THE MOVIE GUY — Is Disney’s Mulan worth the $30 cost?
Published 12:03 am Friday, September 4, 2020
Back in the before times, otherwise known as February, most people were looking at Mulan as one of the spring’s most-anticipated movie releases.
Disney has found great success with live action versions of their animated classics, and Mulan certainly looked like it was poised to be a big hit at the theaters.
Fast forward five months and Disney has decided to release Mulan as an added purchase feature on their streaming service. There has been some mixed-messaging from the studio about whether this move was prompted entirely by the coronavirus shutdown or a need to prop up the streaming service with original content.
Either way, Disney fans have reason to celebrate as they can finally watch this movie.
As has been the case with the other live action films, Mulan differs from the original animated movie in several notable ways. This is once again the story of a young woman (Yifei Liu) who disguises herself as a man so that she can fight in the emperor’s army, but Disney fans will immediately notice the exclusion this time around of Eddie Murphy’s dragon character, Mushu. By extension, this means that most of the comedy has also been removed from the new film.
The same holds true for the musical score.
The characters don’t stop what they’re doing to put on a musical training montage. With apologies to Donny Osmond, it’s not really missed.
The other major difference is the new film doubles down on the wire-fu fighting sequences. This is where the film really shines, with fight choreography that is quite impressive. I can imagine young children being thrilled while watching these characters leap and flip through the skies as they fight each other.
I also appreciate that the film tries to make the story a bit more plausible. I still don’t think that anybody would have been fooled by a young woman in army drag. Nor do I understand quite why she is able to accomplish physical feats that elude her male comrades, but suspension of disbelief is critical to the entire story.
Just go with it and you’ll have a good time.
The acting, special effects, production design and cinematography are all top drawer, which is to be expected from all of Disney’s live action films. The studio is simply too professional to let a sub-par movie through their system.
So, the big question is whether Mulan is worth the $30 asking price?
If you’ve got young kids at home, I think it’s absolutely worth shelling out a few extra dollars for this film. You’ll probably save enough money to cover the cost by making your own popcorn at home.
If you don’t have kids, or if you’re just a passing fan, perhaps wait until December when the movie will be available on Disney+ without the extra charge.
Either way, the film is well-worth your time. It’s a thrilling adventure that will entertain the entire family, ardent Disney fan or not.
Mulan streams exclusively on Disney+ beginning today (Sept. 4).
Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Directed by Niki Caro
Starring Yifei Liu, Donnie Yeng, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An and Jet Li