Not So Magical Mulan

Sabrina Cruz, STAFF WRITER

  Mulan is not your average disney princess. She is a strong figure of pride. She is fierce, a brave warrior who teaches viewers that men and women are equal.  It was in 2020, a real live version has come out on Disney+ for premier access to see her real life in action.  Both movies have successfully told the story how Mulan imitates a man to join the Imperial Army so her father does not have to; as he is too weak she fears he will not make it through battle. 


   The 2020 remake is not what people expected it to be. It was certainly not a musical, just full of melodies. There was no Shang,  neither guardian dragon, nor a lucky cricket. The dragon Mushu, “who was an ancestral spirit guide to Mulan, became a phoenix to provide more symbolism,” while the cricket was replaced by a soldier named Cricket. We can not forget that iconic scene in which she slices her hair and tries on her father’s armor, or the scene when she takes off her makeup and sings the renowned song “Reflection.” Sophomore Emily Somberg states, “While I didn’t hate the remake, it was not in fact the best. There was a lot missing as we did not have any of the main characters or funny jokes. It was very dry, too into combat. Just did not feel very Disney.”  It mainly surrounded a brave war film about combat. The villain’s falcon turned out to be a witch? Not what people expected.


   As in the animated version, of the original version, Mulan had a grandmother and was an only child but in the remake she had a sister? She also grew up learning combat, to fight. As for the original she did not know anything about how to fight. She learned it throughout her journey preparing for war. Senior, Brenden Richardson states, while I loved the animated version growing up, it has now caught my attention what we were missing. Disney did a great job in making it more traditional and realistic, not just a funny musical.” The villains had a lot more added to them, that needed more explanations.


   “Shan Yu was a threatening character, but he didn’t have a lot of solidity to him. His motivation to dominate China was clear but audiences never found out why he wanted to do so or where he even came from. He appeared as more of a force to be overcome than a dynamic character. In the remake, viewers will now be able to understand why this character is the way she is and what she wants, and why.“ (CBR) This brought to light what little potent the animated version had.


   Now the question is why did they change it up so much. “Well, as it turns out that the traditional Chinese spectators did not especially think that that was the best elucidation of the dragon in their culture, the dragon is a sign of respect,  a sign of strength and power, and that sort of using it as a silly sidekick didn’t play very well as it did not feel traditional, but mocking.” (Insider) This felt uncomfortable for them as they have different opinions.


While everyone has different opinions on which one was better, there was only one that made it very successful. It is a very controversial topic, considering onlookers view things differently.