalty to one's country, filial piety and upholding the family honour.
|One of the many adaptations from the ballad.|
Image source: https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/ballad-hua-mulan-legendary-warrior-woman-who-brought-hope-china-005084
The legend originated back in the 5th - 6th century China and is a familiar household name to the chinese people just as Joan of Arc is in France. She is a beloved and heroic figure whose story has been adapted in many dramas, plays and movies in the east. The plot is about Mulan who sits worrying at her loom, when she learned that one male from each family is called to serve in the army to defend the country from invaders. With her father old and weak and her younger brother still a child, Mulan decides to take her father's place in the army.
The uniquely oriental flavour of Mulan captivated the western audiences and the movie went on the become one of Disney's critically acclaimed hits. Mulan the animation was a commercial success that garnered the Golden Globe and Oscar nomination grossing more than USD$475 million / RM1.97 billion worldwide. Though its success is also due to the original story being heavily tailored to the Disney formula. Mulan bombed in cinemas in China who found their beloved lady warrior too Disneyfied for their tastes.
| Mushu the jive-talking dragon that didn't sit well with the eastern audiences taste.|
Image source: http://www.animationsource.org/sites_content/mulan/img_screenshot/99484.jpg
|The Disney Princess lineup which Mulan is part of.|
Image source: The Disney Blog
|Mulan as a Disney princess at Disneyland.|
Image source: Wikipedia commons
When the trailers were first released to the public in June 2019, the results truly speak for itself.
|(Top to bottom) Mulan all dolled-up and ready for matchmaking.|
The ancient village where Mulan lives.
The Emperor of China starring Jet Li.
Image source: Josh Wilding, 12/5/19
|Staying true to its original source without being Disneyfied.|
Image source: Josh Wilding, 12/5/19
|Image source: The Disinsider|
|Niki Caro the director.|
Image source: Getty Images
|The 32 year old actress starred alongside Emile Hirche in the movie, “The Chinese Widow”|
New Zealand actor Yoson An stars as Hong Hui, Mulan's possible love interest:
|An original character in the film that is similar to Commander Shang from the animation.|
|According to sources, he joined the film after being inspired by his daughter. No stranger to the Western audience, Donnie Yen is best known for his role as Ip Man and Chirrut in Star Wars Rogue One.|
Jason Scott Lee is the main antagonist Bori Khan:
|Differing from the original villain Shan Yu from the 1998 animation, Bori Khan is seeking revenge for his father.|
|Bringing ancient China to the Ahuriri Valley in New Zealand. |
According to the Otago Daily Times, up to 60 horses, 100 workers, and a fleet of vehicles and machinery filled the picturesque valley during the peak of production.
Image source: Stuff.co.nz
Image source: Charley Gallay, Getty Images for Disney.
|Source: MBO Cinemas|