In the span of mere 24 hours, the teaser trailer for the live-action remake of Mulan has garnered over 175 million views on YouTube. It has been 20 years ever since the animated musical has first hit movie theatres and now, hot on the heels of Disney’s success with its previous remakes, the film returns — now stronger than ever.
As it can be seen in the teaser, the remake will showcase a different perspective on the story as it is devoid of singing, Li Shang and Mushu, the talking dragon. 2020’s Mulan is set to feature the life of a young Chinese woman who decides to join the Chinese Imperial Army, with a greater emphasis on action scenes. The trailer shows this film straying from the more lighthearted animated film and teases the viewers with a more serious and grown-up action movie.
This has been met with discontent amongst Western audiences, who are disappointed with such changes. Many have voiced their concern about the removal of their favourite character, Mushu, on Twitter, adding emphasis on the comedy he has brought into the original animated film. Others pointed out that the removal of the talking dragon serves to produce a film that is more culturally and historically grounded, especially since the original was considered to be an unrealistic portrayal of Chinese culture.
Hua Mulan’s story dates to as early as 386 AD frm a folk song & later a transcription in the 6th century. Disney’s live action film is attempting to honor the OG version for Western & Eastern (China) audiences. There is no Mushu or Li Shang in the original so please, shut up! https://t.co/IA4D0uudpJ
— Cindy PikaChu Swing ✨朱良蒨 (she/her) 🌸✨ (@iamcindychu) July 7, 2019
The movie will star Liu Yifei as Mulan alongside Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li and Jet Li. In fact, it will be the first Disney live-action to have a mostly Asian cast. Niki Caro will direct the film, making this another aspect that will become a part of history: Caro will be the second woman to direct a Disney film with a budget over $100 million, after Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time. Considering the multi-national cast and crew, the new Mulan is set to be a more realistic representation of Chinese culture, rather than the dreamy animated version.
In fact, this could already be seen in the millions of views the teaser trailer has garnered in China: in the first 24 hours, 52 million views have come from China. This is a contrast from the reception the first Mulan has had in China, as it had low attendance due to a variety of factors, such as the unfavourable release date and the film’s strong divergence from Chinese culture — many called the heroine “foreign-looking”. However, with the success of the teaser trailer in China, there is no doubt that the live-action remake will gain millions of more views from the country.
Amongst other positive aspects of the teaser trailer, is the beautiful cinematography which has been widely praised. The new live-action will not only tell a different aspect of Mulan‘s story but also show it. Although the bright colours seen in the teaser remind us that this is a fairy tale, the complex action scenes keep the viewers focused on the seriousness of the film. It becomes a perfect combination of both: an action film and a traditional Disney fantasy story.
The success of the trailer for the new Mulan live-action remake only goes to show how anticipated this film has become and perhaps, after waiting for over twenty years, it is time to bring the nostalgia and a new, sleek and serious Mulan back.
Featured Image via Disney Movies