Does the New Mulan Compete with the Old?


Patrick Otte, Writer

Directed by Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft, the 1998 animated musical historical action film, Mulan was released. The plot begins with The Huns breaching The Great Wall of China, and as a result, China is mobilized to combat the Huns. There is a general conscription notice that one man from each Chinese family must join the army. 

Our female protagonist, Fa Mulan, defies the female Chinese norm. Early in the film, she rides into town on a horse for her matchmaking day. Her family is dedicated to upholding Chinese honor and tradition to ‘matchmake’ Mulan with a potential man. “You may look like a bride, but you will never bring your family honor!” The matchmaker says. Saddened, Mulan retreats to her home and broods over her lost opportunity to please her family. 

Sometime later, a fanfare blares off in the distance announcing the arrival of army recruiters. Her father righteously volunteers to go to war, even though he has been weathered by age. Later that night, Mulan sees her father open a cupboard that holds armor accompanied by a sword. He carries out a practiced dance with his sword, and all of a sudden, his body thumps to the floor. Time has taken its toll on her father, and he is not fit to combat the Huns. Everything is made clear to Mulan. She must take her father’s sword and armor in his stead. She is an unconventional bride, but she can still bring her family honor. 

This year a new Mulan movie will hit theatres March 27, 2020. The new Mulan is a live-action picture and is rated PG-13. This is an exciting change in cinematic and storytelling style. The sheer epicness of the trailer brings a strong sense of nostalgia towards the famous 1998 Disney movie. 

The plot seems relatively similar to the older movie, except in the new Mulan, Mulan appears to have much more considerable combat expertise. In the trailer, we see her wield her sword masterfully, slaying Huns with acrobatic moves, and dodging arrows with ease.  

Disney has remade several classic movies like Aladdin and The Jungle Book, so Mulan is not the first Disney movie to be remade. Lovers of the animated classics typically criticize the remade Disney movies because ‘they ruin the classic aesthetic’. Disney has gone through tremendous changes in recent years, and they will continually pump out new material to please fans. Does this new violent, Mulan movie have what it takes to rival with the classic? Only time will tell.