Besides the lack of travel, this year has been marked by the lack of cinema-going too. Blockbuster movies have been delayed or pushed back. Cinemas were closed. We’ve been also locked down.
So it was with some excitement that the Wife and I went to watch the premiere of Disney’s Mulan. Tenet was the first movie we watched post-circuitbreaker but Mulan was the one we understood.
It was also very enjoyable and I’m glad we caught it on the big screen. I think the US is getting it on Disney+ (you buy it from the streaming service) but we get to see it on the big screen here.
It is quite the spectacle.
No, there is no Mushu. No, there is no cutesy humour. No, there isn’t even any singing. Just leave your animated Mulan expectations at the door and watch this as a different movie. A little more serious. A lot of pomp and grandeur.
You can tell Disney has put in a lot of effort to get the costumes and the sets right. The kungfu wire work is also spot on.
Where you might get a little thrown off is the Chinese-accented English and the English-accented pronunciation of Chinese names. Some of the over-emphasis on morals and love of country can also feel a little cringey and smell a little of propaganda.
But, get past some of the cringe and you will find a kickass movie about a kickass heroine who, well, kicks ass.
I like that the focus is on Mulan herself. The romance angle from the animated movie was played down too. This is all about a young woman’s journey to finding her place in a male-dominated society. And you will cheer her as she does it.
This is one of the best animated to live-action movie adaptions that Disney has ever done. This is no meh Cinderella or Lion King.
Think of it as a tribute to all the Chinese wuxia period movies you’ve watched before. Sure, we are familiar with the tropes and may find it hokey seen through the lens of Hollywood, like we did when Crouching Tiger came out. But I think it’s a credible effort and enjoyable for the family.
Go see it in the cinema. Oh and see if you can recognize Jet Li.