Mulan’s Release Date Got Pushed. Is That A Good Thing?
Here’s hoping my favorite Disney princess will, once again, bring honor to us all.
(@mulan / Instagram)
Since we’re in quarantine, there’s nothing to do besides wait for movie releases. But it looks like we’ll have to wait longer than usual for some of them. The new live-action Mulan remake recently pushed its release date from July to late August.
I absolutely loved Mulan as a kid. But Disney is notoriously bad at live-action remakes. Like, really bad. (See: The Lion King).
My philosophy is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So, my first thoughts about the reboot were skeptical. However, I’m still curious to see Mulan through a lifelike lens — outside the animation world.
Like many movies, the date got pushed as a result of the COVID-19 and its quarantine. But in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, moving Mulan’s release date might also be avoiding some bad publicity — more than it already has.
Confused? Here’s the low-down:
The actress playing Mulan is controversial
Chinese-American actress Liu (Crystal) Yifei — best known for her work in The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) starring Jackie Chan — will take on the role.
However, some controversy erupted over Disney’s casting choice for the rebellious warrior in light of her comments about police brutality in the Hong Kong protests of August 2019.
Variety reports that on Weibo, Liu Yifei re-posted an image from People’s Daily, China’s official Communist Party paper, with the words “I support Hong Kong’s police; you can beat me up now” in Chinese, followed by her English caption “what a shame for Hong Kong” and the hashtag #IAlsoSupportTheHongKongPolice.
Fans took to social media, responding with criticism by flooding the trending hashtag #BoycottMulan and filling up the actress’ Twitter mentions.
However, some argue in support of Liu Yifei, stating she’s entitled to her opinion on the situation, but it certainly doesn’t look great for the controversial actress. And even though she hasn’t spoked about police brutality in America, it’s understandable how fans may be wary about the actress in the states.
But, will there be music?
To the horror of many, no, there won’t be any of the classic songs we know and love. In an interview with Moviefone, director Niki Caro essentially confirmed that the live-action film wouldn’t feature any of the musical numbers from the original soundtrack.
She explained by telling Digital Spy “back to the realism question — we don't tend to break into song when we go to war… it’s the fact that it can be real, and it’s the real story of a girl going to war.”
So much for all those years of practicing Reflection in the bathroom mirror.
Okay, okay, but what about Mushu?
Although a fan favorite, the eccentric, sassy dragon originally voiced by Eddie Murphy will unfortunately not be making an appearance.
Caro explained to Digital Spy that “Mushu is irreplaceable,” and although there will be “a spiritual representation of the ancestors,” a live-action Mushu is out of the picture.
So, who’s going to be the love interest?
Even though Li Shang, the ultimate Disney hottie, won’t return for the remake, that doesn’t mean we’ll be left high and dry.
Rising star Yoson An will take on the role of Chen Honghui, an ambitious army recruit who first becomes close to Mulan as an ally in battle, then a love interest.
What about defeating the Huns?
There’s a new villain this time around: a witch portrayed by Chinese actress Gong Li, who is famous for her work in The Story of Qiu Ju (1992) and Hannibal Rising (2007).
The second villain is Bori Khan, played by Jason Scott Lee, “a warrior leader who is intent on avenging his father’s death,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
What’s the verdict?
Despite the valid controversy, I would still like to watch Mulan for curiosity's sake and childhood nostalgia, as I’m sure others can probably relate to. Though I probably won’t be buying a ticket on opening night, I might stream it at home for research purposes.
Even though I fully encourage supporting local movie theaters with your business, I’m not sure if Mulan is the first movie I’ll jump to see on the big screen after quarantine (and not just because Mushu isn’t in it).
Maya Lang is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She enjoys playing guitar, staying up far too late, and daydreaming about living in the '80s. You can reach her at mailto:email@example.com for more info and movie recommendations.