Can latest Disney remake up to its counterpart?



As of the past few years, Disney has released plenty of live action movies, some of the more memorable ones including “Maleficent” and the “Beauty and the Beast.” A large portion of these live actions remained fairly close to the original plot line of the corresponding cartoon. But the latest live action soon to be released by Disney on March 27, 2020, is going to be different. Disney will, for the first time, create major changes in the plot line and style of the movie, making it almost completely different to the beloved “Mulan” we all know. 

From the trailer and Disney releases, we find out two important things. The first, being that the overall antagonist has changed from the nomadic Huns, to a witch. 

The second, is that Lin Shang as a character, no longer exists, and is replaced with two new characters. For those who don’t remember, Lin Shang was the commander and love interest for Mulan. In the live action, his character is supposedly split up into a wise and old commander, and a fellow soldier. 

These two changes are what is mainly determining how much I am looking forward to this film, and let me say, it has somewhat drastically decreased. On these facts alone, disregarding rumors such as that Disney replaced Lin Shang due to him possibly being bisexual, I don’t think I can look at the Mulan live action as a recreation of the 1998 “Mulan” cartoon film.

The first problem that arises, and that makes me believe that this film should deserve its own feature, rather than being a live action of a cartoon, is the plot changes. Disney has quite literally almost completely changed the antagonist, which could have several repercussions. 

One such repercussion is the impact it would have to Mulan’s character development. She is supposed to be a strong female figure that goes completely against the gender norms, and can’t seem to fit in with people forcing gender conformity down her throat. If the main antagonist is female, I believe it decreases the impact of Mulan breaking gender norms. It loses its significance, compared to the historical Mulan.

Another possible problem with the main villain being a witch, is that it loses an element of the eastern culture. A cunning witch, is a concept belonging to western culture, and I feel like a lot of Disney movies already center on western culture. Mulan was one of the few Disney movies that was from another culture, something that I personally really loved about it. 

As well as that, the Huns did play one important figurative role in the movie, and that was involving the doll. At one point in the movie, the Huns pick up a doll. Later, when Mulan and Lin Shang travel to the front lines, they find the doll amid devastation, corpses, and Lin Shang’s dead father. The doll represented the tainted innocence of Mulan on the battlefield, and I do find it important, although for others that may not be the case. 

A second major problem that arises, is the replacement of Lin Shang. There are a few things that are important about Lin Shang that make him an irreplaceable character, the first being that he is the main love interest for Mulan, and the second that he is the commander. Alone, these two traits have no significance, which could be why they were split up.

But what makes Lin Shang important, was that he was both. He was what motivated Mulan to become better. If he wasn’t the commander and the love interest, I feel like Mulan would just need to prove herself to her allies, which, there are many, so it would not be as significant. Because he was the commander, and because Mulan did fancy him, it was what made his acknowledgement of Mulan to Mulan so much more valuable. 

A couple other changes in the live action, which may or may not be significant, are the fact that it is not a musical, and that Mushu the dragon, is also no longer there. Mushu was a comedic relief character, and he played a couple small roles in the movie, but overall, was just meant to uplift the mood.The musical aspect of the movie on the other hand, played a fairly important role in the movie.  One of the things that made Mulan such a memorable movie was the soundtrack, with the two most remembered songs being “Reflection” and “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

Mushu played no too significant role. He was mainly there for comedic relief and support for Mulan. But he represented eastern culture and ancestor veneration, something that gave the movie less of a western feel. 

Overall, the live action movie is probably not something you would like to see if you want to see a word by word replay of the cartoon. I, personally, wish to see it, if not only to just compare the two movies. But something I believe most of us can agree on, is that “Mulan” was quite the impactful cartoon, and it would be interesting to find out if the movie is just as memorable.