According to Variety, Disney’s Mulan has been delayed indefinitely across the globe due to the coronavirus. I’m actually really sad about this, and I really hope we can see this film soon.
I went ahead and got the book of the live-action. The story feels more “Disney princess-y” in terms of her transformation, and Mulan’s decisions feel less subtle, but overall it follows the same plot as the original film and Mulan has the same heart. Some people were accusing Disney of removing Li Shang because he’s too queer, but that’s definitely not the case based on the book. There’s an exchange between Mulan and the new male lead that’s way more queerbait than anything in the original.
A new Mulan clip (spoilers) of the moment Mulan decides to go on her journey:
Liu Yifei covers the classic Mulan song Reflection. She sounds flawed but still beautiful and more importantly, it sounds like her. I’m really happy that they didn’t over-autotune her too much for this song like they did for the other princesses. My only complaint is that the erhu is a very minimum-effort addition, but I like how the rest of the music was re-arranged to fit her voice.
A round-up of Liu Yifei’s Mulan promos so far. The stunts look a lot better in the featurette than in the trailers, although I’m still iffy about all their decisions (one of the producers recently blamed cutting out Li Shang on the MeToo movement!)
Since tickets are now out in many places, here’s a mini round-up of some of the promotional stuff as well as a couple of merchandise. All the interviews are mostly just various people praising Liu Yifei and how hard-working and awesome she is. For example, co-star Jimmy Wong tweeted that the male soldiers couldn’t last 2/3 of the time in training as Liu Yifei.
Playlist of trailers, interviews, behind-the-scenes of Mulan:
Watching recent Disney movies’ attempts at showing fighting choreography (instead of just editing a bunch of fast takes together) have really made me realize that for all the surreal moves in Chinese wuxia, they’ve managed to extend physics in a way so that even the casual viewer can discern what looks “right” and what’s “impossible” even though it’s all impossible. Reason #1million why Disney shouldn’t have had an all-white crew.
I’ll still watch the movie for the nostalgia and Liu Yifei/Gong Li, but I just don’t understand why some of the visual choices are so hideous in Disney’s Mulan.
You would think the biggest film company in the world with such a big budget would be able to build on years of development in the Chinese entertainment industry, yet it’s uglier than TV series made decades ago. How do they get a German costume designer, a New Zealand production designer and make-up artist, an Australian cinematographer, a British stunt coordinator, but not a single person who’s worked on a few Chinese movies or dramas in the past decade to be in the production crew?
Here’s a scene-by-scene comparison of one of the most expensive films ever by the biggest film company in the world versus Chinese TV series.
When they announced Disney’s live-action Mulan was moved to the Tang dynasty, I think many of us had suspicions (and I was definitely hoping) that the film was aiming to diversify its cast to include other races to recreate the melting pot of Tang-dynasty China.
The fillm has already announced Indian-American actor Utkarsh Ambudkar will join the cast of Liu Yifei, Gong Li, Donnie Yen, and potentially Jet Li. The latest casting call for extras pretty much confirms there’ll be people from all across the Silk Road in the film (Aladdin and Jasmine cameo, please!). In addition to people who are fighters and riders, they’re especially looking for traditional Chinese calligraphers, dancers, drummers, and traditional Chinese or Indian musicians, which means there’ll definitely be music and dance. I’m a little concerned they’re not asking for Middle Eastern musicians because what Tang dynasty dance party would be complete without the Sogdian Whirl. Interestingly, there’s no call for Southeast Asians even though Xana Tang, the actress for Mulan’s sister, is a New Zealander of Chinese-Vietnamese descent and there were definitely SE Asians in Tang-dynasty China.
I’m excited that they’re going to depicting a more diverse China that people don’t usually think about. I don’t think any of the other live-action Disney adaptations have done major cities, so hopefully they’ll do Tang-dynasty Chang’an justice. That road Mulan’s army comes back on better be 150m wide and not one meter less.