Whilst Disney’s latest live action blockbusters, The Lion King and Aladdin stayed faithful to the animated originals, Mulan director Niki Caro has opted to take an original turn on the classic tale. This is more a reinvention, ramping up the scale to epic proportions and thwarting our heroine with a brand new villain (well, two actually).
But you won’t hear us complaining. With this new Mulan forging its own path, we can expect the unexpected. As Disney fanatics, consider us well and truly excited!
The character of Mulan is based on a famous female figure of ancient Chinese history, first mentioned in the 6th-century poem The Ballad Of Hua Mulan. While washing clothes, Mulan hears the army is recruiting soldiers. To save her father, she disguises herself as a man and signs up in his place, earning the respect and admiration of her nation. Disney's 1998 animation brought this bygone tale to life with typical razzmatazz.
Expect a more realistic take this time around but one that’s every bit as entertaining.
Mulan is arguably one of Disney’s most unsung heroines, but the live-action remake should change that. In Liu Yifei, the Mouse House has found a bona-fide superstar. The casting team travelled 5 continents and interviewed nearly 1,000 actresses looking for their perfect lead. As well as the ability to speak clear English and Chinese, their star needed martial arts skills and a tremendous screen presence.
As you’ll see when Mulan hits ODEON, Liu is a smash hit, the very personification of grace under fire.
In an interview on Weibo, actress Gong Li, who plays the villainous Xian Lang in the new film, revealed that the budget for Mulan was around three hundred million dollars, due to sets of “massive and... unprecedented scale”.
Caro is the latest female director to command a budget of over one hundred million dollars for Disney (following Ava DuVernay for A Wrinkle In Time). With that kind of money to play with we can only imagine the incredible heights the battle scenes will reach.
While the 1998 animation boasted musical numbers and Eddie Murphy's talking dragon Mushu, this Mulan triumphs through realism and epic scale. Plus, there's a whole host of new supporting players.
There are new Big Bads in the form of Jason Scott Lee’s Hun warlord Bori Khan and Gong Li’s shape shifting witch, while Yoson An plays fellow soldier and love interest, Chen Honghui.
Legends Jet Li and Donnie Yen star respectively as The Emperor and Commander Tung.
With a budget to rival Avengers: Endgame, a kick-ass heroine in the mould of Star Wars’ Rey and The Hunger Games’ Katniss, plus Disney’s formidable marketing machine, trust us when we say this movie is going to be ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE.
Miss it, miss out!
Be one of the first to catch Disney's epic live-action reimagining of Mulan when it explodes into ODEON.